The name Khajuraho is dear to every Indian; some became familiar with the place by reading history books at school or college level while some came to know about it by seeing documentaries or pictures filmed at these locations. Nevertheless when some of my friends approached me a couple of years back with a proposal to make a trip to this place, I gladly accepted and moved out with them catching the morning flight from Delhi.
Before arriving we tied up our visit program with one of the tour operators at Khajuraho who arranged for our pick up from airport and sightseeing. A guide was provided by the tour operator who accompanied us and narrated the brief history of the Khajuraho temples.
We set out on our sojourn to visit some of the most famous temples in Khajuraho. Our guide narrated to us that the Pratihara empire of North India (from 500 C.E. to 1300 C.E.) during its peak time built the major temples and monuments in Khajuraho.
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
We first entered the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, a site which is protected by the Archeological Society of India as a World Heritage site. This happens to be the largest amongst all the temples in Khajuraho. We were spellbound on seeing the statues of unknown gods and goddesses, sculptured and beautifully ornated on the walls of the temples preserved from the medieval period in India. The temple was built by Vidyadhara, one of the Chandela Rajput Kings dating back to 1000 BC. The sikhara at 31 m height depicts the mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva with 84 small spires of sikhara or urushringas. The temple houses a marble Shiva Linga.
Our next stop was at the Lakshmana Temple, built by Chandela ruler Yashovarman during 930-950 CE. It is dedicated to Vaikuntha Vishnu, an aspect of Lord Vishnu. We sat on the steps of the temple, took out coffee from the flask and enjoyed cherishing the wonderful artwork of the temple. It is built on a high platform. The main deity is the Vaikuntha Vishnu and his idol is built as a tri-headed and four-armed sculpture.
Apsara Devi Jagadambi Temple
Our next destination was at the Apsara Devi Jagadambi Temple. Famous for its erotic beauty, Devi Jagadambika temple is one of the finely ornated temples at Khajuraho. The temple houses an enormous image of Devi Jagadmbika and beautifully curved erotic images around the walls of the temple.
In about an hour we started for our next destination Duladeo Temple. Surrounded by a beautiful garden full with beautiful colored flowers, the Duladeo Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is also known as “Kunwar Math”. Built in circa AD 1000-1150, the temple is preserved as an under World Heritage site.
We reached the Varaha Temple in which is enshrined a huge monolithic image of Varaha, the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple depicts Varaha in animal form. Located in the Western Group of Temple Complex, it is again a World Heritage Site.
We then headed for the last temple of the day – Javari temple. The temple houses a broken and a headless idol of Lord Vishnu. Built between c 975 and 1100 AD, the temple is a world heritage site. The name Javari is derived from the one time owner of the land, or so it is assumed, for there is no Hindu deity bearing this title.
Climate of Khajuraho
During the months of September to March, tourists from all over India and abroad visit Khajuraho. Due to its extreme climate (45 degrees in summer), winter is favored by most to visit Khajuraho. Annual Dance Festival takes place during March when many tourists visit Khajuraho during this time of the year. Also those who do not wish to miss seeing the tigers in the nearby Panna National Park, the month of March are the best time.
Accommodation and Transportation
Some of the best 5 star hotels as well as budget hotels are available in Khajuraho. The hotels are mostly located near the airport.
Khajuraho is accessible by flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Varanasi. Direct trains (almost 10 hrs journey) are available from Delhi (Hazarat Nizamuddin). Trains from Agra and Varanasi are also available. By road from Delhi it takes 5 to 6 hrs. For tourists from Delhi, instead of travelling by bumpy roads air journey is recommended. Airport at Khajuraho is at a distance of 5 kilometers.
– SS DE