Khandarya Mahadev Temple, also known as Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, is the largest and most ornate Hindu temple in the Khajuraho group of monuments in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is dedicated to Shiva, the Great God of the Cave, and is considered one of the best examples of nagara-style temple architecture and sculpture in India. Khandarya Mahadev Temple was built by the Chandela ruler Vidyadhara in the 11th century CE and is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that depict various aspects of life, such as worship, love, war, music, dance, and nature. Visit during Khajuraho Local sightseeing By cab
Khandarya Mahadev Temple Location/ Timing and Entry Fees
Khandarya Mahadev Temple is located in the western cluster of the Khajuraho group of monuments, which is about 9 km away from the Khajuraho Airport and 6 km away from the Khajuraho Railway Station. The temple is situated near the Vishvanatha Temple and the Nandi Temple on a raised platform (jagati) that measures about 109 meters by 60 meters. The temple faces east and has an entrance porch (ardhamandapa), a main hall (mandapa), a vestibule (antarala), and a sanctum (garbhagriha) with a tower (shikhara) above it.
The temple is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The entry fee for Indian citizens is Rs. 40 per person and for foreign nationals is Rs. 600 per person. There is no entry fee for children below 15 years of age. There is also a light and sound show every evening at the western cluster that narrates the history and significance of the temples. The show timings are 6:30 pm to 7:25 pm in English and 7:40 pm to 8:35 pm in Hindi. The ticket price for the show is Rs. 250 per person for Indians and Rs. 700 per person for foreigners.
Things to Do / Must See Khandarya Mahadev Temple
Khandarya Mahadev Temple is a must-see destination for anyone who wants to witness the artistic excellence and cultural richness of ancient India. The temple showcases the nagara-style features, such as curvilinear spires (shikharas), ornate platforms (jagatis), interconnected spaces (mandapas), vestibules (antaralas), sanctums (garbhagrihas), circumambulatory paths (pradakshinas), projecting windows (jharokhas), and subsidiary shrines (urushringas).
The temple also displays a variety of sculptures that depict sacred and secular themes, such as deities, celestial beings, mythical creatures, warriors, musicians, dancers, animals, plants, erotic scenes, and geometric patterns.
Visitors can explore the temple at their own pace or take a guided tour that explains the history and symbolism of the temple. Visitors can also admire the natural beauty of the surroundings that include hills, forests, lakes, and rivers. Visitors can also participate in various cultural events and festivals that take place at the temple throughout the year, such as Shivaratri Festival in February-March that celebrates Shiva’s marriage to Parvati;
Holi Festival in March that marks the arrival of spring with colors; Ram Navami Festival in April that commemorates Rama’s birth; Dussehra Festival in October that celebrates Rama’s victory over Ravana; Diwali Festival in November that signifies the triumph of light over darkness; and Makar Sankranti Festival in January that marks the transition of the sun into Capricorn.
How to Reach Khandarya Mahadev Temple
Khandarya Mahadev Temple can be easily reached by air, rail or road from various parts of India. The nearest airport is Khajuraho Airport (IATA Code: HJR), which is about 9 km away from the temple complex. The airport has flights to Delhi, Agra,
- A: The nearest airport is Khajuraho Airport (IATA Code: HJR), which is about 9 km away from the temple complex. The airport has flights to Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Mumbai. From the airport, one can take a taxi or a bus to reach the temple.
- The nearest railway station is Khajuraho Railway Station, which is about 6 km away from the temple complex. The railway station has trains to Delhi, Agra, Jhansi, Bhopal and Udaipur. From the railway station, one can take a taxi or a bus to reach the temple.
- The temple complex is also well connected by road to various cities and towns in Madhya Pradesh and neighboring states. There are regular buses and taxis available from places like Jhansi, Chhatarpur, Satna, Panna, Bhopal and Indore.
Significance of Khandarya Mahadev Temple
Khandarya Mahadev Temple is one of the most significant monuments of Indian art and culture. It represents the peak of nagara-style temple architecture and sculpture that flourished under the Chandela dynasty in the 11th century CE. The temple is dedicated to Shiva, the Great God of the Cave, and is considered one of the best examples of temples preserved from the medieval period in India.
The temple showcases the artistic creativity and technical skill of the master craftsmen who carved intricate and expressive sculptures on stone surfaces. The temple also conveys the worldview and values of the ancient society that celebrated life in all its aspects, including spirituality, love, war, music, dance, and nature.
The temple is also significant for its historical and archaeological value. It is one of the 14 temples in the western cluster of the Khajuraho group of monuments, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the four temples that contain a shikhara or spire above its sanctum, which is a unique feature of nagara-style temples. The temple also provides insights into the Chandela dynasty and its patronage of art and culture. The temple also reveals the influence of various regional and foreign styles and motifs on Indian art and architecture.
Q: Who built Khandarya Mahadev Temple?
A: Khandarya Mahadev Temple was built by Vidyadhara, one of the most powerful rulers of the Chandela dynasty. He ruled from 1003 CE to 1035 CE and fought against Mahmud of Ghazni in two battles. He was also a patron of art and culture and commissioned many temples and monuments in his kingdom.
Q: Why are Khandarya Mahadev Temple famous for erotic sculptures?
A: Khandarya Mahadev Temple is famous for erotic sculptures that depict various forms of sexual union between couples. These sculptures are found mostly on the outer walls of the temple and constitute about 10% of the total sculptures in Khajuraho. There are various interpretations and explanations for these erotic sculptures. Some scholars suggest that they represent tantric practices that aim at achieving spiritual liberation through sexual energy. Some others suggest that they symbolize fertility and procreation that ensure continuity of life. Some others suggest that they illustrate kama (pleasure), one of the four goals of human life according to Hindu philosophy. Some others suggest that they serve as a contrast to dharma (duty) and moksha (salvation), which are depicted inside the temple.
Q: How tall is Khandarya Mahadev Temple?
A: Khandarya Mahadev Temple is about 31 meters (102 feet) tall from its base to its topmost spire. It is the tallest temple in Khajuraho and one of the tallest temples in India.
Khandarya Mahadev Temple is a masterpiece of nagara-style temple architecture and sculpture that showcases the artistic excellence and cultural richness of ancient India. The temple was built by Vidyadhara in the 11th century CE and is dedicated to Shiva, the Great God of the Cave. The temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that depict various aspects of life, such as worship, love, war, music, dance, and nature. The temple is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to witness the glory and beauty of Indian art and culture.