Places to see in Khajuraho, photo, images, pictures, Point of interest, sculptures, Places to visit in Khajuraho
The WESTERN GROUP
The Varaha Temple of Khajuraho dates back to the 10th century and is dedicated to the third incarnation of Vishnu, the preserver in the form of a boar (Varaha). It is among top of the list of tourists on places to see in Khajuraho. Mythology relates that the Rat-Demon Hiranyaksha stole the earth, pulled it under the waters to his abode and created 1000 replicas of himself to confuse his pursuer. Vishnu on the request of the other gods, incarnated himself as a boar and retrieved the earth from the clutches of the Demon and saved world. The huge sandstone polished Varaha is shown, along with hundreds of deities flanked about him and the three worlds-water, earth and heaven, perched on the serpent Shesha, with the broken figures of Prithvi on his feet.
Opposite this, is one of the best preserved Lakshmana Temple which is earliest of them(950 AD). The exteriors is richly carved and a platform has frenzies of hunting and animal apart from daily life and erotic depiction. The basement also has intricate carving on the same lines. Two rows of sculptures have gods and goddesses with the Apsaras-in-waiting.All figures have a relaxed expression and rest on one leg. Inside, one enters through a simple Makara-Toran flanked on either side by gladiators. The circular ceiling of the porch is carved in the design of lotus in four concentric circles. The raised platform in the hall is used as a dance floor or for Tantric rituals. The pillars on each corner depict Apsaras on carved brackets. Among the finest of sculptures, these eight figures, on each column, represent each sect of the Tantras. The Panch-Ratha has a three headed and four armed Vishnu as Vaikuntha, apart from 10 incarnations and 14 forms of Vishnu.
Dedicated to Shiva, the Kandariya Mahadev temple is the largest and tallest of all Khajuraho temples. The inner sanctum has a marble Linga and the roof rises in a series of seven bands, to a summit of the central 31 metres high Shkara. There are over 800 statues of gods and goddess, musicians and erotic poses carved onto its internal and external surfaces. Towards the North of these is the devi Jagdambe Temple built around the early 11th century. It has a standing Parvati image and is decorated with some of the best carving of deities, specially Yama.
The Chitragupta Temple of early 11th century is the only one dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. A lot of restoration work has been done here. The Garbha-Griha has Surya driving his chariot of seven horses and a statue of Vishnu with 11 heads showing 10 of his incarnation.
Matangesvara Temple stands next to the Laxmana Temple, outside the main complex. Even today it is visited which suggests that it is one of the oldest in Khajuraho.It has a statue of Ganesha just outside the temple where people offer flower garlands in the morning and inside is a 2.5 mtr. high polished linga of Lord Shiva.
Beyond the tank at some distance from the ruins of the western group of temples is, probably the first of the temples of Khajuraho, known as the Chausath (sixty four) Yogii, believed to have been built in 900 AD. This temple is built entirely of Granite, and is the only one not aligned East to West. Now in ruins, it once had sixty five cells of which sixty four belonged to each attendant of the goddess Kali, while one belong to the goddess herself.
The temples in this group of Khajuraho temple can further be subdivided into two, one being a cluster of Jain temple and another scattered through the small village. Outside the Jain temple enclosure a Jain Museum has recently been constructed with a circular gallery housing statues of 24 Tirthankaras. This museum can be visited from 0700-1800 hrs. after paying a nominal entry fee. It is among top of the list of tourists on places to see in Khajuraho.
The largest in this Khajuraho complex is the Parsavnath temple. The beauty of the sculptures here is exceptional with women figures seen applying makeup and other such scenes far less erotic than in the western group. It is among top of the list of tourists on places to see in Khajuraho.It is said that this temple was initially dedicated to Adinath but the statue was replaced by that of Parsvanath about a century ago and thus named. However the Adinath Temple lies adjacent to this one and has been restored in recent years to some extent. The fine carving are seen along the three bands of sculptures and the black image inside gives it the look of a Jain Temple, as also n the case of the Parsvnath temple. Another relatively modern temple, built around 1028 AD is the Shanti Nath Temple also dedicated to Adinath, in which his idol stands 4.5 mtrs. high. This is visited by the Digambar Jains.
Towards the village in the Ghantai(Bell) temple whose name relates to that the Bell and Chain decoration on its delicately carved columns. There is a figure of a Jain goddess astride a Garuda which is at the entrance. During back 1075-1100 AD is the Javari Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is a smaller version of the usually called Khajuraho temples but its carving on the exteriors is no less than the others. About 200 mtrs north of this is the Vamana Temple dedicated to the Dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The sculpture on the outer walls and in bands all over are remarkable. West towards the modern village lies what is shown as the Brahma Temple made of marble and granite. The name is actually incorrect as this temple is dedicated to Vishnu and not Brahma. There is a Hanuman Temple in the same vicinity. It has a 2.5 mtr. idol of the monkey God and an inscription dating it back to 922 AD.
This group of Khajuraho temple comprises of only two temples. A track running south the Jain enclosure reaches the first at a distance of 1 km called Duladeo Temple.It is among the latest built temples at Khajuraho, more accurate, finer and equally graceful, with figures of mithuna and women in various poses. The other temple about 3 km of this is the Chaturbhuj Temple which has a 3 mtr. high image of Vishnu. This temple is situated to the south of the river. It is among top of the list of tourists on places to see in Khajuraho.
The sculptures and statues play such an important part in the total design that many have their own terminology:
Apsara=heavenly nymph, beautiful dancing woman
Mithuna=Khajuraho’s most famous image, sensuously carved and erotic.
Salabhanjika=female figure with tree, which together act ac supporting brackets in the inner chambers of the temple.
Sardula=a mythical beast part lion, part some other animal or even human.
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