Temples of Khajuraho|
Khajuraho Temples have created a niche for itself as one of the highlights of Madhya Pradesh Tourism due to its uniqueness. Khajuraho temples are the living images of the glorious cultural heritage of India. These temples have the most unique images and sculptures engraved on them which apparently depict erotic and sensuous themes, but were actually intended to convey the spiritual aspects of the passions of human beings, according to one of the many theories that have been put forward by experts on these temples. These temples are more like India's own gift to the outside world.
The architecture of these temples also differs from its other counterparts in the major temple cities of India. Generally the temples of Khajuraho are built several meters off the ground, on high platforms. Mostly granite and sandstone have been used for the construction of these temples. Every temple has an entrance hall, also known as 'mandapa' and a sanctum sanctorum, which is also known as 'garbha griha'. The pyramidal roofs of the porch and hall of the temple have several horizontal layers.
The Khajuraho temples are mainly divided into three categories, the Western group, the Eastern group and the Southern group. The main temples of the Western group are the Kandariya Mahadeo, Chausanth Yogini, Chitragupta Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Lakshmana Temple and Matangeshwara Temple. The largest among these is the Kandhariya Mahadeo temple, followed by the Chausanth Yogini temple. The Eastern group of temples comprises the Ghantai Temple, Parsvanatha Temple and Adinatha Temple. Paraswanath Temple is the largest Jain temple of the Eastern group and is known for its intricate stone carvings. Duladeo temple and Chaturbhuja temple are the two main temples in the Southern group of Khajuraho temples.
Initially the number of temples was 85 but most of them were unable to live up to the ravages of time, and the number of temples is now reduced to 22. The construction of these temples began during the period of the Chandela dynasty. Several legends are associated with the construction of these temples. It is believed the creators of Khajuraho are direct descendants of Moon. The legend describes how Hemvati, a very attractive young daughter of a Brahmin priest was seduced by the moon god when she was bathing. A male child named Chandravarman was the result of this union. Unable to tolerate the humiliation of becoming an unwed mother, she went to the forest and raised her up her son, showering motherly affections on him but also disciplining him at the same time. The child grew up to become the founder of the Chandela dynasty. In his dream he had a vision of his mother, pleading him to construct temples depicting human passions and by doing so, bring to surface the ultimate emptiness of human desire.
According to another theory, the erotic images of Khajuraho have another significance. Generally in those days the boys lived in hermitage, practicing the Hindu norm of 'Brahmacharya' till they attained manhood. The sole way they could prepare themselves for the role of a 'householder' was by studying these sculptures and the passions they depicted.
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