Khajuraho temple Madhya Pradesh has been in limelight because of various controversies related to it. The most popular one being the presence of erotic sculptures on the outer walls of the temple complex. But the monument has much more to offer. Apart from historical sentiments and intricate artwork, the UNESCO World Heritage site has many interesting tales related to its construction which has the tourist’s rapt attention.
The Khajuraho group of monuments is built in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, India. The site lies within the Vindhya range of mountains in the Central part of India.
History of Khajuraho Temple:
Khajuraho had 85 majestic temples until the 13th century, when many of them were mutilated by the rulers of the Sultanate dynasty. The group of temples were constructed between 950 AD and 1050 AD during the reign of Chandela dynasty. Most of the temples were built by Hindu rulers- Yashovarman and Dhanga. It is said that the remoteness of Khajuraho had saved some of the temples which were rediscovered later. Presently, 22 temples have survived the passage of time and provides us the opportunity to witness the artistic creation.
Khajuraho Temple Architecture :
Khajuraho group of temples are dedicated to Hinduism and Jainism faiths. The temples are geographically grouped into eastern, western, and southern zones.
All the Khajuraho Hindu temples are constructed according to the Vastu- Purusha- mandala. Here Vastu means the dwelling structure, Purusha implies to the universal principle of Hinduism and mandala is the art of squares and circles. The walls are adorned with inscriptions which reflects the beliefs of Hinduism. They include poems that have deeper meanings of life. All temples have common architectural structures like the garbhagriha which houses the shrine of Hindu gods, symmetric shikaras, and the mandapa.
The Jain temples are built on the east and southeast area. They have carved bells and yogini sculptures that enhance the serenity of these temples.
Interesting facts related to Khajuraho temples:
- Legend says that when Hemvati a beautiful woman was bathing in a pond, the Moon fell for her. They had a child named Chandravarman who was raised alone by Hemvati. However, the Moon God prophesied that their son would be a great ruler. Indeed the prophecy became true and Chandravarman founded the Chandela dynasty. It is said that Chandravarman was influenced by his mother’s life and after her death constructed the temple depicting various aspects of human life.
- Khajuraho is known for its Nagara style of architecture. The intricate artwork is symbolic of the main goals of Hinduism i.e. Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha. It is considered as an ideal way of living life.
- The name Khajuraho came from the two golden palm trees which are believed to be erected at the entrance of the temple. Though they were missing on the temple’s rediscovery but they strongly believe in his notion.
- About 10% of the temple structures present erotic carvings and sexual themes. It demonstrates the interdependence of male and female on each other for physiological as well as physical needs. It is also believed by many that the presence of these sculptures only on the outer walls of the temple symbolizes that one should leave all other feelings behind before entering the temple.
- A majority of sculptures have embedded values and traditions of Hinduism. They also portray different aspects of everyday life. Sculptures of women grooming, musicians, potters, craftsmen give us an insight in the lives of the folks of the forgone era. There are symbolic demonstrations of spiritual and secular ethics as well.
Events organized in the temple complex:
Khajuraho has great recreational arrangements for its tourists. Every evening a light and sound program is staged in the temple complex which is enjoyed by the viewers.
Also, the famous Khajuraho dance festival is organized by the temple committee. The festival is marked with classical dances and folk tunes.
Khajuraho temple deserves all the attention for its artistic, historical, and cultural value. The history behind different sculptures and the fine carvings are always praised by the tourists who visit the temple.