Graceful Khajuraho

01 Oct 2022

  • The common date palm - khajura - has given Khajuraho its name
  • The famous erotic sculptures of khajuraho account for only 10% of all sculptures
  • The Khajuraho temples belong to the hindu as well as the jain religion
  • Of the original 85 temples, only 20 have survived destruction and ravages of time
  • Khajuraho temples were rediscovered in the 1850s after being neglected for centuries

Graceful Khajuraho

Khajuraho is an ancient city known for its magnificent temples and intricate sculptures. The city is located in the Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh and holds spellbinding historical tales and architectural grandeurs.. As per the historical archives, the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples during the 12th century spread over 20 square kilometres. Among these, only 25 temples have survived the course of time, spread over six square kilometres. 

The History of Khajuraho Group of Temples

Built in the mediaeval century by the Chandela Dynasty, the UNESCO site of 'Khajuraho Group of Monuments' is famous for its Nagara-Style architecture and graceful sculptures of nayikas (Hindu Mythological female protagonists) and deities. The splendour of the intricate statues is one of the reasons that makes it a popular site to visit among tourists. Built between 950-1050 AD by the Chandela Dynasty, these temples represent various forms of meditation, spiritual teachings and relationships through stimulating art. The temples are famous for their craftsmanship that consist of splendid demonstrations of fine sculptures and exceptional architectural skill, making them one of the most stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Places to visit in Khajuraho

Beautiful, detailed and expressive, the sculptures of the Khajuraho temples will leave you in awe and wonder. These temples are divided into three groups: Eastern, Western and Southern. 

The Western group of temples

The Western group is very close to the archaeological museum and it includes the temples of Lakshmana, Matangeshwara, Varaha, Kandariya Mahadev, Chitragupta, Parvati, Vishwanatha and Nandi. This group of temples has approximately 870 marvellous sculptures engraved on the interior and exterior walls. Just after entering the Western group, the plaque on the right gives a brief introduction to the history of the Khajuraho. The main attraction of this place is a Shivling and the beautiful floral carving in the Sanctum of the temple. The three outer sections of the walls depict the sculptures of gods, goddesses and Hindu mythological creatures.

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple: Built between 1025 to 1050, the temple rises in successive towers like a range of hills. The lintel of the temple has a four- armed Shiva lined by Lord Brahma, the creator and Lord Vishnu, the preserver. 

Jagdambi Temple: Jagdambi is another name for Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. On a platform inside the sanctum of the temple, a sculpture of Lord Vishnu is beautifully carved. There are also a few sculptures of sura-sundaris (celestial beauty) which are particularly appealing.

Chitragupta Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun. There is also a sculpture of eleven-headed and eight-armed Lord Vishnu in the south of the temple. The sculptures of the divine couple deities Brahma-Brahmani, Shiva- Parvati, Bhairava-Bhairavi, and Lakshmi-Narayana have special artistic features.

ASI Museum: This museum has some amazing sculptures and artefacts which are well displayed with their names and prospective age. An 11th - 12th-century statue of Sambhava Nath is placed in the Jain gallery which is situated on the left of the museum. A sculpture of Varaha with six heads and a dancing Ganesh are the exquisite statues to see in the museum. There are many other temples in the Western Group, which have similar architectural significance.

The Eastern Group of Temples

Vamana Temple: Vamana Temple is dedicated to the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is built between 1050-75. This temple has few erotic carvings and a four-armed standing Lord Vishnu on its lintel.  

Javari Temple: Built between 1075 and 1100, Javari Temple stands on a high plinth and has a raised Shikhara. Its delicately carved Makara Torana arch is a fine example of the stone carving skills of the people of that era.

Parsvanatha Temple: This temple is one among the couple of old temples that were constructed using honey-coloured sandstone. This Jain temple was built between 950-970 but also holds images of deities of the Vaishnava faith, Lord Vishnu.

Adinatha Temple, Santinatha Temple, Ghantai Temple and  Brahma Temple are a few other temples in this group with significant architectural and historical features.

The Southern Group of Temples

Duladeo Temple: The temple is also known as Kunwar Math, and the term Dula is associated with the notion of the Bridegroom's temple. The flying celestials on the uppermost Shikhara tower are the most impressive features of this temple. An amazing artistic skill can be observed in the carved jewellery of female figures of the temple. It is considered that the temple was built between 1100-1150

Chaturbhuja Temple: This temple is the only temple in Khajuraho that does not have a single erotic sculpture. At the entrance of the temple, the sculpture of Ganga and Jamuna is beautifully carved. There is also a marvellous sculpture of Lord Vishnu that seems as if the god is about to step out and bless his devotees.

Things to do in and around Khajuraho

Panna National Park: Located at a distance of 96 kilometres from Khajuraho, Panna National Park  is located in the Vindhya Ranges and spans the northern districts of Panna and Chhatarpur. The National park is home to a wide range of species  of birds. Wild cats, tigers, deer and antelopes are some of the prominent wild animals that can be found in the park. You can go to the jungle to experience a thrilling adventure. The safari jeep drives through beautiful canyons and dense teak trees. The variety of flora and fauna is quite fascinating to observe. If you are lucky, you can even witness animals like panthers, spotted deer, Indian Gazelle, or blackbucks.

Raneh Fall: Raneh waterfall is a beautiful tourist attraction situated 21 kilometres from the Khajuraho bus stop. You can see the captivating waterfalls that create a 30-foot-deep canyon. You can often see a rainbow hovering over the falls owing to the beaming sun.

Pandav Fall: It is one of the well-known tourist attractions close to Khajuraho. Pandav Fall is situated on the route that runs through Khajuraho and Panna, 34 kilometres from the Khajuraho bus stop. The Panna National Park and the falls are quite nearby and these two places are often covered on the same day. Panna Waterfall has a maximum height of 30 metres, and it is derived from the river Ken. According to the legends, the Caves which we have heard about in Mahabharata, are situated at the base of these waterfalls. This place is considered as an excellent picnic spot for people residing nearby locations.

Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum: The Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, also referred to as the Dhubela museum is 62 kilometres away from the Khajuraho group of temples. The family members of Maharaja Chhatrasal constructed this museum in 1955 at the bank of Dhubela lake.

Jain Museum: The Jain Museum, formerly known as Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain Kala Sangrahalaya, is situated at a distance of one kilometre from the Khajuraho bus station. In the garden of its campus, you can witness the exquisite sculptures of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The interior of this museum provides information about the lives of the aforementioned Tirthankars, and it also houses many artefacts related to Jain tradition and culture.

Khajuraho Dance Festival: Plan a trip to Khajuraho around February when you can also attend the Khajuraho Dance Festival. This grand cultural extravaganza is a stunning blend of art and architecture. One gets to experience a wonderful symphony of mesmerising classical dance performances being performed by renowned artists coming from every nook and corner of India.

How to reach Khajuraho?

By Train: Khajuraho railway station is five km away from the main town and is linked to a few cities of Madhya Pradesh. Mahoba is the closest major railhead from Khajuraho which is around 78 km away. Trains from Mathura, Varanasi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Allahabad, Jabalpur, Gwalior, etc. run regularly from Mahoba.

By Air: Khajuraho has its own domestic airport at a distance of two km from the temple sites. It has flights connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Varanasi etc. You can hire local cabs to reach the nearest hotel or the temple.

By Road: With a decent transport network, roads to Khajuraho are well linked to all the major National and State Highways. From Khajuraho, many public and private buses travel to nearby cities like Jhansi. Standard buses, non AC and AC buses run regularly. Also, you have the option to hire private cabs to reach your destination.

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Street Souvenir at Khajurao

Apart from exploring the architectural beauty of Khajuraho, this site is also famous for unique souvenir shopping.

Rajas' Cafe

Raja Cafe, a place to be while in Khajuraho, provides luscious cuisines from all across the globe.

Mrigynaynee Emporium

Mrigynaynee Emporium is the best place to buy a wide variety of state originated handlooms such as Chanderi, Maheshwari and hand textiles.

Best Places to visit

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ACCOMMODATIONS

MPT

MPT Payal, Khajuraho

Price: INR - 2490 Phone: (07686) 274064

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MPT

MPT Jhankar, Khajuraho

Price: INR 2290 Phone: 07686-274063

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Best Season To Visit

Best Season To Visit

The best time to visit Khajurao is from September to February.