Khajuraho temples – the UNESCO world heritage site is a famous and sought after tourist destination of India. The temple city of Khajuraho is acclaimed worldwide because of the numerous images with erotic sculptures that depict innocent form of love and passion. The thousand year old Khajuraho temple complex of Khajuraho with exquisitely carved stone shrines manifests the essence of the philosophy of Kamasutra and is unique in the world. Explicit depiction of sexual life in stone carvings has given it the status of one of the “seven wonders” of India.
Once a great Chandela capital, Khajuraho is now a popular tourist town shot to fame on the international tourist circuit because of its erotic sculptures that are believe to be physical embodiments of the greatest treatise on love- The Kama Sutra.
An inspired burst of awesome creativity in a short span of 100 years, between 950 AD – 1050 AD saw 85 temples being built in Khajuraho under the patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings. After the decline of the Chandela dynasty in 13th century, the temples were left under the cover of dense date palm trees for many years. In 1838, a British army engineer, Captain T.S. Burt rediscovered them. By that time only 22 of the original 85 temples had survived the ravages of time.
Hundreds of exquisite images that adore the beautiful shrines of Khajuraho are undoubtedly the most sensuous erotic sculptures the world has ever seen. Thousands of tourists from all over the world flock together virtually everyday, to envisage this immortal creation where the art of love making has been depicted in stone.
What to see at Khajuraho?
The Khajuraho temple complex is the biggest attraction of this temple city of Madhya Pradesh. The Khajuraho temple complex is scattered over an area of about 20 square kilometres. Of the 85 original temples – most constructed of hard river sandstone – about 20 are still reasonably well preserved. Both internally and externally the temples are richly carved with excellent sculptures that are sensual and, at times, sexually explicit. The temples at Khajuraho, though considered to be a canvas of erotic sculptures, in reality are dedicated to some of the most revered Hindu Gods.
The temples of Khajuraho have been grouped into three complexes: western, eastern and southern.
The Western group consists of entirely Hindu temples. These temples depict some of the finest architectural splendors of Khajuraho.
The largest temple in this group is the Kandariya Mahadeva temple, which is also the largest and the most majestic temple in Khajuraho. Tourists from around the world spend hours in front of this temple – taking photographs, studying its intricacies and getting awe struck by its rare erotic sculpture.
Lakshmana Temple located in the Western Temple complex in Khajuraho is a beautiful Vaishnavite temple. This east facing huge temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is also one of the oldest and well preserved of Khajuraho temples. More than 600 stone sculptured images in exterior of this temple are just awesome and speaks highly of the excellence of the Indian sculptors of the era.
The Eastern group consists of Hindu and Jain temples. These temples, though not as elaborately carved as the western temples, yet have a charm and splendor of their own. The Parsvanath Temple of this group is the largest and is dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara, Parasvanath. The eye-catching non-erotic sculptors and the wonderful architecture of the Parsvanath temple, which is regarded as the biggest Jain temple of India is really worth a visit.
The Southern group consists of just two temples, the Dhuladeo Temple and the Chatturbhuj Temple. These temples lack the touch of refined sculptures and architectural splendors of other Khajuraho temples.
There are several other temples at Khajuraho that are real gems and must not be ignored at any cost. For example Devi Jagdamba temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Universe is home to some of the finest sculptures of Khajuraho. The uppermost bands of sculptures at the temple exterior are perhaps the most erotic sculptures of Khajuraho temples.
Chaunsat Yogini temple is another unique temple of Khajuraho because it is the only temple of Khajuraho built of Granite.
The huge 8 feet lingam at the Matangeswara temple dedicated to Shiva will make you spellbound.
Adinath temple dedicated to the Jain Tirthankara Adinath is lavishly embellished with numerous sculpted figures and must be visited.
The Ghantai temple is a Jain temple depicting the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother. One must not levae this temple from his tour itinerary.
The Dhuladeo temple belonging to the southern group of temples enshrines a Shivalingam. The apsara and ornamented figures of erotic sculptures are the temple’s most striking features.
The Chattarbhuj temple is well-known for its architectural masterpiece. It is the only temple Of Khajuraho temple complex which is devoid of any erotic sculpture. The massive 9 feet intricately carved Vishnu idol in Chaturbhuja will definitely create a sense of calmness in your mind.
State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art – Located within Chandela Cultural Complex in Khajuraho, State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art displays the best of Indian civilization and custom. Over 500 artifacts put on display gives a deep insight Indian tradition and culture and its fusion with foreign cultures. The Museum remains open between 12 noon to 8 pm, on all days, except Mondays and Government Holidays.
Archaeological Museum – Tour of Khajuraho will never get complete unless you visit the open air archaeological museum under the Archaeological Survey of India.
In 1910, W.A. Jardine, an innovative local officer of the British government collected the loose sculptures and architectural members of the ruined temples of Khajuraho and preserved it in an enclosure built adjoining to the Matangeshwar Temple. Till 1952, this collection was known as Jardine Museum and then it was taken over by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The present Archaeological Museum was set up in the year 1967, and it displays plethora of beautiful and elegant artistic delights besides preserving the by glory of the bygone era. Representing important Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina faiths, the five galleries are a delight to visit.
The museum remains open on all days between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Shilpgram – This open-air theatre designed to promote Indian culture will make your Khajuraho tour all the more entertaining and colourful. The government-operated cultural centre sprawls across an area of about ten acres and was established in 1998.
A genuine attempt to promote the centuries old Indian culture, Shilpgram, allures the tourists with its heart throbbing performances of folk arts that begins at 7 am. In addition to the classical dancing performances, the Shilpgram houses works of the craftsmen from various parts of India, whose work on tribal handicrafts are being sold out through the shop housed in the complex.
There are several other sightseeing destinations in and Khajuraho that are worth visiting. The Jain Museum, Kalinjar Fort, Ajaigarh Fort, Raneh Fall and Benisagar Dam are to name a few.
How to reach Khajuraho?
By Air – Khajuraho has a domestic airport known as City Airport. The airport located 5 Km from the centre of the city is served by Air India offering flights from Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Mumbai. Jet Airways offers flights from Delhi and Varanasi, while Kingfisher airlines offer flights from Varanasi. International travelers can get connecting flights to Khajuraho from Mumbai or Delhi.
By Rail – A railway station finally came up in Khajuraho in 2008, linking it to Jhansi (175km) on the Delhi-Chennai/Bangalore/ Trivandrum mainline. There are direct trains from New Delhi Station (Hazarat Nizamuddin Railway Station), Agra and Varanasi that connects the Khajuraho railway station.
Mahoba is the nearest major railhead, 63 km away. Trains from Mumbai, Mathura, Allahabad, Varanasi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Kolkata, etc. run regularly to Mahoba.
Harpalpur is another nearby major rail head, which is connected to most of the railhead in India. It is nearly 90 km away from Khajuraho. Pre-paid taxis cost nearly Rs 1,200 from Mahoba and Rs 2,000 from Harpalpur.
One can also opt for Satna Railway Station to travel Khajuraho at a distance of 130 Km.
By Road – Khajuraho is well connected to most neighbouring cities by road. Private and public buses ply regularly from Indore, Agra, Ahllahbad, Jhansi, Gwalior, Satna, Jhansi, Katni, Bandhavgarh, Chattarpur, Orchha, Mahoba, Bhopal, Jabalpur, etc. However, considering the relatively poor condition of the road, the journey at times seems grueling.
What to stay at Khajuraho?
Khajuraho has numerous luxurious as well as budget staying options to suit any pocket. Here is a list of some Khajuraho hotels that are decent and comfortable both in terms of amenities and tariff.
Hotel Isabel Palace – Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Isabel Palace is just 1.50 Km from Main Western Groups of temples, 2 Km from bus stand, 3 Km. from the Airport and 7 Km From the Khajuraho Railway Station.
Built in 2011 with “White Marble”, Hotel Isabel Palace with beautiful garden having sunbathing beds offers comfortable accommodation to tourists on Khajuraho tour. All the rooms are tastefully decorated with modern amenities to make your stay a pleasant experience.
To know more about this Khajuraho hotel and how book accommodation here, just log on to: http://www.hotelisabelpalace.com/ or call the hotel at any of its following contact number: +91 – 9981295738, +91 – 9893163287, +91 – 9893163287, +91 – 7686- 274770.
Hotel Zen – Situated within 5 minutes walking distance from the main western group of temples, Hotel Zen is a perfect place to stay at Khajuraho. Hotel Zen with its luxurious, spacious and tastefully decorated rooms is in fact an oasis of calm and beauty amidst the splendour of the Khajuraho Temples. Hotel Zen features 30 AC and Non AC rooms with all modern amenities in pleasant, quiet and green surroundings. All the rooms are facing to the Zen garden and have balcony.
To know more about this Khajuraho hotel and how book accommodation here, just log on to: http://www.hotelzenkhajuraho.co.in/ or call the hotel at any of its following contact number: +91-7686-274228, +91-7686-272408, +91-9425305110, +91-9425143575.
Hotel Harmony – Situated at a walking distance from the Khajuraho temple complex, Hotel Harmony provides an environment that is serene, stimulating and comfortable. Hotel Harmony’s beautiful garden provides a perfect setting with green lawns and cozy corners with Spanish ambience for a relaxed visit. The natural beauty with Lotus Pond and greenery gives endless relax and peace. With 45 elegant and well-appointed a/c and non a/c rooms offers good value accommodation for every budget. All the rooms are well furnished, tastefully decorated with traditional frescoes and are having private balconies overlooking the garden.
To know more about this Khajuraho hotel and how book accommodation here, just log on to: http://www.hotelharmonyonline.com/ or call the hotel at any of the following contact number: +91-7686-274135, 274238, +91-9425143559, +91-9424343731.
Ramada Khajuraho – Conveniently located in the centre of the historic town of Khajuraho, this heritage Khajuraho hotel is hugely popular with international visitors. With 85 elegantly furnished and ethnically designed rooms and bathrooms Ramada is in fact a comfortable staying option during your Khajuraho tour. The hotel is artistically designed with lush greenery and jogging track that provides a perfect blend of nature and leisure. The outdoor swimming pool adds to the charm of the hotel.
To know more about this Khajuraho hotel and how book accommodation here, just log on to: http://ramadakhajuraho.com/ or call the hotel at any of the following contact number: +91-7686 272302/03, 272843/44/45.
Hotel Usha Bundela – Centrally located in the heart of the Temple town of Khajuraho on a sprawling complex of 4 acres, Hotel Bundela Complex provides economically priced rooms and conveniences to the guests. The hotel is ideal for the backpackers and budget travelers and also provides a secured, kids-friendly environment for family travelers. With 48 standard and 18 deluxe rooms Usha Bundela is a great place to unwind. The outdoor Swimming pool adjoining the lawns is a great way to exercise, relax or simply splash around.
To know more about this Khajuraho hotel and how book accommodation here, just log on to: http://www.ushalexushotels.com/khajuraho/ or call the hotel at any of the following contact number: 18001038890 (Toll Free), 07686 – 272386/87.
Other prominent Khajuraho hotels include Hotel Clarks Khajuraho (+91-7686 – 274038, 274056, 274421-25), Hotel Casa Di William (09893398536, +91- 7686274244), Hotel Marble Palace (+91 7686 274353, +91 9425342160), Hotel Surya Khajuraho (+91 -7686 – 274145, 274143,274144, +91 9425146203, +91 9893636315, +91 9589134134, +91 9425143721) and several others.
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