The Khajuraho Temples located in the heart of Central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh were commissioned by the Rajput rulers of Chandela Dynasty who ruled over central India from the 10th to the 13th Century CE. The temples were built over a period of 100 years followed with a belief that each Chandela ruler built at least one temple in the complex during his lifetime. Besides this, there lies an impeccably rich history of Khajuraho Temples.
A visit to the history of Khajuraho Temples
Throughout the 12th century, the temple complex grew till the downfall of the Chandela Dynasty at the hands of the Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aibak. During the ensuing centuries, Muslim rulers largely controlled the region. Some temples were even desecrated by the Muslim conquerors. But the temples of Khajuraho were left largely neglected owing to their remote location in dense forests. Only in the 19th century, a British surveyor named T.S. Burt discovered, excavated and restored these temples.
However, the first recorded mention of the Khajuraho temples is in the accounts of Al-Biruni in AD 1022 and in the works of the Arab traveller Ibn Battuta in AD 1335.
The remaining 22 temples of the once 85 are spread over an area of approximately 6 square km. They are broadly grouped into three categories depending on their orientation– the Western, the Eastern and the Southern Group of Temples.
The Western Group of Temples
The western side of the site is the most popular area, which includes the Kandariya Mahadeva, the largest Khajuraho temples dedicated to Lord Shiva peppered with 900 magnificent sculptures. It represents Kailash Parbat, as the temple resembles a mountain range. The temple is believed to have built by King Vidhyadhara after a successful war campaign.
Another temple located next to the Kandariya Mahadeva temple in the western side is Devi Jagdambi Temple. The Devi Jagdambi temple is erroneously linked to Devi Jagdambi and is, in fact, a Vishnu temple. This temple has sculptures depicting Devanganas, Mithunas in sexual positions, divinities and explicit erotic sculptures. It is because of these erotic sculptures that these temples are also known as the Kama Sutra temples. However, most of these sculptures are found on the outer walls of the temples and not near the deities to maintain the sanctity of the pace.
The Eastern Group of Temples
The Eastern temples are lesser known than the others. The Brahma Temple is actually dedicated to Lord Vishnu dated from 925 AD. Due to the presence of a four-faced Shivalinga, the temple got wrongly associated with Lord Brahma. It is a simple structure made up of granite along with a pyramidal spire made of sandstone. It is devoid of ornate carvings and sensual sculptures, however, at the entrance, one can see the carvings of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna.
Surely all these divine sculptures are a tribute to life itself, representing everything that is beautiful and natural. There are numerous interpretations associated with the presence of the sculptures. In fact, this has made them worldwide popular. But the truth is that nobody is ever going to know the truth behind it. Perhaps, mysticism is its real charm as well as a treasure.