The Khajuraho temples are composed of sandstone, with a nearly buried granite base.
The temples are known for their sexual sculptures and Nagara-style architectural symbolism.
The Vaishnavism School of Hinduism, Saivism School of Hinduism, and Jainism all have temples in Khajuraho.
Every Chandella ruler is thought to have erected at least one temple during his reign. As a result, no single Chandella king is responsible for the construction of all Khajuraho Temples. Chandella kings had a habit of building temples, which was carried on by practically all of the Chandella dynasty's rulers.
Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and the Arab explorer Ibn Battuta in AD 1335 were the first to mention the Khajuraho temples.
Local estimates place the number of temples in Khajuraho at 85, with only 25 remaining after various levels of preservation and care. All of these temples are spread out over a 9-square-mile area.
When the Chandella kingdom fell (about AD 1150), Muslim invaders in this area destroyed and disfigured the Khajuraho Temples, forcing the people to flee Khajuraho.
Kandariya Mahadev, the most visited temple, has a Shikhara (spire) that rises 116 feet and occupies an area of around 6,500 square feet.
The Khajuraho temples were hidden under forest cover from the 13th century until the 18th century, until they were rediscovered by British engineer T. S. Burt.
ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES OF THE TEMPLES
The temples of Khajuraho are remarkable examples of Nagara temple design, with a sanctum, a tiny ante-chamber (antarala), a transept (mahamandapa), extra halls (ardha mandapa), a mandapa or nave, and an ambulatory corridor (Pradakshina-path) lit by enormous windows.
The temple carvings appear to be mostly about Hindu deities and mythology. The architectural style is also Hindu in nature. Various factors can substantiate this. A prominent component of the architecture of a Hindu temple is that the temple's face should face the direction of sunrise. All of Khajuraho's temples were designed with this in mind. Furthermore, the carvings represent Hinduism's four life goals: dharma, kama, artha, and moksha.
The Chandelas' monuments were known for their architectural and sculptural splendour. The Chandelas were extremely passionate about the performing arts, as well as numerous types of music and dance. The sculptural representations of varied scenes of music and dancing displayed on the walls of these temples demonstrate this.
The Temples of Khajuraho are filled with erotic iconography. The Kandariya Mahadeva and Vishwanath Temple both have sculptures of celestial nymphs with large hips, massive breasts, and yearning eyes. The theme of female beauty and fecundity is thought to be reflected in these sculptures. Other images portrayed on the temple walls are from the Narathara (human life cycle), which emphasises the importance of sexual procreation and kama in human life.
The sculptures have been a prominent topic of research at the Khajuraho Temples. Some of the best sculptures of the time may be found on the walls of these temples, giving Khajuraho a depiction of excellent aesthetic features. The temples are thought to have five distinct sets of sculptures:
• images of cults
• the devatas parivara, parsva, and avarana
• the surasundaris and the apsaras
• Sculptures with a variety of subjects that are secular in nature (dancers, musicians, disciples and domestic scenes)
• mythical creatures (vyalas, sardula and other animals)
The Western Group, the Eastern Group, and the Southern Group are the three groupings that make up Khajuraho's temples.
The architecture of the Khajuraho Temples is extremely intricate. The following are the key features of these temples:
• With antarala, a tiny ante-chamber, the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum)
• A huge hall known as the Maha Mandapa
• The Ardha Mandapa and a mandapa are tiny additions to the main hall.
• A circumambulation trail known as the Pradakshina Path.
At Khajuraho, a few temples are of the Panchayatana type, with four shrines dedicated to the divinities and often another shrine in front of the portico dedicated to the major deity's vahana (vehicle).
The Khajuraho Temples are thought to have been constructed of light-colored sandstone imported from the Panna quarries on the Kane River's east bank. The construction of the temples also makes extensive use of iron clamps. A few smaller temples are constructed partially of sandstone and partially of granite.
The Western Group of Temples is located on the banks of Sib-Sagar, west of the Bamitha-Rajnagar route.
1) CHAUSATH JOGINI TEMPLE -
The temple has 64 little compartments, which correspond to the number of Yoginis, Goddess Kali's female attendants, after whom the temple is called. There are no images left on any of the 64 cells. This temple is located on a low rocky outcropping to the south west of Sib-Sagar Lake. The only temple in Khajuraho that is fully made of granite and is aligned north-east and south-west is this one. The temple is built on a large foundation and has a courtyard that measures 104 feet long and 60 feet wide. Only 35 of the 65 cells that surround it have survived.
2) KANDARIYA MAHADEVA TEMPLE -
It was built in the 10th century CE and is the largest of all the temples in Khajuraho. It has a height of 109 feet and a width of 60 feet. The temple's internal arrangement differs from that of a typical Hindu temple. It has an open corridor around the sanctum, forming a high altar in the temple's interior. Nearly 900 images may be found on the Kandariya temple's walls. The figures range in height from 2.5 to 3 feet tall. The temple's entryway is shaped like an arch and is embellished with deity and musician images. In addition, the sanctum's entry contains ornate floral sculptures mixed with depictions of ascetics performing penance. Goddess Ganga (River Ganga) and Goddess Jumna are the feminine statues at the base of the jambs (River Yamuna).
3) DEVI JAGDAMBA TEMPLE -
This temple, which is around 77 feet long and 50 feet wide, is today known as Devi Jagdamba, or the ‘Mother Goddess of the World.' Because Lord Vishnu's image stands at the centre of the sanctum's entrance, it was initially thought to be dedicated to him. An ornate statue of a four-armed female figure clutching lotus blossoms can be found inside the sanctum. According to several inscriptions found here, the temple was built in the tenth or eleventh century, during the reign of the Chandela dynasty.
4) CHITRAGUPTA OR BHARATJI’S TEMPLE -
This temple is 75 feet long and 52 feet wide, and it faces east. A 5ft statue is housed within the sanctum, which is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya). An eleven-headed picture of Lord Vishnu housed in the central niche to the south of the sanctum is another interesting sculpture.
5) VISHWANATH TEMPLE -
Lord Shiva, also known as Vishwanath or the "Lord of the Universe," is the deity to whom this temple is devoted. The sanctum sanctorum's entrance is 90 feet tall, with a depiction of Lord Shiva seated on Nandi (bull). A lingam can be found inside the shrine, and two Sanskrit inscriptions etched on stone slabs can be found inside the mandapa. Vikrama Samvat of 1059 or 1002 CE is written on the larger inscription to the left. It recounts of the Chandela rulers' lineage from King Nannuka to King Dhanga. The temple was built under the direction of King Dhanga, who dedicated it to Lord Shiva by putting a Linga with an emerald inside it, according to the inscription.
6) LAXMANA TEMPLE -
This temple, also known as the Chaturbhuj Temple, is around 99 feet long and 46 feet wide. It is well-known for its groundbreaking architectural techniques. The temple is thought to have been constructed in the 11th century CE.
The Eastern Group of Temples is located near Khajuraho village. The Ghantai temple, the Adinath temple, and the Parsawanatha temple are among the three significant Jain temples. The temples of Brahma, Vamana, and Javari are Hindu temples.
1) BRAHMA TEMPLE -
The four-faced (chaturmukha) picture inside the sanctum, which is located on the banks of Khajuraho Sagar, is said to be of Lord Shiva, although local devotees mistook it for an image of Lord Brahma. The statues of Lord Vishnu occupy the key positions on the sanctum lintels and west windows. This is one of Khajuraho's rare temples made of both granite and sandstone. This temple is thought to have been built in the later half of the 9th century CE or the first half of the 10th century CE.
2) VAMANA TEMPLE -
This temple, which is located on the north-east side of the Brahma Temple, is approximately 63 feet long and 46 feet wide and sits on an extraordinarily high platform. An intriguing picture of Lord Vamana, the dwarf manifestation of Lord Vishnu, stands 5 feet tall inside the shrine. It also features carved figures of Vishnu's avatars, as well as a figure of Lord Brahma in the bhumisparsa-mudra or earth-touching motion.
3) GHANTAI TEMPLE -
The bells hung on chains that embellish the pillars of the temple's portico gave it its name. The Jaina Tirthankaras are represented by 11 nude statues and two Yakshinis. A picture of an eight-armed Jaina Goddess riding Garuda and wielding numerous weapons can be found above the temple's entrance. A Tirthankara image is depicted on each end of the lintel. The nine planets are represented by the nine figures called Navagraha. The elephant, bull, lion, Lakshmi, garland, and other auspicious elements that the mother of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, saw in her dream before his birth are shown above the lintel.
4) PARSAWANATHA JAIN TEMPLE -
With a length of 69 feet and a width of 35 feet, it is the largest of the Jaina temples. It is assumed to be a shrine of the 22nd Jain Tirthankara Parsawanatha. On the left side of the entrance is a naked male figure, and on the right side is a naked female figure, with three seated female figures above the centre. A ten-armed Jaina Goddess on a garuda is located over the entrance, wielding numerous arms and weapons. Three short pilgrim records in characters of the tenth or eleventh century, which is the most likely period of the temple's beginnings, are found on the jambs of the door.
Other prominent temples in the Eastern Complex include the Javari temple, the Adinatha temple, and the Santinatha temple.
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