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Khajuraho Temples


Chandela rulers constructed Khajuraho Temples from 950 and 1050 AD. The religious precinct is shaped to highlight vertical hierarchy, with the main temple in the center and lowest temple near the portico. The exquisite and intricate carvings that are built on the outer walls of the temples have attracted media attention and photo enthusiasts from world over because of not only their beauty but also outrageous themes that they depict. Several of these sculptures depict worldly pleasures such as music, romance, beauty and sex in the most explicit manner.

There are many theories that have been forwarded to justify the presence of these carvings in sacred precincts, which include imparting sex education to newlyweds, depicting Kamasutra, or even denoting that worldly desires of all kinds need to be left outside the temples to reach the inner peace and make a connection with the divinity that resides inside them.

The temple complex is basically divided into three broad categories:

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Southern group of Khajuraho Temples: The farthest away from the town is the Southern group of temples. It has only two temples  - the Duladeo Temple and the Chaturbhuja Temple. The Duladeo Temple, you can see Apsaras celebrating their womanhood whule at the Chaturbhuja temple, the 9-ft high four-armed statue of Lord Vishnu is the main attraction.

Mysteriously, the wonderful Khajuraho Temples were lost to anonymity for centuries, visited only by the local tribals who came to pray here. They were rediscovered only in the 20th century and made an explosive entry into the world tourism scene because of its unique sculptures. It is believed that originally there were 85 Hindu Temples here, out of which only 22 have survived the ravages of time. An open art gallery for many tourists, it is bewildering that Khajuraho Temples stand alone and no ruins of palaces or mansions have been found in the nearby areas as evidences of human settlement here. Interesting folklores and legends of the place add life to these stones.

Eastern group of Khajuraho Temples: Situated closest to the town, Eastern group of Temples has three Jain Temples and three Brahmanical Temples. The largest Jain Temple is known as the Parsavanatha Temple. The famous sculpture of Parsvanatha here was placed n 1860 and sculptures here denote everyday activities. The other noteworthy Jain Temples here are the Adinath Temple and the Ghanti Temple that has friezes depicting the 16 dreams of Lord Mahavira's mother. The three main Hindu Temples here include the Brahma Temple with its four-faced Lingam, the Vamana Temple showcasing images of sensuous divine women, and Javari Temple that has a big ornate arch and remarkably intricate carvings.

Western group of Khajuraho Temples: The largest and most spectacular of all temple groups, the Western group of Temple is the best preserved one too. Located in the heart of the extensive temple complex, it is surrounded by landscaped lawns. The largest temple of Khajuraho is the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This 31 m high temple has about 900 sculptures adorning its pillars, ceilings, and archways. It is on the outer walls of this temple that you will find the famous sculptures of couples in various erotic poses. Other famous temples of the group include the Lakshmana Temple, Matangeshwara Temple that has now been converted into a museum, Varaha Temple, the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Sun God, the Vishwanath Temple with a 6 ft Nandi Bull sculpture facing it, and the Chaunsat Yogini Temple that happens to be oldest temple in the group.

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