Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sculptures With Art of Love and Passion : Khajuraho Temples

Situated in the heart of Central India, Khajuraho is a temple town different from any other temple city of India. It is not about religion, worshipping and deities, instead temples in this fascinating village are famous for the eroticism etched on its walls in the form of sculptures. There are so many theories and controversies over eroticism depicted on the outer walls of temples in Khajuraho.
According to a legend, the creators of Khajuraho had descented from the moon. The story of the origin of this great dynasty is interesting. A beautiful young daughter of a Brahmin priest was seduced by the moon god while she was bathing in the Rati one evening. Her name was Hemavati. The son born of this union between a mortal and a god was a son was named Chandravarman. Harassed by society, the unwed mother sought refuge in the dense forest of Central India where she was both mother and guru to her young son. This boy of Hemavati and moon grew up to found the great Chandela dynasty. When he was established as a ruler, he had this dream one night in which his mother implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire. Chandravarman began the construction of the first of the temples, successive rulers added to the fast growing complex.
Few scholars believe that the Chandelas were believers in the powers of Tantrism; the cult which believes that the gratification of earthly desires is a step closer to the attainment of the infinite. Yet another theory justifies the erotica of Khajuraho, claiming it had a specific purpose. According to this theory, in those days boys lived in hermitages, following the Hindu law of being "brahmacharis" until they attained manhood. Therfore, the only way they could prepare themselves for the worldly role of 'householder' was through the study of these sculptures and the earthly passions they depicted.
However, few Hindu scholars emphasise that the erotic sculptures are present only on the outer walls of the temples and not inside, which according to them means that one should leave all his/her worldly desires outside before entering the place of worship.
Built between AD950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty, temples of Khajuraho is the evidences of the architectural geniuses during the times of Chandela dynasty. The 85 temples were built in North Indian 'Nagara' style of architecture, though only 20 of them have survived the rough weather conditions over long years of time. The two richer distinctive groups of temples are the Western and Eastern group of temples. With hardly any written records and rare references to its origin, the history of Khajuraho has become trapped in the mythical folklore of the region. According to the Myths Khajuraho was known as 'Khajur-vahika' or 'Khajjurpura' in the ancient times because of its golden date palms (known as 'khajur') that lined the gates of this city.
Khajuraho is surrounded by 22 temples, which give us a glimpse of a golden time of art and devotion at their peak.Out of 22 temples, two were made from sandstone. The stone blocks were first carved and then the interlocking pieces were assembled to form a temple. Each temple is different from one another. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions : western, eastern and southern.
Western Group of Temples: Lakhmi Temple, The Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, Devi Jagdamba Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Viswanath Temple
Eastern Group of Temples: Parsvanath Temple, Ghantai Temple, Brahma Temple, Vamana Temple, Javari Temple
Southern Group of Temples: Dulhadev Temple, Beejamandal Temple
Khajuraho temples were discovered accidentally by a British military adventurer in 1838. Built between AD950 and 1050 by the Chandela dynasty, the temples by the end of the 15th century were abandoned, hidden deep within thick jungle.


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