Dive into History and Mystery at Matangeshwar Temple, Khajuraho


Blog :: Spiritual

Matangeshwar Temple, Khajuraho

Nestled in the historic town of Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, the Matangeshwar Temple stands as a testament to India's rich spiritual and cultural heritage. This ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is not just a site of religious significance but also an architectural marvel. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an art lover, or a spiritual seeker, a visit to Matangeshwar Temple promises a captivating experience.

Mangeshkar Temple History

The Matangeshwar Temple is one of the oldest temples in Khajuraho, dating back to the 10th century during the reign of the Chandela dynasty. This period marks the early phase of temple architecture in Khajuraho, with the Matangeshwar Temple being a prime example. Unlike many of the other temples in the region that are famed for their ornate sculptures, the Matangeshwar Temple holds a special place, as it is still actively used for worship.

Art and Architecture of Matangeshwar Temple

The architectural brilliance of the Matangeshwar Temple is a sight to behold. Situated close on the north bank of the Shiva-Sagar tank, immediately to the south of the Lakshmana Temple, it stands as a testament to the early architectural style that would later define the Khajuraho group of monuments.

The temple is a plain, square structure, similar in plan and design to the Brahma Temple, but with notable differences that mark the evolution of the architectural style in Khajuraho. Inside, the temple houses a massive Shivalingam and Yonipitham, with the Shivalingam being particularly notable for its well-polished surface. On the body of the lingam are two Persian and several Nagari epigraphs, adding a layer of historical and linguistic interest to the site. Devotees perform Pradakshina (circumambulation) by walking around the Yonipitham, following ancient traditions.

The temple's ceiling is an architectural marvel, formed of concentric rings overlapping each other, resting on an octagonal base. This design is supported by four pairs of pillars, placed one in each of the four openings. Interestingly, the four pillars in the corners were not part of the original design but were added later to support cracked lintels of the ceiling, indicating that the temple was preserved by later dynasties.

From its design and development, it is evident that the Matangeshwar Temple is one of the earliest temples in Khajuraho, assignable to around the 10th century. Its preservation and continued use highlight its enduring significance in the spiritual and cultural landscape of Khajuraho.

The Mystery of Matangeshwar Temple

The Matangeshwar Temple is enveloped in a captivating mystery associated with its Shivalingam. According to local legends and myths, the Shivling at Matangeshwar Shiva Temple in Khajuraho is believed to be a living Shivling that grows year after year. This intriguing phenomenon is said to occur inch by inch annually.

The temple priests measure the Shivling every Kartik Purnima, documenting its remarkable growth. This bi-directional expansion of the Shivling is a source of wonder and devotion for many. It is said that Lord Shiva, pleased with Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers, gifted him a precious and magical stone called Markand Mani. Yudhishthira later entrusted this valuable stone to a saint named Matanga Rishi, who then handed it over to King Harshavardhan for safekeeping. Fearing for its safety, Harshavardhan decided to bury the Markand Mani underground.

Miraculously, a Shivling formed around the buried Markand Mani. Due to the mystical powers of this stone, the Shivling began to grow year after year. The legend further suggests that the top of the Shivling is reaching towards the heavens, while its base is extending towards Patal Lok. It is believed that once the base of the Shivling reaches Patal Lok, Kali Yuga will come to an end.

This legend, while captivating, is not supported by historical evidence or scientific studies. However, the temple's mystery continues to inspire awe and devotion among its visitors.

Things to Do

Visiting Matangeshwar Temple during Shivaratri, typically celebrated in February or March, is an experience like no other. During this time, the temple hosts a grand three-day ceremony to celebrate the marriage of Lord Shiva. The event attracts many devotees from all over the country, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with prayers, rituals, and festivities.

Additionally, make sure to attend the Khajuraho Dance Festival, a cultural extravaganza that showcases classical Indian dance forms. In 2025, the 51st edition of the Khajuraho Dance Festival will take place, bringing together talented classical dancers from across the nation. Set against the backdrop of the beautifully illuminated Western group of temples in Khajuraho, this festival offers an enchanting experience of art and heritage.

Nearby Attractions

The Western Group of Temples

The Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple And Lakshmana Temple. These temples are renowned for their detailed sculptures and exquisite architecture, offering a glimpse into ancient India's artistic achievements.

To know more, read https://www.mptourism.com/destination-khajuraho.php 

Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum

This museum in Khajuraho showcases the rich cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh's tribal communities. It features tribal houses, traditional costumes, jewellery, masks, musical instruments, and paintings, providing a deep insight into tribal life and traditions.

To know more, read https://www.mptourism.com/adivart-tribal-and-folk-art-museum-khajuraho.html 

Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum

Located in Dhubela, around 62 km from Khajuraho, this museum is set in a palace built by Maharaja Chhatrasal. It houses artefacts from the mediaeval period, including weapons, manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures of yoginis from Antra Shahdol, offering a glimpse into the region's history and culture.

Panna National Park

A short drive from Khajuraho, just 25 km, Panna National Park is a wildlife sanctuary known for its tigers, leopards, deer, and bird species. Visitors can enjoy jungle safaris, boat rides, bird watching, and nature walks in this tranquil setting.

Raneh Falls

Raneh Falls, about 20 kilometres from Khajuraho, features stunning cascades formed by the Ken River over volcanic rock formations. The falls are particularly impressive during the monsoon season, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers.

Pandav Falls

Located in the Panna district, Pandav Falls is a picturesque waterfall named after the Pandavas from the Mahabharata. Surrounded by lush greenery, the falls offer a serene spot for nature walks and picnics.

Timing of Matangeshwar Temple

The Matangeshwar Temple is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset. It is advisable to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the midday heat and experience the temple in a more serene and peaceful setting.

How to Reach

Khajuraho is well-connected by air, rail, and road. The Khajuraho Airport has regular flights from major cities like Delhi and Varanasi. The Khajuraho Railway Station connects the town with several important cities. Buses and taxis are readily available for road travel, making it easy to reach the temple from various parts of the region.