Khajuraho

Availability Period : Mar, Apr, 15 Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov,15 Dec.

Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist spots in Madhya Pradesh. It is famous for its ancient temples that depict some of the finest art in the world. Built between 950-1050 AD by the Chandela Dynasty, these temples depict various forms like meditation, spiritual teachings, kinship, wrestling, royalty and most significantly, erotic art. The temples consist of stunning displays of fine sculptures and exceptional architectural skill, making them one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres (109 mi) southeast of Jhansi. They are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.

Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty. Historical records note that the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples by the 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometers. Of these, only about 25 temples have survived, spread over 6 square kilometers.Of the various surviving temples, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains in the region.

The Khajuraho monuments are located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, in Chhatarpur district, about 620 kilometres (385 mi) southeast of New Delhi. The temples are near a small town also known as Khajuraho,with a population of about 20,000 people (2001 Census). Khajuraho is served by Civil Aerodrome Khajuraho (IATA Code: HJR), with services to Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Mumbai.The site is also linked by the Indian Railways service, with the railway station located approximately six kilometres from the entrance to the monuments . The monuments are about 10 kilometres off the east-west National Highway 75, and about 50 kilometres from the city of Chhatarpur, which is connected to the state capital Bhopal by the SW-NE running National Highway 86.

Construction


The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern. The Khajuraho temples are made of sandstone, with a granite foundation that is almost concealed from view.The builders didn't use mortar: the stones were put together with mortise and tenon joints and they were held in place by gravity. This form of construction requires very precise joints. The columns and architraves were built with megaliths that weighed up to 20 tons.Some repair work in the 19th Century was done with brick and mortar; however these have aged faster than original materials and darkened with time, thereby seeming out of place. The Khajuraho and Kalinjar region is home to superior quality of sandstone, which can be precision carved. The surviving sculpture reflect fine details such as strands of hair, manicured nails and intricate jewelry.

History


The Khajuraho group of monuments was built during the rule of the Chandela dynasty. The building activity started almost immediately after the rise of their power, throughout their kingdom to be later known as Bundelkhand.Most temples were built during the reigns of the Hindu kings Yashovarman and Dhanga. Yashovarman's legacy is best exhibited by The Lakshmana Temple. Vishvanatha temple best highlights King Dhanga's reign.The largest and currently most famous surviving temple is Kandariya Mahadeva built in the reign of King Vidyadhara.The temple inscriptions suggest many of the currently surviving temples were complete between 970 and 1030 CE, with further temples completed during the following decades.

The Khajuraho temples were built about 35 miles from the medieval city of Mahoba,the capital of the Chandela dynasty, in the Kalinjar region. In ancient and medieval literature, their kingdom has been referred to as Jijhoti, Jejahoti, Chih-chi-to and Jejakabhukti. Khajuraho was mentioned by Abu Rihan-al-Biruni, the Persian historian who accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni in his raid of Kalinjar in 1022; he mentions Khajuraho as the capital of Jajahuti.The raid was unsuccessful, and a peace accord was reached when the Hindu king agreed to pay a ransom to Mahmud of Ghazni to end the attack and leave. Khajuraho temples were in active use through the end of 12th century. This changed in the 13th century; after the army of Delhi Sultanate, under the command of the Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom. About a century later, Ibn Battuta, the Moroccan traveller in his memoirs about his stay in India from 1335 to 1342 CE, mentioned visiting Khajuraho temples, calling them "Kajarra".

Central Indian region, where Khajuraho temples are, remained in the control of many different Muslim dynasties from 13th century through the 18th century. In this period, some temples were desecrated, followed by a long period when they were left in neglect.In 1495 CE, for example, Sikandar Lodi’s campaign of temple destruction included Khajuraho.The remoteness and isolation of Khajuraho protected the Hindu and Jain temples from continued destruction by Muslims.Over the centuries, vegetation and forests overgrew, took over the temples.

In the 1830s, local Hindus guided a British surveyor, T.S. Burt, to the temples and they were thus rediscovered by the global audience.Alexander Cunningham later reported, few years after the rediscovery, that the temples were secretly in use by yogis and thousands of Hindus would arrive for pilgrimage during Shivaratri celebrated annually in February or March based on a lunar calendar. In 1852, Maisey prepared earliest drawings of the Khajuraho temples.

Khajuraho Temples History


Madhya Pradesh is land of great antiquity. Madhya Pradesh is the home of monuments representative of various periods of history. Among most popular world heritage sites of Central India like Rock paintings, Buddhist Stupas and Temples, Khajuraho is known for its ornate temples that are spectacular piece of human imagination, artistic creativity, magnificent architectural work and deriving spiritual peace through eroticism.

Khajuraho Temples are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. These temples were built by the Chandella ruler between AD 900 and 1130. It was the golden period of Chandella rulers. It is presumed that it was every Chandella ruler has built atleast one temple in his lifetime. So all Khajuraho Temples are not constructed by any single Chandella ruler but Temple building was a tradition of Chandella rulers and followed by almost all rulers of Chandella dynasty. The first recorded mention of the Khajuraho temples is in the accounts of Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and the Arab traveler Ibn Battuta in AD 1335. Local tradition lists 85 temples in Khajuraho out of which only 25 temples are surviving after various stages of preservation and care. All these temples are scattered over an area of about 9 square miles.

Khajuraho is believed to be the religious capital of Chandellas. Chandella rulers had tried to discriminate politics from religious & cultural activities, so they established their political capital in Mahoba which is about 60km. away from Khajuraho and religious/cultural capital in Khajuraho. Whole Khajuraho was enclosed by a wall with about 8 gates used for entry/exit. It is believed that each gate is flanked by two date/palm trees. Due to these date trees present Khajuraho get its name Khajura-vahika. In hindi language, “Khajura” means ‘Date’ and “Vahika” means ‘Bearing’. In history Khajuraho is also described with the name of Jejakbhukti.

After fall of Chandella dynasty (after AD 1150), Khajuraho Temples suffered destruction & disfigurement by muslim invaders in this area which forced local people to leave Khajuraho. As muslim invaders had a ruling policy of intolerance for worship places of other religions so all the citizens of Khajuraho left the town with a hope that its solitude will not attract attention of muslim invaders into the temple area and in this way both temple and they themselves will remain unhurt. So from about 13th century to 18th century, Khajuraho temples remain in forest cover, away from popularity till it was re-discovered by British engineer T. S. Burt.


state Madhya Pradesh,India
Country India
Area 283 m (928 ft)
Languages Hindi,English
Currency Ruppee