Day 20 - Timeless temples of Khajuraho

A security guard may not be much of a tour guide, but that doesn't take anything away from the awe-inspiring temples of Khajuraho

 

View gallery

.

The Kandariya-Mahadev Temple at Khajuraho, glowing in the morning light.

At the crack of dawn, I crossed the road from my small hotel and entered the Western Group of temples at Khajuraho. The three big temples in view were glowing in the early morning light. I wandered around and was instantly mesmerized by the shape of the temples and their highly geometric shapes. It was so impressive to think that they were built a thousand years ago and still look so well-defined in all their details. Some of the statues have been damaged over time, but most are intact.

View gallery

.

The exquisitely carved figurines in sandstone that adorn the outside and inside of the temples at Khajuraho.


The temples are famous for their erotic depictions but more than that, the stone craftsmanship is amazing. I spent some time just staring at the details that have been carved to capture mood and smiles and pleasure. The security guard became my guide and told me that the sexual imagery has many reasons. One is that the kings who commissioned these temples wanted to please Indra, the god of lightning. Another reason is that kama (pleasure) is one of the purusharthas, or goals of life in Hinduism that include dharma (righteousness), artha (duty) and moksha (liberation). A more practical reason might be that fertility rates were decreasing across the region and the king wanted to encourage his populace to get the hint and procreate ;)  

View gallery

.

The erotic depictions have many meanings, one is that you leave those desires outside before seeking moksha.

 

View gallery

.

The garbhagriha (inner sanctum) of the Lakshmana Temple.

PREVIOUS:  Day 19 - Bhopal to Khajuraho                                

Watch the video - Inside a Khajuraho temple:

 

TRAVEL NOTES

A little over two hours from Khajuraho in Tikamgarh district is Orchha, an ancient city on the banks of the Betwa River. Famous for its beautiful temples, palaces and cenotaphs built by the Bundela rulers.

View the slideshow: Orchha - India's medieval heart in Bundelkhand
View Comments