The state of Madhya Pradesh is a prime cultural and religious hub of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. With the world famous Khajuraho temples, exquisitely carved Jain temples, forts and palaces, the state is full of glorious reminders of the era of Rajas and Maharajas. Its medieval cities, amazing wildlife sanctuaries and pilgrimage centers offer memorable experiences.
The Khajuraho Group of monuments in Khajuraho town, 385 miles from Delhi, are one of the most popular destinations in the world. It has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain Temples, more famous for their erotic sculptures than anything else. The Khajuraho temple complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of India.
The temples are made of sandstone - the builders didn't use mortar. The stones were put together with mortise and tenon joints and held in place by gravity. This kind of construction requires very precise joints. The columns and architraves were built with megaliths that weigh up to 20 tons!
The Khajuraho temples bear erotic artwork with sensual engravings and erotic sculptures, built by the Chandela rulers in the 10th century. Many carvings also depict everyday life of the common man at the time. Erotic fantasies sculpted in stone are a curious blend of religion with eroticism.
Today, the temples serve as fine examples of Indian architectural styles that have gained popularity due to their explicit depiction of erotic life during medieval times. The Khajuraho temples are now set in a parkland landscape. The archaeological park now has something of the character of a public park, with mowed grass, rose beds and ornamental trees. This however has no relationship with the historic landscape at the time the temples were built. The temples of Khajuraho were built between 950 to 1050 A.D. Of the original 85 temples, only 20 have survived the weather over the millennia .
The Khajuraho temple complex offers a well-made light and sound show every evening. The show is about an hour long and covers the history, philosophy and the art of sculpting of these temples. These 10th -11th century temples have an interesting legend behind them that connects them to the origin of the Chandela dynasty. It is said that in a fit of passion and lust, the Moon God seduced and ravaged a beautiful Brahmin girl known as Hemvati, resulting in the birth of Chandravarman -the founder of the Chandela dynasty. Later, Chandravarman had a dream where his mother requested him to make a temple which would reveal all aspects of passion and erotic fantasy to the world.
The fact is the Khajuraho temples do not contain erotic art inside the temples or near the deities ; however some external carvings bear erotic art. Also, some of the temples that have two layers of walls have small erotic carvings on the outside of the inner wall. There are many interpretations of the erotic carvings. They portray that for seeing the deity, one must leave his or her sexual desires outside the temple. They also convey that Divinity, such as the deities of the temples, is pure like the atman (soul), which is not affected by sexual desires and other characteristics of the physical body.
Meanwhile, the external curvature and carvings of the temples depict humans, human bodies and the changes that occur in human bodies as well as the facts of life. Just about 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes, the rest depict the everyday life of the common man at the time when the carvings were made.
The Khajuraho Dance Festival, held every year in February/March, is an opportunity for visitors to experience various classical Indian dances set against the backdrop of the Temples.
The nearest railway station is at Jhansi, 18 km from town. The nearest airport is Khajuraho Airport. Premium hotels in Khajuraho offer all modern amenities and the Budget hotels too offer decent a stay at reasonable prices. Most hotels here have good restaurants where you can try a variety of cuisines.
khajuraho is situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh.