khajuraho the Temple of Love : Group of Monuments

February 1, 2018 Author: virendra
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Tourism is emerging as a potent factor in the developing economies, especially in traditional societies. The attraction of tourists, both from within a country and outside to visit different parts of the country like India is mainly because leisure, recreation sports, health and historical-cum-religious encounters since the topographic distribution of India varies from sea-coasts to snow clad Himalayas and plains rich in cultural heritage. Tourism is a worldwide phenomenon, impacting significantly on societies around the globe in various ways. Khajuraho after Taj Mahal, is the most frequently visited monument in India. Khajuraho is a unique example of Indo-Aryan architecture and World Heritage Site. It is well known all over the world for its temple architecture and exquisite sculpture.

About Khajuraho




Khajuraho is well known all over the world for its temple architecture and exquisite sculpture. The temples were built between the 9th and 11th centuries by the warrior kings of Chandela dynasty. It is believed that 85 temples were built out of which 25 still remain in varying degree of preservation. Khajuraho is a small village situated along a lake known as the Khajuraho Sagar. It is extended over an area of about 21square kilometres. The climate is tropical and the land which is upland appears flat and is segmented into basins; in ancient times rain water was gathered in tanks and bunds. The village with a population of about 5376, most of which lives in mud-houses with clay tile roofs. The terrain, dotted with Mahua trees whose flowers are used to brew the local liquor, permits intermittent cultivation. Though the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho are the main attraction to a common visitors to the place and responsible for giving Khajuraho widest publicity and popularity among the tourists. These erotic figures comprise only a part of the entire range of the magnificent sculpture which is full of ‘sublime and sensuality’. The environment in Khajuraho is very relaxed and the area is considered as ‘tension-free’ for the domestic as well as for the international tourists. The erotic figures carved in the walls of the Khajuraho temples; on the other hand they provoke a good deal of controversy. The question as to why absence and erotic figure should be there in a place meant for worship and religious congregation oscillates each and every visitor’s mind or even one who hears about Khajuraho temples



In fact the splash of sexual acts and erotic figures on the walls for the Khajuraho temples is considerably responsible for the great interest in Khajuraho temples. Khajuraho temples are the juxtaposition of religion and sex. The origin of the absence figure on the walls of the temples of medieval India is also traced to the Tantric form of Buddhism. The extant temples of Khajuraho are in three groups: Western, Eastern and Southern. The magnificent temples of the Western Group were accorded the World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1986.

Khajuraho Temple

Figure 1: Khajuraho Temple

Architectural Features

  • The stone used throughout is either granite or sandstone in shades of buff, pink and pale yellow
  • Each temple is built on high platforms several meters above the ground
  • The roofs are a series of graded peaks that look like a mountain range
  • The exterior walls of the temples are adorned with sculptures
  • It is estimated that it would have taken hundreds of highly skilled laborers to build these structures in the given time.

Khajuraho Sculptures



  • The walls of the temples are almost filled with sculptures
  • Themes and subjects include
  • Animals – elephants, horses etc.
  • Cult Icons – with halo and several attendees
  • Geometric and floral designs
  • Apsaras or surasundaris – the celestial women are shown in back and front views
  • The king at court, marching armies, royal hunt, domestic scenes
  • Erotic Sculptures

Erotic Sculptures

  • The erotic sculptures make up less than 10 percent of the carved figures
  • There are no erotic sculptures inside the temples
  • Celestial maidens in sensuous positions
  • Nudity is depicted in both men and women
  • Couples embracing in erotic sexual positions
  • Group Sex is depicted: twosomes, threesomes, foursomes on to orgies with more than ten participants
  • Bestiality is portrayed occasionally

Erotic Sculptures

Figure 2: Erotic Sculptures

How to reach Khajuraho

By Air

Khajuraho has its own domestic airport, which is well-connected to most of the Indian cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Allahabad and Bhopal. Some of the popular carriers that have regular flights to Khajuraho are Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Air India and JetKonnect. Since Khajuraho is a very small town, once you reach the airport, you can hire a cab or a taxi to your hotel.

By Bus

Khajuraho is well connected with a good bus network. Many private and state-owned buses run from Khajuraho to neighbouring cities like Jhansi. You can choose from a regular bus, non-air-conditioned bus, and air-conditioned, semi-deluxe and deluxe buses. The bus fare would depend on the type of bus and the number of kilometres covered.

By Train

Khajuraho railway station is connected to a few towns only including New Delhi. You can take Khajuraho-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express, which has daily connectivity to Khajuraho. Hire a cab or an auto from outside the railway station. The second nearest railhead, which is well-connected with some of the Indian cities is the Mahoba Junction, which is approximately 75 kilometres away from Khajuraho. Some of the regular trains are Bundelkhand Express, Mahakaushal Express and Udiapur Khajuraho Express. Outside the Mahoba Junction, you can hire a cab or a taxi which will drive you till Khajuraho.

Road/Self Drive

Most of the cities in Madhya Pradesh are well-connected with Khajuraho owing to a good road network. The main highway is National Highway Number 75, which falls en route to the town. You can drive in your own vehicle as the roads are quite smooth in Madhya Pradesh.

References

[1] A.K. Kapoor, “Environment, Tourism and Development: The Case of Khajuraho, India”, International Conference on Chemical, Environmental and Biological Sciences (ICCEBS’2011).

[2] Ankit Awasthi, available online at: http://home.iitk.ac.in/~aawasthi/art402/Khajuraho_Temples_Y8084.pdf

[3] “Khajuraho and around”, available online at: https://incredibleindia.org/lang/images/docs/e-brochures-pdf/weekend_getaways/64-81-khajuraho-and-around.pdf

[4] “How to Reach Khajuraho”, available online at: https://www.makemytrip.com/travel-guide/khajuraho/how-to-reach.html

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