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Introduction of Khajuraho

Located in the provincial state of Madhya Pradesh India., 

Khajuraho is known the world over for its temples, sex, architecture and sculpture. 
The construction of these Temples are thousand-year old  took a little over two centuries, in terms of architecture of these temples, they form the high peak of the north Indian 'nagara' style. 

Of the 85 temples believed to have been built between the 9th and 12th centuries only 20 have survived, many in splendid condition, others having given way to the ravages of time and nature. Close to and around Khajuraho is forest land; a small clearing houses a village populated by no more than 3,000 residents, but visited each year by tourists from all over the world. Hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops mark the entrances to the two distinctive groups of temples; little boys switch from Spanish to French to German in rapid succession as they peddle handicrafts or mineral water; signboards, too, are posted in various languages, and the villagers now
seldom bother to look up when they hear the thunder of airplanes overhead. 

The hub of tourist activity are the temples built by the Chandela Rajputs, who can be traced as descendants of the moon god. The head of the clan is believed to have been a valiant warrior who fought lions bare-handed 
(hence the emblem, frequently seen at the temples, of a warrior grappling with a lion); he is said to have ordered the building of the temples as a means of salvation for his mother, Hemvati, who was ravished by the Moon god. 

The spate of temple- building which began about the middle of the 9th century and continued until the early 12th century must have used the skills of thousands of sculptors, architects and masons; unfortunately, there is almost no record of this activity in the annals of Indian history. By the time the last temple was completed the Chandela dynasty had sunk into oblivion.

Khajuraho was the Chandela capital for only a brief period; they ruled for the most part from Kalinjar and other parts of the Bundelkhand region, with Khajuraho remaining their religious center. The most important aspect of the temples is the abundance of sculptures that decorate the facades and interiors of the shrines. In this profusion of images attention has understandably been paid to divinities, less Understandably to celestial beauties and the female form in general and, controversially, to graphic sexual representations. 

Over the years a number of explanations have been forthcoming for the presence of erotic sculptures at what was essentially a religious centre; no single theory, however, has been able to justify their profuse expression. Were these temple centres of tantrik mysticism, which cites sex as an important component of human development towards the Absolute  or were they merely a reactionary swing away from the austerities preached by the Buddha? Perhaps the answer can be found as excavations in the region continue, but this much is certain: Buddhism did at one time have a strong presence here, just as tantric rituals enjoyed a wide adulation during the medieval period.
 

Khajuraho Introduction from Rajesh Chopra
As Chandela power diminished, the importance of their sometime-capital also waned. Its heavily forested terrain could not provide much revenue, and served to deter invading Muslim armies (for whom the temples were of little interest, while the sculptures could only have appeared offensivethey certainly did to T. S. Burt, the British engineer who is credited with their 'discovery' in the mid-19th century). 

The temples were never, so to say, lost', for villagers and tribal inhabitants of the region were familiar with them; they continued to use one temple in particular  Matangeshwar Mahadev  for worship, especially on the occasion of Shivratri. While early travelers such as Alberuni and lbn Batuta had reported the presence of the temples, they were not dwelt upon in depth, possibly because of there being abandoned and overgrown by bushes and weeds. Burt announced their presence to the world, and the first major data on them was collected by General Alexander Cunningham in his Survey of India reports. Early this century there was some interest in the temples, but their inaccessibility made their study and regular travel to the site impossible. 

Over the years,  roads were laid and the minimal facilities provided; then, a couple of decades ago, the first luxury hotel project revived interest in the region, and the resurrection of Khajuraho began.

List of Khajuraho Hotels.....

Facts about Khajuraho
Situated in the heart of Central India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a fascinating village with a quaint rural ambience and a rich cultural heritage. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization.

Khajuraho temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D. during the reign of Chandel Empire. Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area. These temples are considered the "high point" of Indian architectural genius in the Medieval period. 

    The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples and is well-known for erotic sculptures adorning the temples. 
    The name Khajuraho is derived from the Hindi word 'khajur', which means 'date palm'. 
    It was during the reign of Chandel Empire, between 950 and 1050 AD, that Khajuraho temples were constructed.
    Earlier, there were about 85 Hindu temples at Khajuraho, which degenerated due to the ravages of the nature. There are only about 22 Hindu temples left now.
    It was only in the 20th century that Khajuraho temples were rediscovered and preserved. 
    These temples are considered the "high point" of Indian architectural genius during the medieval times. 
    Khajuraho temples are divided into three geographical divisions - western, eastern and southern.
    The Western group is home to the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple, dedicated to Kandariya Mahadev. 
    The fascinating temples of Khajuraho represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. They comprise of one of the top tourist attractions of India. 
    It is wrongly believed that Khajuraho temples are filled with erotic sculpture. Erotic scenes represent a relatively small part of the carvings, but sensuous eroticism prevails in all the sculptures.
    Archeological Survey of India has ranked Khajuraho temples as the best preserved monuments of antiquity. 
    A few of the temples in Khajuraho are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to Hindu deities - to God's Trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and various Devi forms, such as the Devi Jagadambi.
    Mostly, the temples are built of sandstone, with varying shades of buff, pink and pale yellow.
    The divine sculptures in Khajuraho temples are a tribute to Life itself, embodying everything that is sublime and spontaneous about it. 
    The images of Goddesses and Gods sculpted on the temple walls represent the many manifestations of the divine Shakti and Shiva, the female and male principles, the Yin and the Yang. 
    The inside of the temple has rooms that are inter-connected and placed in an East/West line. Each contains an entrance, a hall, a vestibule and a sanctum. Windows have been added to the larger temples, probably to add a feeling of space and light.
    Khajuraho temples, constructed with spiral superstructures, adhere to a North Indian shikhara temple style and often to a Panchayatana plan.


Khajuraho Dance Festival
Held every year from 25th February to 2nd March, Khajuraho Dance Festival takes place at the open-air auditorium in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to the Sun God and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. They are situated in the Western Group of temples, which is the largest, well maintained and most easily accessible temple group of Khajuraho. Started regularly since 2002, this weeklong festival has already become legendary with its outlandish classical dance performances presented in a dreamlike setting of splendidly illuminated temples. Khajuraho temples present sculptures depicting various skills and arts of courtly love including dance and music in stone and what venue can be more befitting to hold the cultural festival highlighting the various classical dances of India! 

Some of the best artists and performers that have marked themselves in their fields come from the various states of India to participate in the festival and the performances including some of the best known dance styles such as the intricate footwork of Kathak, highly stylized and sophisticated Bharathanatyam, soft lyrical temple dance of Odissi, the dance dramas of Kuchipudi, Manipuri, the dance of rare and ancient civilization and Kathakali stage fights with elaborate masks. Recently, modern Indian dances have also found their place in the Khajuraho Dance festival. Along with the dance performances one can also see a number of craftsmen trading off their indigenous arts and crafts to the visitors

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