Ballads on Stones
|State||: Madhya Pradesh|
|Type of Tourism||: Heritage tourism|
|Area||: 16.93 sq. km|
|Population||: 19,282 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 283 meters|
|Languages spoken||: Hindi, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (07686), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 471606|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Light Cotton in summer, light woolen in winter.|
|What to buy||: Silver, Brass, Iron and Stone sculptures depicting different poses from Kama Sutra, Sand Stone statues, Gold and Silver ornaments, Tribal jewelries, Bamboo articles, handicrafts, Dhokra arts, metal wares, Chanderi, Maheshwari and silk saris, Dabu, Batik, Bagh, block and wood block print cloths, Zardosi work, woolen carpets, leather craft, bedspreads, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Typical Madhya Pradesh Cuisine like Namkeen, Shikanji, Sabudana ki Khichadi, popular deserts like, cashew burfi, lavang lata, jalebi, khurma, moong dal ka halwa, kusli etc.|
|Local transportation||: Bicycle, Bicycle Rickshaws, Auto Rickshaws, Cabs.|
Khajuraho, a small town in Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh located against the lofty backdrop of Vindhya Mountain Ranges, has inscribed its name in golden letters on the world tourism map as a home to grandeur of art and master craftsmanship of human hand. Renowned far and wide for its medieval Hindu and Jain temples characterized by exceptional erotic sculptures, Khajuraho is India’s second most visited destination after the Taj Mahal. Acknowledged as one of the seven wonders of India, Khajuraho group of temples are declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1986. The name Khajuraho has derived from two Sanskrit words kharjura and v?haka, where kharjura means ‘date palm’ and v?haka means ‘the one who carries’.
Out of over 85 temples set up by the Chandela rulers about a millennium ago, only 22 shrines have survived the test of time. The ornate sculptures presenting love in its all forms constitute the center theme of these temples. Different postures assumed during a sexual intercourse are portrayed through very true to life statues of various deities, mainly Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The erotic sculptures of these temples are believed to be visual representation of the theories of Kama Sutra. Apart from the Shrungar Rasa, Khajuraho monuments also depict other moods and emotions of human nature ranging from ludicrous and pathos to devotion. The temples at Khajuraho are divided into three sects based on their geographical location. They are: Western Group, Eastern Group and Southern Group.
Rightly called the symbol of medieval heritage, the temples of Khajuraho comprise one of the rarest and best examples of architectural majesty and sublimity of expression. The ballads written on stones illustrate the ultimate truth of life and outline the open appreciation of one of the taboo topics in Indian culture. Some of the noteworthy temples of Khajuraho group of Monuments are: Devi Jagdamba Temple, Chausath Yogini Temple, Ghantai Temple, Javari Temple, Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Viswanath Temple, Lakshmana Temple, Lakshmi Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Adinath Temple, and so on.
History of Khajuraho
Before we take a peep into more than a millennia old history of Khajuraho, lets have a look at an interesting legend that is connected with the pedigree of these masterpieces of art. The tale goes that the Moon God in the seizure of lust and carnal desire seduced and molested a beautiful Brahmin girl named Hemvati. As a result, Chandravarman: the founder of Chandela Dynasty was born. Years later, the King Chandravarman had a dream in which his mother – Hemvati asked him to build such a temple that would demonstrate all dimensions and aspects of erotic passion to the world.
The Khajuraho temples were constructed over a span of two hundred years between 950 AD and 1150 AD during the dominion of Chandela Kings. The descendants of Chandela dynasty find their roots in the Bargujar Rajputs of Rajasthan who reined Dhundhar and called themselves Dhundhela. Later they migrated towards the regions of Madhya Pradesh and the name Dhundhela was gradually converted to Chandela. Khajuraho served as the cultural capital of the kingdom of Chandela kings who promoted the free execution of the creativity of human mind and craftsmanship of artistic dexterity. As a result, they gifted the Khajuraho group of temples depicting the adroitness of architecture and housing the exquisite sculptures revealing different forms of love to the world.
After the decline and fall of Chandela kings, the Khajuraho temples were disguised under the thick date palm groves for centuries. In the year 1838 Captain T.S. Burt – a British army engineer unveiled the historic heritage of India and brought these temples to limelight.