No north India tour can be complete without a walk through the Khajuraho temples, one of the most popular destinations for people traveling in India. Known as one of the seven wonders of India, Khajuraho has been listed as a UNSECO World Heritage Site. Discovered in the 19th century, 620 kilometres from New Delhi, in Madhya Pradesh, by T.S Burt, a British engineer, Khajuraho has the largest group of ancient Hindu and Jain temples.
Khajuraho is derived from the Sanskrit words kharjura, which means "date palms" and vahaka, which is "one who carries". The 80 temples that make up Khajuraho were built by the Chandela Rajputs between 950 and 1150 CE. Out of the 80 temples spread over 20 square kilometres, only 25 are in a reasonable state of preservation. The existence of this temple complex was known only to the townspeople of Khajuraho, and only became public knowledge in the 19th century. Some say this is one reason it still exists today.
Other Sites of Interest
Adinath Temple, Devi Jagadamba Temple, Parsvanath Temple, Jain Museum
The ComplexThe temples at Khajuraho also known popularly as the Kamasurta Temples are made out of sandstone. Only mortise and tenon(male & female) joints hold the stones in place. Some of the stones used for the columns and arches weigh close to 20 tones.
The temples are classified into three geographical divisions; western, eastern and southern. The western division is the largest and contains what is probably the most famous temple, the Kandariay Mahadev, a 31 m high structure with a number of porches and turrets culminating in a spire.
The temple complex is especially well known for its sculptures, which have captured the way of life of the local people at the time of construction, and frequently are sensual and sexual in nature. The sculptures are astonishing in the level of details, and workmanship. These sculptures are unmatched by anything created in the same time period.
In Khajuraho you can enjoy the hour long light and sound show in the evening (6:60 English, 7:30 Hindi), which covers the history, philosophy and art of the sculpting of the temples. If you can make the trip in February/March, you can be part of the Khajuraho Dance Festival and experience the classical dances of India against the backdrop of the Chitragupta or Vishwanath temples.
If you want to enjoy the sensual craftsmanship of the Kamasutra temples, click here and lets get started.