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You are here : India Taj Mahal Tours > Tourist Places >> Khajuraho Temple Guide
Khajuraho Temple Guide
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Khajuraho, derived from the word 'khajur' meaning date palm,was a quiet unknown town till a discovery by chance made it popular tourist destination . Forgotten and unvisited untill the mid 1960's, the place is now after Taj. Khajuraho is located in the provincial state of Madhya Pradesh India. It has the largest group of medieval temples; each studded with countless sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy. The construction of these Temples may look thousand-year old , in terms of architecture but still , they form the high peak of the north Indian the uniqe 'nagara style'. The temples of Khajuraho are indeed, celebrations of the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments of beauty, love, and creative arts. The set of temples at khajuraho celebrating Hindu religious thoughts in its bewildering variety of scope stands distinguished from the rest of Hindu Temples. The temples at khajuraho dedicated to physical love and pleasure are a testimony to his philosophy.

India Taj Mahal ToursThe hub of tourist activity are the temples built by the Chandela Rajputs, who can be traced as descendants of the moon god. The head of the clan is believed to have been a valiant warrior who fought lions bare-handed (hence the emblem, frequently seen at the temples, of a warrior grappling with a lion); he is said to have ordered the building of the temples as a means of salvation for his mother, Hemvati, who was ravished by the Moon god. The spate of temple- building which began about the middle of the 9th century and continued until the early 12th century must have used the skills of thousands of sculptors, architects and masons; unfortunately, there is almost no record of this activity in the annals of Indian history. By the time the last temple was completed the Chandela dynasty had sunk into oblivion. Khajuraho was the Chandela capital for only a brief period; they ruled for the most part from Kalinjar and other parts of the Bundelkhand region, with Khajuraho remaining their religious center.

The most important aspect of the temples is the abundance of sculptures that decorate the facades and interiors of the shrines. In this profusion of images attention has understandably been paid to divinities, less Understandably to celestial beauties and the female form in general and controversially, to graphic sexual representations. Over the years a number of explanations have been forthcoming for the presence of erotic sculptures at what was essentially a religious centre; no single theory, however, has been able to justify their profuse expression. Were these temple centres of tantrik mysticism, which cites sex as an important component of human development towards the Absolute or were they merely a reactionary swing away from the austerities preached by the Buddha? Perhaps the answer can be found as excavations in the region continue, but this much is certain: Buddhism did at one time have a strong presence here, just as tantric rituals enjoyed a wide adulation during the medieval period.

India Taj Mahal ToursAs Chandela power diminished, the importance of their sometime-capital also waned. Its heavily forested terrain could not provide much revenue, and served to deter invading Muslim armies (for whom the temples were of little interest, while the sculptures could only have appeared offensivethey certainly did to T. S. Burt, the British engineer who is credited with their 'discovery' in the mid-19th century). The temples were never, so to say, lost', for villagers and tribal inhabitants of the region were familiar with them; they continued to use one temple in particular Matangeshwar Mahadev for worship, especially on the occasion of Shivratri. While early travelers such as Alberuni and lbn Batuta had reported the presence of the temples, they were not dwelt upon in depth, possibly because of there being abandoned and overgrown by bushes and weeds. Burt announced their presence to the world, and the first major data on them was collected by General Alexander Cunningham in his Survey of India reports. temples, but their inaccessibility made their study and regular travel to the site impossible. Over the years, roads were laid and the minimal facilities provided; then, a couple of decades ago, the first luxury hotel project revived interest in the region, and the resurrection of Khajuraho began.

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1968 in order to preserve its splendour for posterity , Khajuraho is a prominent , must see destination. The temples of Khajuraho are India's unique gift to the world, representing an ode to life and love and joy and are perfect in execution and sublime in expression . Life in every form and mood , has been captured in stone , testifying not only to the crafts man's artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.

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