Khajuraho is an ancient temple known for its magnificent architecture and intricate sculptures. It was built in the medieval period by Chandela Dynasty rulers between AD 900 to AD 1130. It is presumed that every Chandela ruler built at least one temple in their lifetime.
This UNESCO site of ‘Khajuraho Group of monuments’ is famous for its Nagara Style of Architecture and erotic sculptures of men and women of the medieval period depicting their lifestyle. The intricate statues on the wall of Khajuraho Temple make it a more interesting and popular site among tourists to visit.
The sculptures represent various forms like meditation, spiritual teachings, relationships through stimulating art. Temple is famous for its splendid demonstration of fine sculptures and exceptional architectural skills. This also makes it the most stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Chandela rulers decided to keep politics away from religion and culture. So they made Mahoba their political capital and Khajuraho as their religious and cultural capital. Originally it was a collection of 85 temples until the 12th century. During the 13th century, Central India was seized by the Delhi Sultanate. They ruined some of the monuments and temples in Khajuraho. Now only 22 are left. It was the largest group of temples of Hindu and Jain in the world.
Few of the temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and rest to Hindu God’s trio of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (commonly known as Shiva), and Devi Jagdambi. There are many beliefs associated with the carvings on the walls- from stories to spiritual beliefs. The sculptures carved on the walls of temples illustrate different expressions of female and male principles, the Yin and the Yang. They are even taken as divine symbols of Shiva and Shakti. Because of these erotic sculptures, Khajuraho temples are also known as Kama Sutra Temple.
These sculptures are carved on the inner and outer walls of temples but not near to the statues of Gods and Goddesses. Interestingly, not all the carvings on the outer and inner walls are erotic. Only ten percent of the sculptures exhibit sensuality. These carvings depict the physical as well as the cosmic union of man and woman. The sculptures are often mistaken as lovemaking. But actually, it depicts a human interaction with another in different stages of life. According to Brihat Samhita Goblins, Mithunas, Creepers, and Erotic sculptures were meant to be carved on temple doors and walls to bring good luck.
During the period of AD 900 to AD 1300, many temples were built across Western and Southern India. Most of them were Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temples featuring some form of erotic art. But they are carved at the plinth level, i.e., below the eye level, and rarely get noticed. It is only Khajuraho Temple that these sculptures are prominently carved on the front walls of temples.
There are other sculptures too that depict day-to-day life, which is far from being sexual. Apart from portraying Kama (desire), there are sculptures that illustrate the 3 fundamental goals of life: Dharma (duty), Artha (means of livelihood or wealth), and Moksha (liberation).
Khajuraho is located right in the heart of Central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Chhatarpur district holds Khajuraho temple and its beliefs, stories, art, skill, talent, etc. in its boundary. The temple is situated at the bank Khajursagar and near Khajuraho village.
How to reach Khajuraho?
The easiest way to reach Khajuraho is via flight. Khajuraho Airport, its own domestic airport, is a 2-minute drive away from the Khajuraho temple complex.
Or else you can take a government bus service from Chhatarpur district to reach the town. Direct bus services are available to towns from Delhi, Agra, Indore, and Bhopal. Khajuraho bus stand is 1 km away from the temple.
Khajuraho is 44 km away from District Chhatarpur. Harpalpur, Jhansi, Satna, and Jabalpur are the nearest cities to Khajuraho.
When to visit Khajuraho?
Plan a trip to Khajuraho from October to March during the winter season. You can also attend and witness the annual Khajuraho Dance Festival. It is a week-long Classical Dance Festival that is held in February every year. This grand cultural extravaganza is a stunning blend of art and architecture. One gets to experience a wonderful symphony of mesmerizing classical dance performances being performed by renowned artists coming from different cities and towns in India.
Hindi is the most spoken language in the city. You can see almost every person in the city talking in Hindi.
From March to June, Khajuraho experiences the Summer season with the scorching heat of up to 43°C. Humidity is also high during this time. If you are planning to visit during these months, put on some long sleeve clothes and full-size pants to protect yourself from burning in the heat.
Monsoon season comes in late June and lasts till October. The weather looks just awesome during these months because the temperature reaches around 30°C. Make sure you plan your visit accordingly as the city experiences average rain.
The Winter season starts from early November and reaches its high during December and January, lasting till February. This is the best time to visit Khajuraho. As you may get a chance to see Khajuraho Dance Festival in February.
Fairs and Festivals in Khajuraho
In Khajuraho, there are some festivals and fairs which are also celebrated all over the country. They start from January and go till December like Makar Sankranti, Holi, Navratri, Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc.
While there are some festivals that are particularly celebrated only in Khajuraho like:
Khajuraho Dance Festival
It is a festival of 7 days held in the month of February every year. Its main attraction is Dance performances.
This festival is also celebrated in the month of February. It is a night of merry-making, a special festival for the Gond Tribe.
This is a festival of love celebrated in the month of March. It is one of its own kind where a girl and a boy elope after finding their life partner. Each put red powder on their partner’s face if they like each other. Their parents have to accept their relationship later on.
Marathas bring many traditions with themselves to Madhya Pradesh. Rang Panchami is one of them. Celebrated in the month of April.
It is a religious festival of the Korba Tribe of Madhya Pradesh. They keep a fast for a whole long day, and end it with dance, bonfire, partying and eating lots of food.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
Being a famous city, Khajuraho has a good facility of transportation via road, rail, and air. You can reach town through any transport medium. The town has the facility of auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaw, and battery-operated rickshaw to make your journey smooth.
There are a variety of hotels and stay facilities available according to your need and they are pocket friendly too. You can book these online or can just walk in through them and book a room for yourself.
Places to visit in Khajuraho
There are an enormous number of temples in Khajuraho that you can visit along. Here is the list so that you won’t miss any of them. The visiting hours for these temples are from 8 am to 6 pm.
- Dulhadev Temple
- Kandariya Mahadev Temple
- Lakshman Temple
- Parsvanath Temple
- Vishwanath Temple
- Lakshmi Temple
- Javari Temple
- Devi Jagdamba Temple
- Adinath Temple
- Chaturbhuj Temple
- Varaha Temple
- Matangeshwar Temple
- Nandi Temple
- Vamana Temple
- Chitragupta Temple
- Shantinath Temple
- Chausath Yogini Temple
- Brahma Temple
- Ghantai Temple
- Bija Mandal Temple
Cuisines to taste in Khajuraho
Khajuraho falls in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. It has lately become famous for its archaeological sites and is loved by tourists all over the world. But back in time, it was home to the Chandela Rajput dynasty. They are known for their local produce and culinary delicacy that no one can match. While becoming a top tourist destination, Khajuraho’s culinary lineage is still intact. You can have a variety of dishes here to taste. Make a list and put these cuisines in it.
- Mawa Bati
- Chakki ki Shak
- Palak Puri
- Bhopali Gosht Korma
- Bhutte ka Kees
- Seekh Kebab
- Daal Bafla
Things to do in Khajuraho
There are several things that you can do apart from visiting temples in Khajuraho. It gives you entertainment and makes your mind relax. They are a must-visit and should be on your to-do list while planning a trip to Khajuraho.
- Take a tour of temples in Khajuraho.
- Witness Wildlife and Nature at Panna National Park.
- Give your soul a rest at Raneh Falls Canyon.
- Enjoy the Khajuraho Dance Festival.
- Attend the Light and Sound Show near Western Group of Temples.
- Go to Jungle Safari at Ken Gharial Sanctuary.
- Visit to Ajaygarh Fort.
- Enjoy the view at Beni Sagar Dam.
- Visit to the Archeological Museum.
- Visit to Jain Museum and Dhubela Museum.
- Explore history in the State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art.
- Explore the beauty of Kalinjar Fort.
- Watch Pandav Waterfall and sooth yourself with its beauty.
- Explore the old town of Khajuraho.
- Enjoy mouth watering food of Khajuraho.
- Experience soothing Ayurvedic Spa at Ayur Arogyam.
- Explore the ruins of Mastani Mahal.
- Take a day trip to Orchha.
- Take a fun boat ride at Gangau Dam.
- Watch the glory of Chhatrasal dynasty at Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum.
Note: Museums are open from 8 am to 5 pm. And they remain closed on Fridays.
Souvenirs to buy in Khajuraho
Souvenirs that you can buy from Khajuraho to keep your memory alive can be:
- Tribal Jewelry
- Bamboo Articles
- Dhokra Arts and Artifacts
- Traditional Handicrafts items
- Silverware and Brassware
- Handloom and Textile items
- Miniature stone-carved replicas
- Hand made Sculptures
Some major shopping destinations in Khajuraho that you would love to go can be:
- Gole Market
- Rajnagar Shopping Area