Get Known :
Situation of Khajuraho : At the distance of 385 miles to the south eastern direction of Delhi in Madhya Pradesh
Popular As : World Heritage Site
Temples Constructed By : Chandela Rajputs in between 950 AD to 1050 AD
Unique Features : Sculptures
Few things in the world are beyond imagination and comparison, these things are those which are the result of the aroused emotion of humans. It is a way of humans to express their physical and spiritual love. These inner feelings of humans are at display at Khajuraho. When you visit this stunning place you can see that each and every wall or ceiling is full with figures of primitive origin and mythological background, apart from this you can also have a look at the ordinary sculptures displaying innocent form of love. The mind blowing monument was not in picture till the mid of 1960 but now after Taj, comes the Khajuraho.
Khajuraho Temple of Madhya Pradesh is the one with the sculptures that come from each and every medieval group; this is displayed with extreme delicacy and grace. The location of the temple is at a distance of 350 miles from southeastern direction of Delhi. Here you can have a look at the exquisiteness of love, style and creativity.
Sensuality Sublimated :
The derivation of the word Khajuraho is from the word ‘Khajur’ means date palm. As said before this wasn’t a tourist place from its existence but now it is not less than Taj for the tourist. This place was primitively a capital place of the dynasty of tribal’s, this area was under them from 10th to 12th century, and the great king was Chandela Rajputs. The construction of the Khajuraho temple took place in a short span of just 100 years and it is actually a reason for shock that in just 100 years you can see an out burst of creativity. On all the eight gates there are two golden palm tress and the entire area is covered with gates and walls. Earlier there were over 80 temples and now the count has come to 22, only these many temples are under preservation over the area of 8 square miles. Here there are temples celebrating the scope and inclusion of the Hindu religion, these temples are unlike the other Hindu temples. There pertains a peculiarity in each temple here. The main feature that is highlighted in the temple is the Bhoga and Yoga. The meaning of Yoga is uniting you with God and Bhoga means a way to God by the means of physical pleasures. The philosophy at the temples of Khajuraho is the depiction of the pleasure and physical love.
Khajurhao was been declared in 1986 as the World Heritage Site, for the preservation of stunning posterity. The temples at Khajuraho are the perfect example of love, joy, sublime in expression and world’s special gift. If you are an art lover then this is the perfect place and if you are not then you will surely becoming an art lover after watching that every mood of life is captured in the sculptures at Khajuraho, which are a unique display of craftsmanship under the vision of the Chandela Rajputs.
The Myth :
Khajuraho creators claim descent of the moon as is proved by the mesmerizing fable following the making of this great reign and the holy places. Going through the myth, there was a widowed daughter of Brahmin Priest, called Hemavati. The Moon God was seduced by her while she was taking bath in the pool at the forest. She cursed the Moon God for molesting her chastity, so for this Moon God blessed her with an invincible son who would be a great ruler of the world in future. The child that took birth was named as Chandravarman who was the establisher of the Chandela Reign. His horoscope was written by Brishsapati the god’s preceptor came down to earth for doing this. This child was brought up under his mother in the forest away from the outside world. At his early age of sixteen he was very strong that a tiger was killed by him by a piece of a stone and a full grown Lion turned into a small stick. Then came the time when he settled as a ruler, he possessed a dream-visitation from his mother. It is a belief that all the temples at Khajuraho are made according to his mother’s wish as she wanted him to construct temples which shows the depiction of human feelings and passion, additionally to show the world emptiness of human desires.
It is also from the narration that Chandelas followed the Tantric culture, in this culture it is belief that ‘Nivaran’ can be attained by the gratification of earthly desires steps you follow to attain liberation. After the decline of the kingdom of Chandelas, these temples were overlooked. After a century these temples were re-discovered again.
Society Depicted Here :
You can have a look at the social conditions and a few aspects of the contemporary social life.
Soldiers : Mostly soldiers are symbolized together with horse riders, mahauts, attendants of elephants and horses, umbrella-bearers, royal servants with attendants and standard-bearers.
Stone Mansons : Here you can also have a look at the scene of the craftsman with chisels and hammers with is artistically carved, after the structures are completed they are transported on a pole that is sturdy. These are called the allied vocation of the stonemansons or stonecutters.
Hunters : You can have a look at the sculptures of the hunters on the poles with hunted animals like deer, boar and few times large birds. The hunters that are professionals belonged to the Sabaras which is the aboriginal class and others belong to the lower castes like Mahara, Meda or Chandala, which have a mention in the inscriptions of the contemporary Chandela.
Traders, Vocations and Callings :
The frequent depictions made at Khajuraho are of Silpins and Sutradharas. Here you can also have a look at the sculptures of the senior architects; these sculptures can be seated or can also be standing and these architects are represented with beards surrounded by a few disciples. The sculpture is shown in such a way that the main architecture is drawing some thing and other disciples are around him with hammers and chisels.
Arobats : At Khajuraho there is also a depiction of the acrobats, gladiators and wrestlers. The acrobats come from the professional class of ‘natas’.
Dancers and Musicians : The sculptures of dance and music are commonly found in most of the display. But here is an exception, you will find sculptures of male drummers and female dancers and singers. Several musicians and dancers are amateurs, most of these are depicted on the friezes at this place were professionals referring to the courtesans class. Few of these also belonged to the tribes. You can have a look at the example of this at the Lakshmana temple which is to the south east direction, this is showed by the features of 2 street singers displaying their talent by playing on a pair of castanets or devotees doing the same act.
Prostitutes and Courtesans : The dancing Girls form a significant part of the contemporary society as they come from a professional background of the courtesans called ganikas. They are displayed in the form of offerings wine to their dupes and vaunting their charms. On the exterior and the interior walls of the temples are the depictions of the prostitutes which belong to the allied classes their display is in an erotic panel. You can also see the sculptures carrying a bag on their shoulders, these acts as attendants for females. Don’t be shocked if you see them holding a mirror, toilet equipment or a handy surgical. These barbers are mostly employed for cutting nails, painting feet, extract thorns or do some minor surgical operations. You might find it interesting to hear that these people still do this work in the most of the rural parts of India.
Army : Elephants, Infantry and Cavalry were the three principles that the army consisted. Though you can also find the sculptures of camels along with the horses, elephants and footmen they do not come under the list of army, this can be seen at the temple of Visvanatha. The chief weapons are the shield and sword, lances and dagger, arrows and bows were also used for hunting. Swords and shields are the main weapons the depiction of these can be done in many ways. You can also have a look at the scene of the army on march, combat arc scenes though it’s rarely found this are worth seeing. There is also a display of the elephants and horses this can be without or with riders.
Processions and Pageantry : There are the scenes of ceremonial gaiety, processions and court-pageantry more than the display of the march of the armies. You can see that the rallies of the armies have a ceremonial touch to it. Revelry and gaiety, and music and dance marks the processions. The representation of the religious procession is shown in such a way that it portraits as if the pilgrims are going on to pay homage to the deity.
Amusements : Music, dance, gambling, wrestling, animal combat, drinking and acrobatics all come under the list of amusements and were the favorite past times of people primitively.
Elephant Fights : You can have a look at the elephant fights that are at a frequent display at Khajuraho. You can see these figures at the entrance way of the shrine of Lakshmana.
Maithuna and Mithuna : It has been found that the portrayal of the 'mithuna' (loving couple) & he 'maithuna' (coitus) was initially motivated by the primeval fertility cult and were largely magico-propitiatory or magico-defensive in nature. We have also seen that the erotic depictions have evolved historically from the charming 'mithunas', which are ubiquitous in early Indian art and tradition.
Dance Festival At Khajuraho :
The dance festival at Khajuraho is held at the Vishwanath Temple and Chitragupta Temple; the duration of this festival is of a week, in the month of February or March.
When Stone Comes to Life : It is believed that the at the time of the 7th day of dance festival. For the celebration of Indian classical music and dance cultural festival is celebrated, this festival is celebrated bearing its origin to the Hindu temples. This festival is celebrated to combine culture with tourism. The festival here is organized by the Kala Parishad of Madhya Pradesh and Eicher, this festival is the drawing card of all classical dancers and singers over the entire globe. If you wish to have a glimpse of the Indian classical culture this festival is the perfect venue for it.
Eclectic Performances : At the time of Phalunga, the month of Hindu spring, the sleepy Khajuraho town is changed into a pleasant one. This festival is celebrated on the account of Mahashivratri.
Divine Arts at Khajuraho : At the festival showcases various styles of Indian dances like Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Kathakali and Manipuri. The recent addition made to the festival is of the modern Indian dance. During evening time there is a performance from the side of performers from different genres performing in an open auditorium.
The Resplendent Backdrop At Dusk : As mentioned above there is a performance held of the best classical dancers of different genres at the open auditorium, the temples of the western group becomes a stunning background for this. In the venue there is the presence of the Chitragupta temple dedicated to Lord Surya and the temple dedicated to lord Shiva isVishwanatha temple. The rising and dawning of the sun is an add on to the background of the auditorium. The scene goes like the dusk falls the soft lights of the temple lit up and gives a view of an ethereal stage.
Temples Found At Khajuraho :
You can find the temples here are divided into mainly three groups like;
Firstly, is the Western Group : This is the compact, largest and located centrally in Khajuraho, these temples are constructed by the rulers of Chandela and includes the most prominent monuments.
Secondly, is the Eastern Group : This group contains of five different sub groups around and inside the present Khajuraho village.
Thirdly, is Southern Group : This is a unique one with two chief monuments across and in the close proximity of the Khudarnala.
The Temples of Western : In this group, when the visitors come to this place the first thing that they look upon is the long chief road to Khajuraho. This comes under the largest and the significant group with the temples falling in two rows roughly. The temple that comes under this group is the Matangesvara Temple, the Lakshmana Temple, Nandi temple, Varsha temple and the Visvanatha temple. All the temples mentioned above are visited irregularly. Those which are visited regularly are Kandariya, Chitragupta, Mahadeva and Jagadambi temples. The monuments of this group are perfectly maintained by India’s Archeological Survey by setting green lawns, flowerbeds and colorful shrubs. People are admitted here by a ticket which is valid from the sunrise to the dawn. The monuments falling in this group have their facing to the east.
The Temples of Eastern Group : In the close proximity of the village of Khajuraho is the location of the monuments of this group. The temples in this group include Jain temples like Parsvanath, the Ghantai and Adinath. The Vamana, Javari and Brahma are the temples belonging to Brahmanical. The location of the Brahmanical temples is at the Khajuraho-Sagar and that of Jain temples is at south and can be approached through metalled roads.
The Temples of Southern Group : The Chaturbhuja temple and Duladeo temple comes under the southern group. The location of the temple Duladeo is at a distance of a kilometer from the Khajuraho village and from the Jain temples it is just half a mile away, in the southwest direction. The location of Chaturbhuja temple is a mile away from the south and nearby the airport of Khajuraho.
Temples with great significance at Khajuraho :
Varaha Temple : During the reign of Harshadeva, the construction of this temple took place on the rock foundation, this temple faces towards the southeastern part of the Lakshmana Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu; this temple gets its support from the 12 pillars, it also has a ‘phamsana’ which means receding tiers on the roof.Also in the front there is a short projection supported on additional two pillars and this is at the entrance.Now you can have a look at the interior of the temple, there is a shrine devoid of platform (jagati) and is placed on the high plinth of ten feet in height, in which the upper part is made of sandstone and lower part is made of granite ashlars, and the remaining is made of granite.
A keen look on ‘Boar Incarnation’ : The image is engraved out of a piece of Yellow sandstone and is elegantly turned out into a glossy lustre. This is a sculpture of a boar ornamented with clean rows of sculptures of goddesses and gods with a total of 674 were executed.
Unique Features of Khajuraho Temples :
The temples at Khajuraho belong to sects of Jain, Shaiva and Vaishnava. The commonly found features of the temples are Mandapa, Antarala, Garbha-Griha and Mukha-Mandapa. The temples of Khajuraho are constructed with granite just with some difference in colors of pale yellow or pink, buff which is brought from the quarries of Panna this is on the eastern bank of the river Ken, having a few temples in exception. Most of the temples in Khajuraho falls in the cognate style and are demonstrations of a concerted and distinctive movement of architecture with the difference in the details of expressions. These temples belong to the sect of Vaishnava, Jain and Saiva.
The temples of Khajuraho reveal distinctive peculiarities of elevation and plan and also mark the culmination of their style of construction style which is of central Indian style. The temples gives a clear view of the surroundings, as its construction is in such a way that it is built on a high platform without any wall enclosures. All the temple compartments are connected with each other externally and internally all planned in one axis which forms a compact unified mandapa, mukha-mandapa, antarala & garbha-girha you can see this in each and every temple. There is one additional feature in big temple is that they have a balconied window with the mandapa which is called as ‘maha-mandapa’.
Divine Architecture :
You can find the great examples of the divine Indian Architecture in Khajuraho temples. Unlike other temples of south India, the temples here do not show illustrations of the pervious time, but the construction of the temples were made over approximately a period of 100 years from 950 AD. The construction of the temples of Khajuraho dates back to the reign of Chandelas. Here you can also see the influence of Tantrism, Vaishnaism and Jainism. The temples at Khajuraho, where form and function unite triumphantly, afford a glimpse into the celestial abodes. The Khajuraho temples represent a unique amalgamation of religious fervour, abundant patronage, artistic genius and aesthetic sensibility. Fortunately, these temples have weathered the climate for a thousand years and have withstood neglect surprisingly well.
Sculpture Art :
The sculptural art shown at the temples of Khajuraho depicts the Indian Classical Tradition but mainly from the medieval period. The sculptural art gives a glimpse of the art from the western to the eastern side which brings to us the combination of the Gupta Classical art and Eastern Indian art. Inspite of having a look at the throbbing and immensity warmth of the sculptures of Khajuraho,they still lack in the sensitivity and flow of the sculptures belonging to the Gupta style.