Day 09: Khajuraho
The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. The divine sculptures in these temples, are a tribute to Life itself, embodying everything that is sublime and spontaneous about it. The murals depict the life and times of the Chandelas, and celebrate the erotic state of being. They not only testify to the mastery of the craftsman, but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose reign, these temples were constructed. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions : western, eastern and southern.
After breakfast explore the Western, eastern and southern temples of khajuraho while your guide explains the intricate meaning and legends behind each describable sculpture.
Kandariya Mahadeo: This is the largest, and most typical Khajuraho temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it soars 31 m high. The sanctum enshrines a lingam, while the main shrine is ornately carved and depicts various gods, goddesses, apsaras (heavenly maidens) in elaborate detail.
Chaunsat Yogini: The oldest surviving temple in the group (900 A.D.), this is the sole granite temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. Another Kali temple, which was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is the Devi Jagdambe temple.
Chitragupta Temple: Dedicated to the sun-god, Surya, this temple faces eastwards to the rising sun.
Vishwanath Temple: The temple enshrines a three-headed image of Lord Brahma. Lions guard the northern entrance to the structure, while elephants flank the southern flight of steps that lead upto it. A Nandi bull faces the shrine.
Lakshamana Temple: The lintel over the entrance of this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, shows the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort. The sanctum is adorned with a three-headed idol of Vishnu's incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha.
Matangeshwara Temple: This temple, which happens to be outside the precincts of the western group, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It boasts of an eight feet high lingam. Eastern Group
Parsavanatha Temple: The largest in the group of three Jain temples, the Parsavanath image in this temple, was installed in 1860.
Ghantai Temple: This Jain temple has a frieze depicting the 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother, and a Jain goddess perched on a winged Garuda.
Adinatha Temple: The last of the Jain temples, is dedicated to the Jain saint, Adinatha, and is gorgeously adorned with sculptures of yakshis among others.
The three Hindu temples in this group are the Brahma temple, which has a four-faced lingam, The Vamana temple which is embellished with images of ravishing apsaras at their alluring best; and finally the Javari temple, with its ornate gateway and lavish carvings.
Duladeo Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the highlights of this temple are the sensuous images of the apsaras, and other exquisite sculptures. Chaturbhuj Temple: This temple sports a huge, elaborately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum.
Night stay in Khajuraho.