Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India Week 139 November 29th - 30th 2013
Found our way to the Tourist Village at Khajuraho.

Operated by Madhya Pradesh Tourist Authority.

Had a look at the restaurant kitchen

Meat this time. A chicken biryani and a chicken curry.

Mutton wasn't available.

Khajuraho has some unusual temples.

We started at the western group of Shaiva, Vaishnava and Jaina sect Temples.

Reminiscent of Angkor Wat without the surrounding walls.

Probably because of the common Hindu origins.

This is Lakshmand Temple.

Completed after 20 years in AD954 by Yashovarnan.

It seems the Chandelas were obsessed with war and sex.

The temple is dedicated to Vishnu.

But Terry Pratchett eat your heart out.

There are elephants in abundance among the battallions of soldiers in the freeze around the temple base.

Not just the four Terry needed to ride on the back of the turtle, the Great Artuin(?) to support Discworld.

There is an entrance porch then vestibule (with pillars)  leading to the central inner sanctum.

Which contains an image of a four armed Vishnu.

Some temples have a smaller, or no, vestibule.

There's a passage around the outside of the sanctum. With more carvings.

We have a bit of trouble remembering the 10 incarnations of Vishnu.
Those sakhas (?) looked inviting but were inaccessible from inside.
We're well surprised at the state of preservation.

1978 since I was here last.

A lot of renovation seems to have been done. To the outside. But its not intrusive as in other places.

There's a sense of timelessness.

We're a bit concerned that there'll be a practical test at the end of our visit.
It looks like a horse but the head varies in different depictions.

Some (not this one) with oversize teeth).

Elephants sans tusks.

At least we can see that the carvings aren't hollow.

We always struggle with deciding if work like this is carved or cast.

We think we can find sufficient differences to suggest individual carvings.

We can't help our (not part of the archeological descriptions) comparison with Angkor. The carvings here have much greater depth. And the joins much tighter.

The artwork is exquisite to our untutored eyes.

None of the standing vertically to attention like terracotta warriors.

Surasundaris (nymphs?). All individually posed.

How to capture the movement of hips in a lump of stone?

Just like at Angkor there are smaller structures at four corners of the pedestal.
Drainage has been taken care of with the occasional gargoyle.
One of Vishnu's incarnations was as a boar.

This is in the Varaha, adjacent to the Lakshmana Temple.

Some small indication of the stone masons efforts.

Corbelled, though more elegantly than at Angkor.

So ornate we had a bit of trouble figuring out the building techniques.

The boar is quite large.
Looking back at the Lakshmana Temple.
And the freeze around its base.
The Kandariya-Mahadev Temple.

Built between 1025 and 1050.

The basic plan is repeated by the temple builders.

An entrance, a vestibule and an inner sanctum.

Someone counted 872 acrobatic statues.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Not sure what this is.

We've noticed an absence of lions.

Apparently there are mortice and tenon joints for the stonework.

But we can't see for the embellishments.

This is apparently often photographed.

"Sorry dear, I have a headache".

The old temples in the western group are all sandstone.

There are some granite temples among more sandstone in other groups.

Of a total of 85 temples there are 23 surviving.

The archeological museum has 3,000 carvings with less than a hundred on display.

The carvings are continued in the inner sanctum.

They seem to be more directly related to the relevant god than those outside.

A subtle progressive change from outside to sanctum.

A bit of research required on yoni and lingam.

We recall meeting them previously. Probably in SE Asian temples. Alas, one of those things I didn't write down.

Phallic, as are the spires.

Yoni is female, lingam male. Seems quite often represented in temple inner sanctums

In Hinduism yoni is the origin of life. Plus an abstract representation of the creative force within the universe..

The Jagadambi Temple.

Originally dedicated to Vishnu. Later to Parvati. Possibly even later to Kali.

The vestibule on the way to the inner sanctum.

The pillars extend the natural width limit of corbels.

There's those horses again.

We're really not sure what is simply intended as erotic and what is symbolic of other things.

The Jagadimbi Temple in the foreground, the small Mahadeva Temple in the middle and the Kandariya-Mahadev Temple behind
The Chitragupta Temple.

The typical pattern of two or three freezes of carvings is repeated here.

There is a maturing progression in temple design, but we haven't quite come to grips with the sequence or the subtlety.

We missed the eleven headed Vishnu.

Do kings have beards?
Is that a boar?
There are seven (small) horses pulling Vishnu's chariot through the inner sanctum.

Those very small dots below the feet.

We avoided guides, and the audio. One of the security guards proudly named the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Our recollection is nine was Buddha and ten was human.

Looking back at the Chitragupta Temple.

They are all east-west aligned.

If we've understood correctly Hinduism includes the caste system and Brahmins.

Sikhs and Buddhists moved away from Hinduism to escape oppression.

The Vishvanatha Temple.

Probably built around AD 1002.

Shiva's bull.
Circular corbels to form a dome.

We can see the joins this time.

The temple is being restored.

The darker colour is how I remember all of the temples from 1978.

This whole site seems to be one where the restorers have got it just about right for our tastes.

The site is incredibly neat and tidy. Trimmed hedges and lawns, complete with "keep off the grass" notices. 

But a lack of fallen masonry. We usually look for that to help inform us on the building techniques.

Each of the temples seems to have a slightly different emphasis while continuing the general theme .....
We've definitely seen this sort of inner sanctum at other Hindu temples.
A bit of colour at the entrance to the sanctum.
The Pratapeswar Temple is a recent (200 years old) building.

Much less ornate.


Bricks and mortar not sandstone.

But the squirrels seem to like it.

This lion is high up on the Vishvanatha Temple.

Looks like lions beat elephants.

Khajuraho itself is a small village. There's no evidence we can find of the way of life, or population, which supported the prolific temple building.

And so to the local fast food outlet. This is a deluxe version.

Vegetable samosas and whatever else for lunch.

Then a km walk back to our car park.

We think we detected an unusual (for India) sensitivity in where to draw the line between inviting us to look at shops and hussling.

Khajuraho has an airport with 767s flying plus several international hotels. Its grown a lot but still a small village. A pleasant day out with not much hassle.

It lost its position as a capital somewhere in the 1500's.

But now we've both caught a cold so we need a bit of rest.

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India Week 140 December 1st 2013

Ian & Jan Sun, 08 Dec 13 04:59:34 +1100
Wonderful architecture! You must be having a 'luvverly' time! Sorry to hear about the cold, hope you can get a nice jar of Vick for the throat over there?
Enjoy even if it is very slow lifestyle!

Best wishes

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