Khajuraho is a paradisiacal town in Bundelkhand region (Chhatarpur District) of Madhya Pradesh which is an example of fineness and beauty. Surrounded by the mighty mountains of Vindhya Range, this place possesses rare pieces of art and heritage. The ancient temples of Hinduism and Jainism religions proudly boast of being referred to as ‘World Heritage Sites’.
The erotic structures have been bifurcated on the basis of their geography into three categories namely- Southern, Western and Eastern. One is subject to amazement and awe beyond imagination by the sassy sculptures built in the historic times. The architectural essence, gorgeous geography, charming culture and vibrant vibes of Khajuraho give an internal sense of peace and a lifetime experience.
Temples of Khajuraho were constructed between 950 to 1050AD by Chandela dynasty
To absorb in the splendor of this place, it is important to know its origin and history. Khajuraho, then known as Vatsa, is a town that was built by the Chandela dynasty between 950 AD to 1050 AD. Its name is derived from the species of date palm called ‘Khajura’.
This is because, after the demolition of the Chandela dynasty in the 13th century, the city of temples was covered by thick date palm trees of ‘Khajura’. It was in 1838 when Captain T.S Burt, a British army engineer, rediscovered the abode of temples. Out of 85 temples, only 22 temples could be brought back to life.
Uniqueness of Khajuraho
Khajuraho’s sculptures are a depiction of Kama Sutra, an ancient Hindu text explaining typical sexual human behavior. Molded in Indo- Aryan architecture, the erotic effigies are live examples of romance and love. They depict the appreciation of passion and love making by the Chandela rulers. They are exceptional artistic pieces in the homeland of Kama Sutra.
The temples embed some of the most esteemed gods of Hindus and Jains. The sculptures in the vicinity of temples must be studied carefully as each of them has a story of its own.
Built using interlocking technology without use of cement or relevant material these temples of Khajuraho are considered as high point of Indian architectural genius.
Western Group of Temples
The Western Group of Temples are the biggest and richest of all. These temples remain open from sunrise to sunset. They have an entry fee of Rs. 500 for foreigners and Rs. 10 for Indian people.Following is a list of must-visit Western temples-
- Varaha Temple
- Vishwanath Temple
- Chitragupta Temple
- Devi Jagdamba Temple
- Chaunsat Yogini
- Matanageswara Temple
- Kandariya Mahadeo Temple
- Lakshmana Temple
Eastern Group of Temples
The Eastern Group of Temples are mostly the Jain temples. They are located amidst the old village named Khajur Sagar. The Eastern Group of Temples include the following breathtaking temples-
- Javari Temple
- Vamana Temple
- Adinath Temple
- Parsvanath Temple
- Brahma Temple
- Hanuman Temple
- Ghantai Temple
Southern Group of Temples
The Southern Group of Temples are located slightly away from the other temples of Khajuraho. These temples are not as elaborate as the temples of Western Group. This is because they are believed to be built during the end of Chandela rule. It is assumed that the kings were running short of expenses and creativity. They majorly comprise of two temples-
- Chattarbhuj Temple Or Jatkari Temple
- Dulhadev Temple
Without the aid of guiding assistance, it is challenging to understand the land of Khajuraho. Every temple has a new tale of spiritualism, war, love, gods, and culture. It is essential for every tourist to get loaded with amusing stories of history in order to relate to the place.
For the sake of self-dependence and ease, the Ministry of Tourism (Incredible India) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have launched guiding services. Both these services are described below.
AudioCompass is the official app launched by the Ministry of Tourism (Incredible India) to ease the touring experience of the Western Group of Monuments. It is an app supported by both Android and iOS. It has some user-friendly facilities for touch screen map, audio files, and graphical representations. A tourist can independently understand the glory of each structure through this app. It provides authentic and accurate data expressed in an interesting form.
An audio guide for a self-guided touring facility was launched by Archaeological Survey of India on 1st August 2011. The supreme quality facility helps to extract unknown facts about the Khajuraho monuments.
One can get the audio guide facility at a booth near the ticket counter. An English or foreign language guide costs Rs. 100 while an Indian or local language guide costs Rs. 60.
At times there were 85 majestic Hindu temples in Khajuraho. Only 22 temples are able to survive.
Other Places to Visit
Panna National Park
It is an officially designated ‘Biosphere Reserve’ with an approximate area of 543 sq. km. The lush green forests of Panna lie beside the course of graceful Ken River. The National Park is famous for being officially the 22nd tiger reserve of India and the 5th in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
The deciduous forests of Panna National Park are a mix of wildlife and history dating back to the Neolithic era. Though, dominatingly an abode to Indian tigers, it also provides shelter to wonderful species like four-horned antelope, carcal, sloth bear pangolin, Indian wolf, leopard rusty spotted cat, and gharial. It is an ideal place to binge for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The major destinations worth visiting in Panna National Park are-
- Raneh Falls
- Ken Gharial Sanctuary
- Mahamati Prannathji Temple
- Pandav Falls
- Baldeoji Temple
- Art Museum
Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum
To take a break from the temples of Khajuraho, Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum is an ideal place. It is a sophisticated museum in the Chandela Cultural Complex. It houses an abundance of artifacts with the descriptive history of the cultures of Madhya Pradesh.
It also has authentic tribal paintings, jewelry, masks, terracotta items, bamboo objects and antiques. One can buy mementos like unique prints and paintings. With a minimal entry fee of Rs. 10, it is a must visit for all tourists. It is an immense appealer for art lovers.
Activities To-Do in Khajuraho
Khajuraho Dance Festival
This is an annually held festival in February showcasing the diverse classical forms of dances of India such as Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, and Kathakali. Besides this, modern art forms have also been added recently.
The artists, among the best in the world, perform with such an enthusiasm creating a magical aura. They dance in the open air theatre in front of Chitragupta Temple and the Vishvanatha Temple. The richness and elegance of the forms of dances will add to the extravagance of your visit to Khajuraho.
It is advised to plan your trip in Khajuraho such that the Khajuraho Dance festival falls within the dates.
Sound and Light Show
The western part of temples organises amazing sound and light show in their sprawling gardens every evening.
It showcases the history of Khajuraho to the tourists in a fascinating way.
An hour of tremendous lighting and sound is worth the fee.
One gets an opportunity to obtain knowledge and relish marvellous facts about Khajuraho.
Tips for Sightseeing
Bicycles can be rented in Khajuraho for a pleasant experience of sightseeing. It gives you the liberty to move around the city on your wishes. Besides this, one can also contact car rental companies for hiring cars. There are many auto rickshaws available for efficient transport from one place to another. Therefore, there are hassle-free options for traveling within the town.
Beware of fake people posing as principals, school teachers and students. They usually claim to be from an institution needing donations. They are more interested in earning easy money. They mostly target foreign tourists for such frauds.
Best Time to Visit
Khajuraho has a wide distinction between the climates of daytime and night-time. It has an annual rainfall of 114 cms averagely.
The temperature can soar up to 45˚C during the summers. Hence, it is advised to enjoy this destination in winters. According to local guides and professional experts, the best months to visit are from September to March.
The occurrence of Annual Dance Festival in March makes it a perfect time to land.
Only 10% of sculptures are erotic & sensual despite a perception of being Kama Sutra Temple about Khajuraho
Plan your Trip
Khajuraho has an airport, railway station and bus stand. There are hardly any difficulties in the transportation in and around the city. You can choose any one of them to visit this destination.
Located approximately 2 km from the center of the city is Khajuraho Civil Airport. This aerodrome is well connected to major cities of India like Delhi, Varanasi, and Agra. Umpteen taxis are available round the clock at the airport for easy conveyance.
Khajuraho Railway Station is situated 5 km from the center of town. The station is also connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi (via Satna Railway Station) and Kolkata.
Well-connected road transportation associates cities such as Jhansi, Orchha, Bandhavgarh, and Chattarpur. Hiring a taxi is easy from any of these locations.
It is time for you to pack your travel bags and land this heavenly piece of Indian art, food, culture, and heritage. Coupled with serene surroundings, you can also learn the art of yoga in ashrams like Arhanta Yoga Ashram. A peaceful destination along with mind detoxifying activities makes Khajuraho a magical combination. It is time for you to take a break from your monotonous routine and immerse in the grandeur of the city of romance and culture. What are you waiting for?