Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho

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The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known as Kandariya Mahadev; the name indicates the mood of Lord Shiva as an ascetic who dwells in cave (the word ‘Kandariya’ means ‘cave’ in the local language)

The architecture of the temple is said to be the specimen for the Medieval North Indian Hindu temples. The main spire or ‘shikhara’ of the temple is 30 meters high surrounded by about 86 miniature spires. The shikhara is broad in its base which narrows down as it progresses towards the sky; as like a mountain. The shikahra is believed to represent Mount Kailas- the holy abode of Lord Shiva.

This is the biggest temple among the Khajuraho temple complex.

The entire space of the shikhara is filled with sculptures that depict almost all activities of human life; from carnal pleasure to salvation!

Thus we can say that the order of this sculpture depicts the spiritual progress of a devotee from the mundane worldly pleasures to moksha or salvation- the ultimate aim of every Hindu.

There are about 25 temples in the Khajuraho temple complex; the UNESCO has declared it as a World Heritage Site. Originally, there were about 80 temples around it.

Khajuraho was the cultural capital of the Chnadela Rajput rulers. They ruled the area between 10 to 12 centuries AD. These temples are built in a span of 200 years from 950-1150 AD.

Khajuraho temple complex has almost all deities of Hindu pantheon in its fold. It has temples devoted to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga and even shrines to Sun God and Lord Vaman- the dwarf form of Lord Vishnu, which is a rare one by itself. Besides, it has few Jain temples too!!

The temples are arranged in three groups; Western, Eastern and Southern groups. Kandariya temple belongs to the Western group. The Lakshman Temple, Jagadamba temple and Chaunsat Yogini (the oldest surviving temple in the complex) temple are the other important temples in the complex: Vaman temple and Parsvanath (Jain) temple belong to Eastern group: The Chaturbhuj temple is the important one in the Southern group.

The light and sound show at the complex is worth a visit.

The annual Khajuraho Dance festival in February-March also attracts many to this historical place.

Presently, the complex is under the control of Archeological Survey of India.

Khajuraho is 175 kilometers from Jhansi.


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