Khajuraho Temples: India architecture at its best
NewDelhi: India has a rich cultural heritage and it can be found in every nook and corner of this country. There are innumerable monuments that stand tall even today to depict the creativity of the artist from our past.One among them is Khajuraho Temples which is located in Madhya Pradesh in central India. The name Khajuraho, or Kharjuravāhaka, is derived from Sanskrit language.
One thousand years ago, under the benefaction of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly engraved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho.
The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD – 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the havoc of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate union of man with his creator.
Lets know more about these ancient artistic beauty which reflects the great creativity of Indian craftsman.
The region in which these temples were constructed is home to better-quality of sandstone, which can be accurately carved. The surviving sculpture reflect fine details such as strands of hair, nails and elaborate jewels.These temples are made of sandstone, with a granite foundation that is almost covered from view.
The builders didn’t use mortar: the stones were put together with mortise joints and they were held in place by gravity. This form of construction requires very accurate joints. The pillars and architraves were built with megaliths that weighed up to 20 tons.
Some repair work in the 19th Century was done with brick and mortar; however these have aged faster than original materials and darkened with time, thereby seeming out of place.
Each temple in Khajuraho is a superstructure with a dome which is known as Shikhara. In each temple, the central space typically is surrounded by an ambulatory for the pilgrim to walk around and ritually circumambulate the Purusa and the main deity.
The pillars, walls and ceilings around the space, as well as outside have highly elaborate carvings or images of the four just and necessary pursuits of life – kama, artha, dharma and moksa. This clockwise walk around is called pradakshina.
The Khajuraho temples, spread over an area of about 9 square miles, portray the traditional lifestyle of women in the medieval age.The divine sculptures are a tribute to life itself, embodying everything that is inspiring and spontaneous about it. Built using sandstone, with varying shades of beige, pink and pale yellow, each contains an entrance, a hall, a entrance hall and a chamber.
The Chaunsath Jogini Temple, located on the bank of the Shivsagar Lake, is supposed to be the oldest temple in Khajuraho. This temple is unusual from the other temples at Khajuraho and depicts a style diverse from the Chandela style of structural design.
The structures of the Khajuraho temples are similar to the style of the north-Indian shikhara temple and also to Panchayatana plan. The Hindu temples are dedicated to Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and also to different goddesses.
Most of the carvings on the walls show human, their bodies and also the facts of life. The carvings present the everyday life of a common man in India during that time when they were made.
In these temples some well crafted erotic sculptures can be found either on the outside or inner walls of the temples but not near the deities.
However, it is common delusions that the sculptures show lovemaking between deities, whereas in reality they actually show passionate exchanges between humans along with changes that occur in the human bodies.