Khajuraho Group of monuments

Khajuraho was an ancient city in the Madhya Pradesh region of northern India. From the 10th to 12th century it was ruled by Chandella kings who ruled Bundelkhand. This city is popularly known as “the mystic land of Kamasutra” the sculpture carved in the walls of the temple tells the story of mystic Kamasutra. The group of temples is UNESCO World Heritage Site. These temples are famous for their nagara (drum used in the Middle East) style and architectural symbolism and erotic sculptures. These erotic sculptures help this city to be famous as “Khajuraho – the mystic land of Kamasutra.”

In this city, you will find a group of monuments like Hindu temples and Jain temples. There were 85 temples by the 12th century, spread over 20 sq. kilometers out of these only about 25 temples have survived, spread over 6 sq. kilometers.

Here, I will answer most of the questions regarding Khajuraho the land mystic of Kamasutra, as I read about this city I was so confused i.e., how to cover all groups of temples? How to reach there? And many more such questions. So now I am all good after visiting this place.  

Allow me to proceed…

A view of Khajuraho group of monuments.
Khajuraho group of monuments

How to visit Khajuraho – The mystic land of Kamasutra?

You know I was so confused before this trip, that how everything will go in this journey, the basic question was how will I reach there, the mystic land of Kamasutra? I was a bit nervous and excited too, Khajuraho is a small city in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Even though connectivity is not so good, I took a train from New Delhi to Khajuraho, a long journey of approx. 666km. and 15hrs. Khajuraho city has its own airport.

When you reach the station, there are many auto drivers out there and they will tell you, they will guide you to the Khajuraho city, and help you to reach out to all the temples. But you have to be careful they will try to suck your pocket so use your bargain habit here too. And if you visit this place please do some research about the temples because sometimes, they will just show you some minor part of the city and that will be all. So be careful!!

Watch vlog here

Where to visit in this mystic land of Kamasutra?

You know before going to this question let’s see the nomenclature, the name Khajuraho, or Kharjuravahaka is derived from ancient Sanskrit (kharjura, खर्जूर means date palm, and vahaka, वाहक means “one who carries” or bearer). Local legends state that the temples had two golden date-palm trees as their gate (missing when they were rediscovered). Desai ( meaning ‘landlord’) states that Kharjuravahaka also means scorpion bearer, which is another symbolic name for deity Shiva (who wears snakes and scorpion garlands in his fierce form).

Kandariya Mahadev Temple., Khajuraho group of temple,
Kandariya Mahadev, western group of temples

The temples in this mystic land are broadly divided into three parts, the Eastern group, the Western group, and the Southern group of temples, in all these three parts the Western group has the facility of an audio-guided tour wherein the tourist is guided through the five-seven temples.

In my suggestion, if you reach Khajuraho in the morning, then first visit the Western group of temples, because there are five to seven temples in one compound and they are so beautiful and you will see the Kamasutra cravings in the walls of the temples, many scholars say that these are tantric sexual practices. And these temples take 4-5 hours of your time and on the other hand in the morning the Western group of temples will not get overcrowded and you can enjoy the view.

Note: The ticket price of the Western Group of temples is Rs. 40, and this is the only group of temples that charge tourists.

In the old Khajuraho, there are Eastern and southern group of temples, unlike the Western Group where the temples are in a closed area, the temples of the Eastern and Southern groups are scattered all around the old village. Visiting the forgotten temples of Khajuraho is bound to offer you rich encounters and authenticity.

The Southern group of Khajuraho temples consists of only – the Dhuladeo temple, and the Chaturbhuj temple. The former is dedicated to Lord Shiva while the latter is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

The Southern group of Khajuraho temples consists of only – the Dhuladeo temple, and the Chaturbhuj temple. The former is dedicated to Lord Shiva while the latter is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The southern groups of temples lie 5 km from the Khajuraho village.

Compared to the other two groups, the western and the eastern groups of temples, this group lacks the sculptural refinement and polish of the earlier shrines. It is because of this reason that it is considered the least important part of the Khajuraho complex. This group comprises just two temples. The Dhuladeo, located south of the Jain enclosure, was constructed well after the other temples. The Chaturbhuja temple, located much further south, is in a dilapidated condition but proudly sports a finely-rendered 9ft-high statue of Vishnu.

If you are done in Khajuraho then do visit Raneh Falls, but it is good visit for monsoon and there is Panna wildlife sanctuary you can visit there too, they have their Safari too.

History

The Khajuraho group of monuments was built during the rule of the Chandela dynasty. The building activity started almost immediately after the rise of their power, throughout their kingdom to be later known as Bundelkhand. The temple inscriptions suggest many of the currently surviving temples were complete between 970 and 1030 AD, with further temples completed during the following decades.

The Khajuraho temples were built about 35 miles from the medieval city of Mahoba, the capital of the Chandela dynasty, in the Kalinjar region. In ancient and medieval literature, their kingdom has been referred to as Jijhoti, Jejahoti, Chih-chi-to, and Jejakabhukti.
The first documented mention of Khajuraho was made in 641 by Xuan Zang, a Chinese pilgrim who described encountering several dozen inactive Buddhist monasteries and a dozen Hindu temples with a thousand worshipping brahmins.

Khajuraho temples were in active use through the end of the 12th century. This changed in the 13th century; after the army of Delhi Sultanate, under the command of the Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom. About a century later, Ibn Batuta, the Moroccan traveller in his memoirs about his stay in India from 1335 to 1342 AD, mentioned visiting Khajuraho temples, calling them “Kajarra.

Near (Khajuraho) temples, which contain idols that have been mutilated by the Moslems, live several yogis whose matted locks have grown as long as their bodies. And on account of extreme asceticism, they are all yellow in colour. Many Moslems attend these men in order to take lessons (yoga) from them.

— Ibn Battuta, about 1335 AD

                                  

The Central Indian region, where Khajuraho temples are, was controlled by various Muslim dynasties from the 13th century through the 18th century. In this period, some temples were desecrated, followed by a long period when they were left in neglect. In 1495 AD, for example, Sikandar Lodi’s campaign of temple destruction included Khajuraho. The remoteness and isolation of Khajuraho protected the Hindu and Jain temples from continued destruction by Muslims. Over the centuries, vegetation and forests overgrew the temples.

In the 1830s, local Hindus guided a British surveyor, T.S. Burt, to the temples and they were thus rediscovered by the global audience. Alexander Cunningham later reported, few years after the rediscovery, that the temples were secretly in use by yogis and thousands of Hindus would arrive for pilgrimage during Shivaratri celebrated annually in February or March based on a lunar calendar. In 1852, F.C. Maisey prepared the earliest drawings of the Khajuraho temples.

In my point of view, we have to know our history and our culture, people from foreign are praising our culture and what are we doing? Are we so busy? But overall, this place has something that you should visit, you will come to know our rich culture and how high-tech we were.

Note: There are many more pictures and videos of the Khajuraho group of temples I will upload them in my video blog stay tunned.

Thank you.

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