Khajuraho is a historic city famous for its magnificent temples (Mandirs) and intricate sculptures. The city is located in the district of Chattarpur of Madhya Pradesh and has enthralling historical tales and architectural grandeur.
According to historical records, the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples spread across 20 square kilometers during the 12th century.
The UNESCO site of The Khajuraho Group of Monuments, built in the medieval century by the Chandela Dynasty, is famous for its Nagara-Style architecture and graceful sculptures of Nayikas (Hindu Mythological female protagonists) and deities.
The beauty of the intricate statues in the temple complex is one of the reasons for their popularity.
In this article, you will get to know about the following temples in Khajuraho,
- Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
- Adinatha Temple
- Vamana Temple
- Brahma Temple
- Lakshmana Temple
- Vishvanath Temple
- Chitragupta Temple
- Devi Jagadamba Temple
- Parsvanath Temple
- Dulhadev Temple
Let’s see each of these in detail.
List of famous temples you can visit in Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh)
1. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The Kandariya Mahadeva temple, built between 1025 and 1050 AD, exudes grandeur and finesse in its architecture. This temple is one of the beautiful tourist destinations in Khajuraho, with beautiful frescos of women in various postures adorning the walls.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and features a shiva lingam in the Garba Griha. The Hindu temples are built along axes that run from the heart of the main chamber up through the Main Tower (Shikhara) line and outward in the cardinal directions.
You will notice an artistically engraved shrine with over 800 images of women, most of which are over 3 feet tall. The artistic representation on the walls of this temple, made of a typical sandstone structure, is bound to give a new perspective on India’s cultural heritage.
2. Adinatha Temple
Adinatha Temple is a beautiful Jain temple that adheres to the ancient Indian religion of Jainism and is part of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh.
It was built sometime around the 11th century. The Archaeological Survey of India has designated it a Monument of National Importance.
This ancient shrine is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar Adinath, the founder of Jainism.
The temple is without an ambulatory, with only the sanctum and vestibule surviving with their roofs. The top row of the outer wall of the Adinatha temple depicts a flying Vidyadhara, similar to the nearby Vamana Temple. In contrast, the curvilinear tower of the Adinatha temple suggests that the temple was built later than the Vamana Temple.
It appears to be carved out of a single piece of limestone, and the tallest point of the temple is approximately 30 meters (98 feet) high, surrounded by lush green trees. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most visited places in Central India.
3. Vamana Temple
Vamana Temple is a part of the Eastern Group of Temples in Khajuraho and is one of the must-see attractions.
The fascinating mandir is dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, Vamana. This lovely shrine, built between 1050 and 75 AD, is a famous relic of the Chandela dynasty. It boasts the magnificent architecture of Khajuraho that symbolizes fine craftsmanship.
Getting inside the temple, you will observe a porch, a maha-mandapa, a vestibule, and a sanctum. The Sikhara is adorned with fretwork of chaitya arches and is also notable for a unique roof known as Samvarana that covers the maha-mandapa.
The sanctum is Niradhara and houses an image of four-armed Vamana flanked on the left by Chakrapurusha and on the right by Sankhapurusha. The sanctum’s doorway is adorned with seven bands of dancing Ganas, Mithunas, and lotus petals.
The magnificent outer walls of the mandir are adorned with intricate sculptures of apsaras and celestial nymphs. Other carvings on display depict various aspects of the life of musicians, women in front of a mirror, and children.
4. Brahma Temple
Brahma Temple is situated on the banks of Khajur Lake, also known as Khajuraho Sagar. The four-faced linga in the sanctum represents the Creator of the World, Lord Brahma.
This shrine is now a Brahma shrine, but it contains a Shiva linga in the sanctum, and the lintel above the sanctum door indicates that it was once dedicated to Vishu. A pyramid-shaped Sikhara or apex adds to the sanctum’s magnificent architecture.
The temple, built of sandstone and granite, is stunning and awe-inspiring. It’s a sturdy structure with a square plan that only has a sanctum and a porch.
The stone lattice windows protrude slightly from three walls, evoking the dramatic balconies of the massive temples of the Western Group. If you notice carefully, the remaining lateral projections of two sides have plain latticed windows.
The shrine shares a similar plan, design, ornaments, and building materials with the Lalguan-Mahadeva temple.
5. Lakshmana Temple
Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple represents the pinnacle in North Indian temple architecture. All three temples were constructed between the early and mid-tenth centuries and has an elaborate plan resembling a double cross.
The relief on the doorway depicts gods and demons churning the ocean to retrieve the pitcher of miraculous nectar (Amrit Kalas). The sanctum’s wall is carved with scenes from Krishna’s life (one of Vishnu’s incarnations).
There is also an icon of Vishnu as Vaikuntha, the supreme god, with two pairs of arms and three heads, surrounded by images of his ten incarnations in the sanctum.
Friezes along the sides of the platform beneath the temple depict social life, including battle scenes, festivals, and sports.
6. Vishvanath Temple
The Vishvanath Temple is located due east of the Chitragupta and Devi Jagdamba temples. It can be reached via two staircases, the northern flanked by a pair of lions and the southern by a couple of elephants.
This was probably built before the Kandariya, but two original shrines still stand here. An imposing image of Brahma, and his consort, Saraswati, can be found on the outer wall of the corridor surrounding the cells.
Every wall features a woman engaged in various occupations from the 10th century, such as writing a letter, holding her baby, studying her reflection in a mirror, or playing music.
A simple shrine, the Nandi Temple, faces the main temple, which houses the sacred bull Nandi.
Near Vishvanath, the small and heavily rebuilt Parvati Temple was originally dedicated to Vishnu. The current idol depicts the goddess Ganga standing on her crocodile mount.
7. Chitragupta Temple
The Chitragupta Temple is located slightly north of the Devi Jagdamba Temple and is almost similar. The temple faces east in honor of the presiding deity, Surya—the sun god, and its cell contains a 5-foot idol of Surya with the chariot and seven horses that carry him across the sky.
Surya, or Sun God, can also be seen above the doorway. The image of Vishnu with 11 heads is in the central niche south of the sanctum. His face is in the center, and the other heads represent his 10 (9-past and 1-future) incarnations.
Sculptural scenes depicting animal combat, royal processions, masons at work, and joyous dances depict the Chandelas’ amazing country life. It’s very charming to look at.
8. Devi Jagadamba Temple
The Devi Jagdamba Temple is a well-known Khajuraho shrine. The temple’s Garba Griha is dedicated to Devi Jagdamba, the goddess of the Universe. The walls are expertly carved with beautiful images.
This temple is thought to have been dedicated to Lord Vishnu first, then to Goddess Parvati, and finally to Goddess Kali. It is an excellent example of a three-part design that looks like a cross.
The design is reminiscent of the Chitragupta Temple. It stands on a sanctum with no space for walking. The ceilings are similar to those of the Kandariya Mahadev, and the three-headed, eight-armed Shiva idol is one of Khajuraho’s best.
Visitors to the temple are impressed by the intricate carvings on the walls. Every stone used in the carvings depicts a deep mythological story. It accurately represents art, various forms of meditation, spiritual teachings, and relationships.
9. Parsvanath Temple
The 10th-century temple was constructed as a shrine of the Adinatha and is now devoted to Parsvanatha. The Jain temple exhibits an excellent exterior of the Vaishnavaite theme.
It was built during the Chandela rule, between the years 950 to 970 CE. Engravings were found on the jamb of the temple’s left door that says about the funding and gifts of the gardens by a Pahila.
When you explore more about the engravings, you will find that the Pahila was Jinanatha’s devotee, and King Dhanga, the Chandela King, held him in great esteem.
The Parsvanath temple is a masterpiece of art. Amongst all the Jain temples in Khajuraho, it is the largest. The carvings and sculptures on the walls portray dancers, Surasundaris, singers, celestial beings, and flying couples.
When you look at the depictions, each one has a specific story of that era, and the history is rich. After entering the temple, the first thing you see is the Ardha Mandapa, then follows a Mandapa, a Maha Mandapa, an Antarala, and the garbhagriha.
Apart from all these, Jaina square is another iconic place you will witness. The beauty and vibe of this place are unmatchable.
10. Dulhadev Temple
The temple on Saptaratha goes back from 1000 to 1150 AD. Also known as Kunwar Math, it is solely dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The soft revealing characteristics of the Dulhadev temple make it distinct from all the others. The Mandir is Nirandhara and is the last work of the Chandelas.
If you see the temple, the main hall is octagonal and huge. The elegant carvings attract our attention to every detail, the charming celestial dancers, Vidyadharas, devas, and graceful women figurines.
An enchanting Shivalinga sits at the shrine blessing, every one. A lot of history is entwined with this mandir, and explore more you will have to visit and see for yourself.
These are some of the famous and iconic temples to visit in Khajuraho.
If you are a historical buff and love to explore the architectural beauty of ancient India, then you must visit Khajuraho. The temples include brilliant craftsmanship, magnificent demonstrations of fine sculptures, and exceptional architectural skill.
Rich heritage and architecture fill the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is also a paradise for nature lovers, as the lush greenery and atmosphere wrapping around the structures are enchanting and mystical.
Make a trip to all these sites, explore the shrines, and dig into the lost Indian Culture and traditions.
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