derived from the word 'khajur' meaning the date palm, was a quiet,
unknown town till a chance discovery made it a popular tourist destination.
Forgotten and unvisited until the mid-1960s, the place is now, after
the Taj, India's biggest single tourist attraction. Khajuraho has
the largest group of medieval temples; each studded with countless
sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy. The temples of Khajuraho,
are indeed, celebrations of the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments
of beauty, love and creative arts.
October to March
The beautiful temples that dot the town of Khajuraho are believed to have been built by the mighty Chandela rulers in 9th and 10th century AD. The engravings on these temples are highly sensual and erotic
The Kandariya Mahadeo is considered the most evolved example of central Indian temple architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is also the largest of Khajuraho's temples.
The Lakshmana Temple is one of the oldest and finest of the western group of temples. The temple is rather big with four other shrines attached to it. Although the general norm in other temples is three bands of sculpture, this temple has only two. Recurrent themes are battles, hunting and women.
The temple of Devi Jagdamba is considered by many of us to be one of the most erotic temples of Khajuraho. The temple houses Khajuraho's most talked-about image, mithuna,and the sensuously carved figures. It is not clear until today as to which deity this temple is dedicated.
The temple of Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples in Khajuraho and the finest. The temple was originally dedicated to Adinath and latter to Parsvanath. It is the finest example of the sensitive art without any sexual motifs. Near this temple is the temple of Adinath with fine carvings. The temple is quite similar to the Hindu temples of Khajuraho.
Shantinath is the youngest of all the temples in Khajuraho. Though it looks like the most other temples in Khajuraho, it is just a century old. The temple has a four and a half meter statue of Adinath.
There are only two temples in the southern group of temples. The Duladeo is somewhat new and built in a time when the creativity of Khajuraho was well down its peak. The temple has wooden structures that take away its authenticity somewhat. The other temple is of Chaturbhuja, pretty far from the village. The temple has a 3-m-high statue of Vishnu.
Apart from the temples, another place that can be visited here is the Archeological Museum. It has a very good collection of sculpture, inscriptions,and architectural objects.
Panna National Park
Ken Gharial Sanctuary
Majhganwa Diamond Mines, Panna
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
The most important festival of Khajuraho is Mahashivratri. The festival marks Shiva's marriage with Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. The 2.5m tall lingam of Kandariya Mahadeo temple is dressed as a bridegroom, with white and saffron dhotis, surmounted by a huge, conical, silver paper crown. The chanting of hymns continues throughout the night, until the Brahmins stand to throw bel leaves and flower petals over the lingam, a sign that the wedding is complete.
Khajuraho festival of dance is organized every year in the months of February/March. The cream of Indian classical dancers perform here to display the best of Indian dance and music. The floodlit temples of Khajuraho provide the perfect backdrop to the festival.
Many shops in Khajuraho sell souvenirs and handicrafts made by the local artisans. There are smaller stalls outside the temple gates where one can pick up interesting souvenirs. A weekly bazaar is held at Rajinagar on Tuesdays, 5 km from Khajuraho. The market is worth a visit to buy silver goods and brassware.
HOW TO REACH