Khajuraho Group of monuments is one of the ancient archaeological masterpieces of India built by the Chandel kings during the period 950-1050 AD. Located in central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh it stands as the evidence of a rich cultural heritage of the country. Set along the serene backdrop of beautiful villages, the sculptural works of the images and statues adorning these temples attract tourists worldwide. A small airport has been set up in the villages to handle the large number of tourists mostly the foreigners. Declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is considered as one of the seven wonders of India.
The name Khajuraho is derived from the Khajur or the Indian date palm tree that grew in abundance in the adjoining villages. The Indian architecture reached its zenith during this medieval period as evidenced from these architectural marvels. Out of 84 temples built only 22 are in existence, the rest being destroyed due to the natural weathering and sheer neglect.
The life and the reign of the Chandela Rajputs are engraved on its walls with the finesse and craftsmanship that remains unparalleled even today. The Chandela dynasty is believed to have descended from the moon and the founder king Chandavarman started building the temple complex later finished through successive generations. The structures are built on high sandstone platforms. The columns, epistyles are all carved out of megaliths weighing about 20 tons.
Gorgeously carved arches leads to the opening facing eastwards. The ceilings are adorned with intricate geometric and floral designs. The roofs are designed in such a way that resembles the ranges of a mountain. Various manifestations of gods like Shiva and Shakti and the principles of Yin and Yang are carved out in these temples. The temples are divided into three divisions: western, eastern and southern. The western group is the most famous with the highest Kandariya Mahadev temple of a height of 31 meters.
A small part of the temples bear marvelous erotic structures which were carved out for the purpose of study for men after attaining manhood and before entering the family or "Garhasta" life. Besides, these erotic structures also reveal the inner feelings, passions and joy which are faced in reality by the human beings.
The temples have various facets of women carved out in pillars which are splendid projections of the womanhood. The colorful nature of the women - loving, caring, coquettish, innocence, smiling all are reflected in the various images of women. These represent the basic philosophy of a human life of carrying on the duties and responsibility amidst all the enjoyments of life.
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