Famous As: World Heritage Site
Temples Built By: Chandela Rajputs (950 AD - 1050 AD.)
Special Features: Famous For Their Sculptures
are few things in the world which are beyond compare and certain things
that inspired human emotions to give an outlet to his spirtual and
physical love. The erotic images of Khajuraho are the expresions of these
human inner fellings . Every facade-wall, window, pillar, and ceiling of
Khajuraho is carved with figures of mythical and historical origins, and
while many of these depict the innocent form of love on these walls.
Forgotten and unvisited until the mid-1960s, Khajuraho is now, after the
Taj , India's
biggest single tourist attraction.
Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh, has the largest group of medieval temples each studded with countless sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy. The temples of Khajuraho, are indeed, celebrations of the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments of beauty, love and creative arts. Khajuraho temples lies about 385 miles (616 kilometers) southeast of Delhi.
Khajuraho, derived from the word 'khajur' meaning the date palm, was a quiet, unknown town till a chance discovery made it a popular tourist destination. Forgotten and unvisited until the mid-1960s, the place is now, after the Taj, India's biggest single tourist attraction. Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval temples; each studded with countless sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy. The temples of Khajuraho, are indeed, celebrations of the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments of beauty, love and creative arts.
Khajuraho lies about 385 miles (616 kilometers) southeast of Delhi. It was once the religious capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a tribal dynasty who ruled this part of India from the tenth to the twelfth centuries. The Khajuraho temples were built in the short span of a hundred years, from 950-1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity. The whole area was enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees. There were originally over 80 temples, of which only 22 now stand in a reasonable state of preservation, scattered over an area of about eight square miles.
The set of temples at Khajuraho celebrating Hindu religious thought in its bewildering variety of scope and inclusion stands distinguished from rest of the Hindu temples. The temples highlight the existential ethos in religion that venerates 'Yoga' and 'Bhoga'. 'Yoga' is union of the self with the Almighty, while 'Bhoga' is the path to God through physical pleasure. The temples at Khajuraho, dedicated to physical love and pleasure are a testimony to this philosophy.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1986 in order to preserve its splendour for posterity, Khajuraho is a prominent, must-see destination on most tourist itineraries. The temples of Khajuraho are India's unique gift to the world, representing, an ode to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman's artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.
The creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon as is testified by the fascinating legend behind the creation of this great dynasty and the temples. Hemwati, the lovely young widowed daughter of a Brahmin priest, was seduced by the moon-god while she was bathing in a forest pool. As the moon-god prepared to leave, Hemvati threatened to curse him for having molested her chastity, at which the moon-god blessed her with an invincible son, who would grow up to become a reputed world ruler and from whom will would spring a thousand royal branches. The child born of this union was Chandravarman, founder of the Chandela dynasty. It is believed that Brihsapati; the preceptor of gods' descended on the earth to write his horoscope.
Brought up in the forests by his mother who sought refuge from a censorious society, at an age of sixteen, the young Chandravarman was so strong that he killed a tiger with a piece of stone and a full grown lion with a small stick. When he was established as a ruler, he had a dream-visitation from his mother. It is said that she implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire.
It is also believed that Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult, which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the infinite liberation or 'nirvana'.
With their decline, the temples lay forgotten for many centuries, covered by the encroaching forests, victim to the ravages of the elements. Re-discovered only in this century, restored and cleaned, the temples of Khajuraho once again testify to a past glory.