Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple -Khajuraho: Famous Surya Temple in the Western Group

The Chitragupta Temple is a Hindu temple in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is dedicated to Surya, the sun god, who is depicted riding a chariot driven by seven horses. The temple is part of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Chandela dynasty. The temple is one of the most impressive and well-preserved temples in the western group, which contains the finest and most elaborate temples. Visit during One Day Khajuraho Local Sightseeing Trip By cab

The temple is famous for its exquisite carvings and sculptures, which depict various aspects of human life and spirituality. The temple is a masterpiece of the Nagara style of architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower (shikhara) over the sanctum, a vestibule (antarala), a hall (mandapa), and a porch (ardhamandapa). The temple stands on a high platform (jagati), and is surrounded by four smaller shrines at the corners. The temple is a symbol of the Chandela culture, which was open and liberal about sexuality and spirituality. Top 11 Places To Visit in Khajuraho

Overview of Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple

The Chitragupta Temple is one of the last temples that were built by the Chandela kings in the 11th century CE. The temple is dedicated to Surya, the sun god, who is considered to be the source of life and energy. The temple has a large image of Surya in the sanctum, which is made of bronze and has a diameter of about 5 feet. The image shows Surya riding a chariot driven by seven horses, which represent the seven days of the week.

The image also has two lotuses in his hands, which symbolize the rising and the setting of the sun. The image faces east, so that it receives the first rays of the sun in the morning. The temple also has sculptures of various deities, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Durga, as well as scenes from the Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The temple is famous for its erotic sculptures, which constitute about 10% of the total sculptures.

These sculptures depict various forms of love, such as romantic, erotic, maternal, and spiritual. The sculptures also illustrate the four goals of life in Hinduism, namely dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). The sculptures also symbolize the union of the male and female principles, which is the essence of creation,

Location of Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple

The Chitragupta Temple is located in the western group of the Khajuraho Group of temples in Khajuraho village in an area spread over 6 square kilometres (2.3 square miles). It is about 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) away from the Lakshmana Temple, which is the oldest and the most ornate temple in the western group.

Timing/Entry Fees Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple

The Chitragupta Temple is open for visitors from sunrise to sunset, every day of the week. The entry fee for Indian nationals is Rs. 40 per person, while for foreign nationals it is Rs. 600 per person. Children below the age of 15 years are allowed free entry.

There is also a light and sound show in the evening, narrated by the Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, that showcases the history and significance of the Khajuraho temples. The show timings are 6:30 pm to 7:25 pm in Hindi and 7:40 pm to 8:35 pm in English. The ticket price for the show is Rs. 250 for adults and Rs. 150 for children.

How to Reach Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple

Khajuraho is well connected by road, rail, and air to major cities in India.

  • The nearest airport is the Khajuraho Airport, which is about 9 kilometres (5.6 miles) from the town. There are regular flights from Delhi, Varanasi, and Agra to Khajuraho.
  • The nearest railway station is the Khajuraho Railway Station, which is about 8 kilometres (5 miles) from the town. There are trains from Delhi, Agra, Jhansi, Bhopal, and Udaipur to Khajuraho.
  • The nearest bus stand is the Khajuraho Bus Stand, which is about 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) from the town. There are buses from Chhatarpur, Jhansi, Satna, and Panna to Khajuraho.
  • One can also hire a taxi, auto-rickshaw, or cycle-rickshaw to reach the Chitragupta Temple from the town.

Things to Do Chitragupta Temple

Chitragupta Temple

The Chitragupta Temple offers a lot of things to do for the visitors, apart from admiring the stunning architecture and sculptures. Some of the things to do are:

  • Visit the Archaeological Museum, which is located near the Western group of temples. The museum displays a collection of sculptures, inscriptions, architectural fragments, and other artefacts from the Khajuraho temples. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, except on Fridays. The entry fee is Rs. 10 per person.
  • Enjoy a boat ride on the Khajur Sagar, a lake that lies adjacent to the Western group of temples. The lake offers a scenic view of the temples and the surrounding landscape. The boat ride costs Rs. 50 per person for 30 minutes.
  • Explore the nearby attractions, such as the Raneh Falls, a natural waterfall that is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Khajuraho. The falls are formed by the Ken River and have a series of rock formations that create a canyon-like effect. The falls are best visited during the monsoon season, when the water level is high.
  • Experience the local culture and cuisine, by visiting the Khajuraho Dance Festival, an annual event that is held in February or March. The festival showcases the classical dance forms of India, such as Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, and Manipuri. The festival is held in the open-air auditorium near the Chitragupta Temple and attracts performers and spectators from all over the world. The local cuisine of Khajuraho is influenced by the Bundelkhand region and consists of dishes such as bafla, dal, kusli, lavang lata, and mawa bati.

Significance of Chitragupta Temple

The Chitragupta Temple is significant for various reasons, such as:

  • It represents the late phase of the Chandela art and architecture, which was influenced by the Gupta and the Pratihara styles. The temple is built of sandstone, without any mortar, and has intricate carvings and sculptures that cover the walls, pillars, ceilings, and roofs. The temple has a simple plan, consisting of a sanctum (garbhagriha), a vestibule (antarala), a hall (mandapa), and a porch (ardhamandapa). The sanctum is surmounted by a single tower (shikhara), which has clusters of smaller towers (urushringas) on its sides. The temple also has a stone image of Nandi, the bull mount of Shiva, facing the entrance.
  • It reflects the religious tolerance and diversity of the Chandela society, which patronized both Hinduism and Jainism. The temple is dedicated to Surya, the sun god, who is considered to be the source of life and energy. The temple also depicts scenes from the Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as the Jain legends, such as the life of Mahavira. The temple also has images of various gods and goddesses, celestial beings, mythical creatures, animals, birds, and plants.
  • It expresses the philosophy and worldview of the Chandela culture, which celebrated life and its various aspects. The temple is famous for its erotic sculptures, which constitute about 10% of the total sculptures. These sculptures depict various forms of love, such as romantic, erotic, maternal, and spiritual. The sculptures also illustrate the four goals of life in Hinduism, namely dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). The sculptures also symbolize the union of the male and female principles, which

FAQ’s

Some of the frequently asked questions about the Chitragupta Temple are:

Q: Why is the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya, the sun god?

A: The Chitragupta Temple is dedicated to Surya, the sun god, because he is considered to be the source of life and energy. Surya is also associated with the concept of Chitragupta, the divine accountant of deeds, who is believed to be the son of Surya and his wife Sanjana. Surya is also worshipped as the lord of the planets, the giver of health and prosperity, and the dispeller of darkness and ignorance.

Q: What are the main features of the Chitragupta Temple?

A: The main features of the Chitragupta Temple are:
The large image of Surya in the sanctum, which is made of bronze and has a diameter of about 5 feet. The image shows Surya riding a chariot driven by seven horses, which represent the seven days of the week. The image also has two lotuses in his hands, which symbolize the rising and the setting of the sun. The image faces east, so that it receives the first rays of the sun in the morning.
The exquisite carvings and sculptures on the walls, pillars, ceilings, and roofs of the temple, which depict various deities, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Durga, as well as scenes from the Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The temple also has erotic sculptures, which depict various forms of love, such as romantic, erotic, maternal, and spiritual.
The Nagara style of architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower (shikhara) over the sanctum, a vestibule (antarala), a hall (mandapa), and a porch (ardhamandapa). The temple stands on a high platform (jagati), and is surrounded by four smaller shrines at the corners. The temple has a single tower over the sanctum, which has clusters of smaller towers (urushringas) on its sides. The temple also has a stone image of Nandi, the bull mount of Shiva, facing the entrance.

Q: What is the best time to visit the Chitragupta Temple?

A: The best time to visit the Chitragupta Temple is during the winter season, from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. The temple is also worth visiting during the Khajuraho Dance Festival, which is held in February or March, and showcases the classical dance forms of India, such as Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, and Manipuri. The festival is held in the open-air auditorium near the temple and attracts performers and spectators from all over the world.

Conclusion

The Chitragupta Temple is a charming temple of the southern group, that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Chandela dynasty. The temple is dedicated to Surya, the sun god, who is depicted riding a chariot driven by seven horses. The temple has a large image of Surya in the sanctum, which is made of bronze and has a diameter of about 5 feet.

The temple also has sculptures of various deities, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Durga, as well as scenes from the Hindu epics, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The temple is famous for its exquisite carvings and erotic sculptures, which depict various aspects of human life and spirituality.

The temple is a masterpiece of the Nagara style of architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower over the sanctum, a vestibule, a hall, and a porch. The temple stands on a high platform and is surrounded by four smaller shrines at the corners. The temple is a must-visit for anyone who wants to witness the beauty and glory of ancient Indian civilization.

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