A dream destination for a heritage lover, India has many heritage sites but Khajuraho temples have its own charm. In the ancient time, around 1100 years ago, Khajuraho was a religious capital of Chandela dynasty. During that period, every Chandela ruler has shown great interest in making some of the world’s most beautiful, amazing and unique temples.
Today, Khajuraho temples draw maximum number of foreign tourists in the central India. These temples are unique because of having several romantic and erotic sculptures. Some of these sculptures are quite loud in expressing their lust, and anyone can associate these temples with Kama or Kamasutra. Not only the erotic scene, but the architecture of Khajuraho temples is equally amazing. All the temples covered with thousands of small and mid size sculptures, depicting or can say celebrating various stage of life.
Because of uniqueness and beautiful architecture, Khajuraho temples marked their presence on the World map as UNESCO World heritage sites. As on date around 25 of these ancient temples exist, and broadly divided in two main group’s i.e. western and eastern group of monument.
Western group of monuments; Khajuraho temples
This is the main temple groups which earn the World heritage title. Vishvanatha temple, Lakshman temple and Kandaria Mahadev temple are the most notable among this group of monument.
An important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, sharing its name with Vishvanath temple of Varanasi and of Uttarkashi. It stand on a high platform with a Nandi temple in front of it. This temple is decorated with beautiful carving and many beautiful sculptures of various kinds that include animals, Apsara (nymphs). Middle wall gallery is mainly for the erotic figures. Temple porch has some ancient inscriptions regarding its history.
It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and oldest among the Khajuraho temples. It has several sculptures of Lord Vishnu in various forms (avtars) along with hundreds of elephants and horse sculptures. Like other temple of the group, it also has an erotic art gallery. Temple platform also has four smaller temples at each corner. There is one Lakshmi temple and one Varaha temple in front of Lakhshmana temple.
Kandariya Mahadev temple
Most important and best survived temple of the group dedicated to Lord Shiva, also has highest Sikhara (tower) among all. Its main tower has 84 miniature of spire which made it distinct from other temples. The temple’s architecture plan is quite similar with Vishvanatha and Lakshmana temple. It shares its platform with Jagdamba temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the batter half of Lord Shiva.
Apart from these main temples, one Chitragupta temple dedicated to God Sun, one Parvati temple and one Islamic temple also there within the same temple complex.
Western group of monument are lies within a large compound, maintained by Archeological Survey of India (ASI). To visit these monuments one has to buy entry ticket with nominal charge for India (Rs. 40/-) and Rs. 500/- for foreign visitors.
There is another important temple named Matangeshwara adjacent to Lakshmana temple but outside the bounded complex. It is the only temple of that era, which is still in use for daily worship. It has a quite large Shivalingam of 2 meter height.
There are two museum associated with history and heritage of Khajuraho; one is just in front of western group of monuments and other one is approx 500 meter away on the same road. These museums have various broken sculptures found during the excavation and restoration of site. Here, many old photograph of the site can be seen.
Light & Sound show
Madhya Pradesh tourism also organize a light & sound show in the complex of western group monuments. This one hour show is in Hindi and English language, with different time slot in evening.
Eastern group of monuments
These temples are mainly lie within the old town of Khajuraho. No cost is involved in visiting these monuments, though ASI takes care of these. All these temples close at sun-set so its batter to club your morning walks with visit of these monuments. Some of notable temples of this group are Vaman temple, Juwari temple, Brahma temple and Ghantai temple.
Apart from these monuments some Jain temples also part of eastern group. There are various life size statues of Bhagwan Bahubali, Parshavnath and Mahavira.
There are some other important temples like Duladeo Shiva temple at the bank of Khudar River and Chaturbhuj temple build in typical Khajuraho style and usually mentioned as Southern group of monuments.
Where to Eat & Stay
Various budget hotels/homestay available near the western group of monuments on Jain mandir road, it is the main market of Khajuraho. There are some guest houses like ‘Zostel’ or ‘Yogi Ashram’ that offer shared room/dormitory for backpackers.
If you are on luxury tour, you can book your stay with ‘Radisson Jass’ or ‘The Lalit’, also can try Tourist Village Khajuraho.
Anything to buy
Near the western group complex, you will see many stall and young guys selling booklets of temple’s erotic art gallery. Even you can see Kamashutra on every stall very casually. Main market is also filled with paintings and statues of sensual sculptures borrowed from Khajuraho temples. If you are really fascinating about it, you can buy painting but don’t forget to bargain.
Nearby tourist attractions
During your Khajuraho visit, you can go for Raneh water fall and Ken Crocodile sanctuary.
Some hotel also organize one day tour to Panna National Park along with Asia’s only active Majhagaon diamond mine approx 50km away from Khajuraho.
How to reach Khajuraho
Khajuraho is a small town in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, approx 650 km from Indian capital Delhi.
By Air: There is an Airport in Khajuraho which is about 10 km from main town. Direct flights available from Delhi, Mumbai, Agra and Varanasi.
By Train: If you are a budget traveler you can try train from Delhi via Jhansi or from Allahabad. Khajuraho itself have a railway station 15 km from town but with limited availability of trains. So you have to plan in quite advance.
Mahoba is the other nearest railway station that is 70 KM from Khajuraho. You can book a taxi for Khajuraho.
You will find lots of Auto rickshaws for Rajnagar at the exit of Khajuraho Railway station; they all pass through Khajuraho and charge only 10 to 15 rupees for share ride.
By Bus: There is only one or two bus ply directly from Bhopal/Indore in night. You can also find limited Bus from Mahoba, but I will not recommend personally. Condition of these buses are not good and they take almost 4 hour for this 70 Km journey.
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