Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho (2024): A Majestic Marvel


Blog :: Spiritual

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho

Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a true gem of Indian cultural heritage, located in the charming town of Khajuraho. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a group of magnificent temples, with the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple standing tall as a testament to ancient India's artistic glory. Join us as we explore the captivating history, awe-inspiring architecture, and intricate sculptures that make this temple a must-visit destination.

Historical Rise and Fall

The temples of Khajuraho thrived during their heyday, portraying the zenith of the Chandella dynasty's power. These architectural marvels were in use until the 13th century when they faced turbulent times with the invasion of Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din-aibak, leading to the decline of the Chandella reign. Slowly abandoned, the temples became lost in time.

Over the years, the site was largely forgotten and covered by dense vegetation until it was rediscovered in the mid-19th century. In 1838, T.S. Burt, a British army officer, came across the group of temples and informed Alexander Cunningham, who was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India at that time, about the remarkable discovery.

Why are the Khajuraho temples famous?

According to local mythology, the Khajuraho temples were believed to have been built by the son of the Moon God. The legend narrates how he was enchanted by the beauty of a maiden bathing in a stream, inspiring him to create these stunning temples as a tribute to her divine allure. Such tales of romance and devotion add a mythical charm to the temples' aura.

A giant among these temples, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is said to be built between 1025 and 1050 CE. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple represents the golden era of Indian Temple Architecture. Since 1986, the Khajuraho temples, including Kandariya Mahadeva, have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Architectural Features of Kandariya Mahadeva

The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple stands 117 feet above the ground and covers an area of 6500 square feet. Positioned on a raised platform called "Adhisthana," the temple faces east. As you climb the steep steps to reach the platform, you'll be greeted by an assembly of towers and porches that culminate in a spire called "shikhara." 

Inside the temple, there is a sequence of interconnected chambers. You enter through a rectangular entrance hall called "Ardhamandapa" and ascend steps to reach the central pillared hall known as the "Mandapa." From there, you proceed to the "garbhagriha," the central shrine that houses a divine marble Shivalinga. Above the garbhagriha, you'll find the main tower and spire. The temple follows a five-part design layout and showcases intricate craftsmanship and high-relief carvings. The stone carvings depict Hindu iconography and symbolise essential pursuits of life, such as love, wealth, duty, and liberation. 

The exterior structure is built on a massive plinth resembling Mount Kailash, and 84 small spires surround the main tower. The temple is constructed using sandstone and massive megaliths that form columns and architraves, some weighing around 20 tons. 

The walls are adorned with sculptures of gods, goddesses, and other divine beings, including Agni, the God of fire, and the Saptamatrikas.

Visiting the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a spiritual and sensory journey. 

The combination of architectural brilliance, intricate sculptures, and a divine ambience transports visitors to a realm of devotion and tranquillity. As you explore the inner sanctum, you can't help but marvel at the skill and artistry of the ancient craftsmen who created this masterpiece of human endeavour and spiritual devotion.


The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho, India, is a living testament to the rich cultural heritage of the country. Its magnificent architecture, intricate sculptures, and spiritual significance continue to captivate visitors from around the world. As we delve into its enchanting history and marvel at its artistic grandeur, we realise that this temple is not just a monument; it is a living embodiment of ancient India's artistic and spiritual pursuits.

If you plan to visit the temple, remember that it is open from sunrise to sunset. While planning a trip during February, you can enjoy pleasant weather and be a part of the magnificent Khajuraho Dance Festival, celebrated annually from the last week of February till March. On your visit, immerse yourself in the divine ambience, offer prayers, and appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty that the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple has to offer.