Kandariya Mahadev Temple at World Heritage Khajuraho

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Kandariya Mahadev temple at Khajuraho is the epitome of the North Indian Temple structure fashion. It’s a 10-11th CE gem left to us by the then-ruling Chandela dynasty. Chandela kingdom was known as Jejahuti with its capital at Khajuraho or Kharjuravahaka.

Kandariya Mahadev Mandir
Panorama view of the Mandir, Picture – Shutterstock

10-11th CE India has seen a number of the finest examples of Indian Temple Structure throughout geographies and types. This consists of Brihdeeshwara Temple in Thanjavur, Hoysala Temples in Karnataka, Solar Temple at Modhera, and Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar.

Historical past of Kandariya Mahadev Temple

As per an inscription discovered on the mandapa of the temple, it was constructed through the reign of King Vidyadhara who reigned through the early a part of eleventh CE. He’s finest recognized for combating the primary invasion by Ghazni. Ghazni returned after a number of years and fought one other inconclusive battle. As per some sources, this temple was constructed to have a good time the defeat of Ghazni.

Temple was constructed between 1025-50 CE.

Kandariya Mahadev Temple at Khajuraho
A more in-depth have a look at the favored temple in Khajuraho

Additionally it is attainable that it was certainly conceptualized by Vishwanatha – the predecessor of Vidyadhara. It was devoted to Shiva, the household deity of the Chandelas. Anyway, the temple belongs to a interval that may simply be known as the golden period of Indian Temple Structure.

Since 1986, Khajuraho temples are a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.


Kandariya comes from the phrase Kandara which refers back to the caves on the mountain tops. So, Kandariya Mahadev can merely imply the cave of Mahadev or the lord of the caves.

It’s mentioned that together with Matangeswar and Vishwanath temples, Kandariya Mahadev temple completes a trinity of three main Shiva temples of Khajuraho. The three Devi temples belonging to Chausath Yogini, Chhatri Devi, and Jagadambi type the opposite intersecting triangle. Collectively these 6 temples type a Yantra or a sacred diagram as outlined on this paper.

Visiting Kandariya Mahadev Temple

I bear in mind standing in entrance of the temple early morning one winter. Solar rays have been taking part in with the contours of the temple. You possibly can nearly hear their morning dialog.

Shimmering Kandariya Mahadev Temple
Shimmering Temple within the morning

The temple shimmered with the primary rays of the solar falling on it. It didn’t seem like it’s carved in stone. It seemed to be made in sandalwood, with tremendous shades of pale pink showing and disappearing with solar rays.

I sensed a rhythm within the structure of the temple. If it have been the right proportions of the Jagati, Mandapa, and Shikhara, or did the builders use the right components to re-create the Kailash Parvat of Mahadev? I have no idea. I solely keep in mind that I had tears in my eyes as some resonance passed off between me and the temple.

It modified my relationship with temples perpetually. I’ve talked about it in my e book Lotus In The Stone – Sacred Journeys in Everlasting India.

The prior night, I had seen this temple come alive through the gentle and sound present. I may see its exterior magnificence then however, within the morning, it was the rhythm in its type that struck a chord deep inside.


This temple like most different temples of Khajuraho is product of Sandstone. Stone got here in numerous shades of pink and yellow from the close by quarry at Panna on the banks of Ken River.

Architecture of Kandariya Mahadev Temple
The structure of Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Picture – Wikimedia and Tangopaso 

It is part of the western group of temples at Khajuraho, and it stands freely on a tall platform. There isn’t a prakara or wall of any sort. It means that you can have a very good 360 deg view of the temple as you stroll round. It shares the Jagati or the platform with two different temples – a smaller one devoted to Shiva and the opposite greater one devoted to Devi Jagadambi.

Greatest Temple at Khajuraho

It seems a quite compact temple, although it’s the greatest temple on campus. Constructed on an East-West axis, it measures 30.5 meters in size and 20 meters in width. It’s 31 meters in top and stands on a Jagati that’s 4 meters excessive. It has all the weather of a typical Hindu temple.

Three temples of Khajuraho on Jagati
Kandariya Mahadev, Shiva and Jagadambi Temple

You enter via the Ardha Mandapa or the doorway that leads you to Mandapa or the corridor. An Antrala or a vestibule connects the mandapa to the garbh-griha or the sanctum. A Parikrama path or an ambulatory path goes across the sanctum.

Rhythm of Shikhara

Shikhara of this temple is what provides it the rhythm. It’s composed of 84 impartial Shikhara, every replicating the opposite, however growing in dimension as you progress up. It creates a pile that results in the highest. In a method, it recreates the Kailasha Parvat – the favourite abode of Shiva. Is it the best way to make Shiva really feel that he’s at residence – perhaps?

Mandapa is definitely known as Mahamandapa because it has corridors with home windows searching. Home windows sits on the projections popping out in three instructions, the 2 sides and the again of the temple. Inside you have got platforms the place you may sit. One wonders if these have been used for meditation or rituals.

Outer Partitions

Moldings on the outer partitions are filled with ornate sculptures. These embrace processions of elephants, horses, musicians, dancers, on a regular basis life, and erotica.

Erotica on walls of Kandariya Mahadev Temple
Sculptures on the Outer Partitions on the intersection of Mandapa and Garbhagriha

Larger and extra specific sculptures could be seen on the three bands working on the window stage. It has sculptures of Devi Devatas however being a Shiva temple, he dominates alongside along with his consorts and even Saptamatrikas. Different sculptures embrace Sur Sundaris or auspicious girls, erotica primarily on the junction of Garbhgriha and mandapa, and figures of Nagas and Vyalas.

Sur Sundaris on outer walls
Sur Sundaris on Outer Partitions of Temple

Sculptures of ladies on the outer partitions of this temple are essentially the most developed, with excellent physique proportions. The curves are highlighted via Tribhangi Mudras or the physique posture that bends at three locations. The jewellery and the tremendous clothes of those collectible figurines will go away you mesmerized.

Contained in the temple

On the entrance an beautiful Makar Toran or an arch with the crocodile ending welcomes you. Toran is carved in a single stone. Kandariya Mahadev is the one temple in Khajuraho with two Makar Torans.

A view of the ornately carved ceiling of the temple
A view of the ornately carved ceiling of the temple

The ceilings of the mandapa are product of concentric circles carved in stone, all of them profusely carved. To me, they’re a number of the most great engineering marvels that present us the most effective mix of precision and aesthetics.

The pillars right here have floral scrolls carved on them.

There are as many as 646 sculptures on the outer partitions and 226 on the inside partitions of the temple, as per George Michell.

Can we make it a working towards temple?

Kandariya Mahadev temple is devoted to Shiva because the title itself signifies. It isn’t a working towards temple in the intervening time. I sincerely hope that Pran Pratishthha could be carried out and this temple could be made a residing temple as soon as once more.

Books could be written about its magnificence, and pictures, and movies can go away us in awe. Nonetheless, what issues is that the divine vitality of the temple is revived so that each customer can profit from it.

As Sthapati Ponni Selvanathan explains to us, the renovation or Jeernodhar of deserted temples is duly talked about in our shastras.

That is temple is vital not simply from an architectural perspective but in addition vital by way of preserving the sacred geography of Khajuraho. It’s the final gem from the golden period of Indian Temple Structure. The least we will do is to maintain it alive.

Journey Suggestions

You may go to the Temple from dawn to sundown on all days.

Khajuraho has an airport, some railway connectivity, and good highway connectivity from Jhansi.

The temple is part of the western group of temples in Khajuraho. When you attain Khajuraho, all roads would lead you to this place.

There are inns of each vary accessible in Khajuraho. We stayed on the MP tourism property which is situated very near the temples. It’s straightforward to stroll to the temples early morning from right here.

Being a well-liked vacation spot with worldwide vacationers, international delicacies is definitely accessible within the streets of Khajuraho.

You may spend 1-2 days seeing all of the temples. I’d recommend maintaining at the least an hour for the temple go to.

Being a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, tour guides and audio guides are simply accessible. My suggestion is to choose up the ASI information and stroll round at your individual tempo.

Images is allowed in most locations.

We extremely suggest the Gentle and sound present within the night.

You may go to Panna Nationwide Park, Orchha, and Jhansi together with Khajuraho.



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