Khajuraho Travel Guide
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Western Group of Temples

On the main road, beside the path leading to the Matangeshvar Temple is the A.S.I counter where you must purchase a ticket to visit the western group of temples in this complex and the museum on the opposite side. A boundary wall surrounds and protects the temples within this large rectangular complex and there is only one entry point (see page 33 Plan of the Western Group of Temples). Here at the Western Group you will see some of the most sensational temples in the world.

DEVI MANDAP : Opposite the large Lakshman Temple are two small shrines. The one directly opposite is called Devi Mandap, its cemented peaked roof an indication that it has been renovated during the last century.

VARAHA MANDAP : This open pavilion stands to the south of the Devi shrine on a high platform. The mandap stands elevated above the ground with 14 short pillars that support the high pyramidal roof capped with an amalaka and kalash.

As you ascend the stairs and enter, the beauty of this little pavilion become evident. A low parapet wall forms the side of the mandap, and here you can sit on the soft smoothened stone and admire the image of Varaha. Directly under the pyramidal roof stands an enormous monolithic image of the Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu, lord of preservation. The image is made out of a single block of sandstone that measures 2.6 metres long and 1.7 metres high.

Lakshmana Temple : King of the epic poem Ramayana. The temple is as tall as it is long, measuring approximately 25.9 metres in length. It is raised on a high platform which also has some interesting sculptures (royal processions, court scenes) that  you can see before ascending the temple stairs. Moving always around a temple in a clockwise direction, the band of sculptures unford like an never-ending picture scroll. Along the narrow southeast side passage are erotic panels of sexual rituals of a man engaged in intercourse with a horse, a regal lord being fanned by a female attendant and other court scenes. There is a lively scene musicians, a child dancing before the king, a hunting incident in  which his bow and arrow, one of a hunter on horseback pursuing his hapless prey. The remainder of the panel, as it weaves around the Lakshman Temple, depicts caparisoned horses and riders, warring elephants and processions of soldiers.

The Lakshman Temple stands like a giant mountain of stone at the center, and is unique in Khajuraho for its four subsidiary shrines at the four corners of its rectangular platform. Each subsidiary shrine has a little porch, bands of sculpture along the exterior walls.

Kandariya Mahadev Temple : It is undisputedly largest and most magnificent temple in Khajuraho. The elegant proportions of this building and its sculptural detailing are the most refined examples of the artistic heritage of Central India.

Kandariya Mahadev shares its high platform with the small Mahadev shrine and the medium-sized Devi Jagadambi Temple, thereby accentuating its height and grandeur. As far as we know, after the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, the artists of Khajuraho never again attempted to build a structure so high or ornate. Height of temple is 30 meter high and 20 meters wide. The temple shikhara rises 35.3 meters above the ground. From the east it looks like a huge mountain of stone with a dark cave-like opening set high above the ground. The name Kandariya Mahadev refers also to Shiva, the ascetic who dwells in a mountain cave, lost in meditation.