A civilisational contiguity, vibrant cultural asset, and a thousand voices seeping into cerebrum, Khajuraho Group of Monuments is like the last dot in the realm of time and space offsetting the social structures fitting the human emotions and sensibilities into a combined aesthetic that has had us all in thrall. It’s like a canvas born of the soil, spread out on wood blocks depicting and celebrating life in its purest form.
Built between 950-1050 CE by the Chandela dynasty, Khajuraho Temples are one of the most important specimens of the Indian art. These set of Hindu and Jain temples took around a hundred years to take shape. Originally a collection of 85 temples, the number has come down to 25. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple complex is divided into three spheres: the Western, Eastern, and the Southern. The Western group consists of majority of temples, the Eastern comprises carved Jain temples while the Southern group has only a few temples. The Jain temples in the Eastern Group of temples were built for the flourishing Jainism in the region during the Chandela rule. The temples in the Western and Southern part are dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses. Out of these eight temples are dedicated to Vishnu, six to Shiva, and one each to Ganesha and Surya while three are for Jain tirthankaras. The Kandariya Mahadeo temple is the largest of all the temples that remain.
Khajuraho Temple History
The Chandela rulers built the temples over a span of 100 years, a temple being commissioned by a king each. Most of the temples were built by kings Dhangadeva and Yashovarman. The temples were built near Mahoba which used to be the seat of the Chandela empire. The temples were named after the date palm trees that used to be the gates of the premises back in the day. The Khajuraho Temples are majorly known for their erotic sculptures and carvings but there are similar sculptures at the Konark Sun temple in Odisha. Interestingly these sculptures have many theories to their existence and are based on the Hindu iconography and are a part of the core belief system which hinge around the four tenets of Hinduism: karma, dharma, kama, and moksha.
Khajuraho Temple Architecture
The temples follow the design sensibilities of the Nagara-style architecture and are made out of sandstone and granite. Barring the temple of Chaturbhuja all temples are sun-facing, a common aesthetic found in Hindu temples. The deities of male and female deities exhibit a co-dependence of the male and female power. The temples run on the basic mandala design comprising a square and circles. The entire precinct is divided into three zones combining to form a pentagon. The three zones house the following temples :
Western Group of Temples consist of Kandariya Mahadeo temple, Lakshmana temple, Chausat Yogini temple, Jagadambi temple, Chitragupta temple, Matangeshwara temple, Vishwanath temple and Varaha temple.
Eastern Group of Temples comprise Ghantai temple, Parasvanath temple, Adinath temple, Brahma temple, Hanumna temple, Javari and Vamana temple.
Southern Group of Temples include Beejamandal temple, Dulhadev temple, Jatkari and Chaturbhuj temple.
Khajuraho Temple Timings
The visiting hours for Khajuraho Temple are from 8 am to 6 pm.
The Khajuraho Temple Light & Sound Show Timings
The light and sound show at the Khajuraho Temple is organised by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department. There are two shows available in two languages: English and Hindi. And the Khajuraho Temple timings for these shows are different for winters and summers. The winter timings are from 6.30 pm to 7.25 pm which last from October till February. The summer timings from March to September are between 7.30 pm to 8.25 pm. The entry fee for the same for Indian visitors is Rs 250 while foreigners pay Rs 700. There is no entry ticket for children below 5 years. The gate and ticket counter for the light and sound show are different than the main entrance to the temple complex. The entry tickets to the Khajuraho Temple light and sound show can’t be booked in advance.
Khajuraho Museum Timings
The museum is open from 8 am to 5 pm and remains closed on Fridays. The ticket price for Indians, SAARC and BIMSTEC tourists is priced at Rs 10 while the foreign tourists have to pay Rs 250. The museum is located near the Matageshwar temple around the Western group of temples.
How to Reach Khajuraho Temple
Located in the northern Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famed as the land of the Khajuraho temple. It receives a huge number of tourists every year for this major tourist attraction alone. And it is because of this reason that Khajuraho is easily accessible and has its own airport pretty near to the site. The easiest way to reach Khajuraho is by flight, the airport is only 2 minutes drive from the town. Else, you can take a bus from Chhatarpur. The town Khajuraho is 44 km from district Chattarpur, 281 km from Gwalior, 375 km from Bhopal, 565 km from Indore, 355 km from Ranchi. The closest cities from Khajuraho are Harpalpur (94 km), Satna (117 km), Jhansi (175 km) and Jabalpur which is 258 km.