Friday, March 30, 2012

Khajuraho : Exotic and Unbelievable

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples and has impressed generations of people with its architectural brilliance, intricate carvings and sculptures. These temples are divided into three zones, namely, western, eastern and southern, according to their location.
The Carvings of Khajuraho temples are among the finest temple art in the world. Legend says that the Khajuraho was founded by Chandravarman, the son of the moon god Chandra. The Chandela dynasty built the temples, many of which originally arose from a lake, and survived for five centuries before falling to Mughal assault.   Most of the 85 Temples, of which some 25 are remains today, were built during AD 950 to AD 1050.
How to reach Khajuraho?
The UP Sampark Kranti Express (No. 12448) departs at 9.35pm from Hazrat Nizammudin Railway station to Khajuraho. Auto would charge 50-100 INR (depends on negotiation) till the western side temple.
Where to stay in Khajuraho?
Khajuraho hotels vary to suit all needs and preferences. Ranging from star hotels to low cost hotels, Khajuraho has it all. There are a good number of budget hotels in Khajuraho that offer good comfort and facilities at affordable prices. Few good budget hotels are merely 200-300 meter from the western side temples.
Erotic Temple Art of Khajuraho
It is hard to think that why these marvel of architectures are built here in complete isolation? There is nothing of significant interest or beauty to recommend Khajuraho as a building site and also there is no big population or some big fort nearby. Whatever be the answer the truth is that this isolated location helped preserve it from the vandalism of Muslim invaders. Due to the threat of Afghan invaders, Chandela kings forsook Khajuraho for their forts. Also all the religious activities were abandoned so that this should be kept away from the eyes of the invaders. With the passing time forest covered this entire region.
The rest of the world remained ignorant about these temples until a British officer T S Burt was guided to the ruins in 1838. He was surprised and shocked by what he saw in the architectural treasure house. He described the erotica as ‘a little warmer than there was any absolute necessity for’.
Places to see in Khajuraho
Khajuraho is a laid back town, depending mainly on tourism. The 30.5 m long Kandaria Mahadev Temple is the biggest among all.
I took the ‘Audio Guide’ for my companionship which was a pair of headphone and a playing device. It was pretty impressive and had detailed information with voice over, sound effect and expert point of view. One thing was very funny about this instrument; we need to pay 60 Rs for Hindi and 100 Rs for English, though it is very easy to change the language after hiring it. In the era of smart phone such a small device can’t act too smart with us.
Now let the image talking for some time.
These temples are carved with so precision that sometimes they appeared to made of woods rather stones.
‘Varah’ is one of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, this statue is of Varah;
Most of the carvings on the wall of the temples represent the daily activity of people of those days. Like one carving shows a courtyard of King, where he used to sit and listen daily issues.
I started at 12 and finished by 4 the group of the western side of the temples. Then I hired an auto for 200 Rs to cover the rest of the temple. Since there was no guide or guided audio tour was available, so I clicked images and visited all the temples in another 3 hours. The eastern group consists of four temples scattered around the village and three Jain temples within a premise.
The Duladeo temple, Chaturbhuja temple and Bijamandala temple belong to the southern group of temple. These temples were built in last around 1100-50 AD.
A visit to Khajuraho promises witnessing the best of medieval Indian arts and architecture.
What to eat?
Being an important tourist destination Khajuraho has a number of eating joints that caters to the need of national as well overseas tourists. Continental breakfast with a range of alcohols can be found easily in a variety of cafes here.

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