The temples at Khajuraho are divided into three broad
1. The Western Group, which is the largest, compact and centrally located group in Khajuraho, includes some of the most prominent monuments, built by the Chandela rulers.
2. The Eastern Group, which comprises of five detached sub-groups in and around the present village of Khajuraho, and
3. The Southern Group, which is the most distant one comprising of two main monuments near and across the Khudarnala.
The Western Group of Temples
The western group of temples, which the visitor encounters first, is situated along the main approach road to Khajuraho. This is the largest and most important group with most of its constituent temples laid out roughly in two rows. The Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple form one complex and the Visvanatha and Nandi temples are not far from this complex. These temples form an irregular row running north-south, while the Chitragupta, Jagadambi and the Kandariya Mahadeva temples form a more regular, parallel row, about a furlong to their west.
The western group of monuments is best maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India amidst a setting of green lawns, colourful shrubs and flowerbeds. Admission to its enclosure is regulated by a ticket of small denomination, valid from sunrise to sunset. The monuments of the group face east and are arranged in two rough alignments, running north south.
The Eastern Group of Temples
The eastern group of monuments, situated in close proximity to the Khajuraho village, includes three Brahmanical temples known as Brahma, Vamana and Javari and three Jain temples, the Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath. The Brahmanical temples are located along or near the Khajuraho-Sagar, while the Jain temples are situated farther south and are conveniently approached by a metalled road.
The Southern Group of Temples
The southern group of monuments comprises the Duladeo and the Chaturbhuja temples. The Duladeo is about a kilometre south of the Khajuraho village and half a mile southwest of the Jain group of temples. The Chaturbhuja Temple is a mile further south and is close to the Khajuraho airport.
PRIME TEMPLES AT KHAJURAO
(Built in circa AD 900-925, during the reign of Harshadeva) This small rectangular temple, built on a rock foundation, faces the southeastern portion of the Lakshmana Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple has a 'phamsana' (pyramidal) roof of receding tiers, supported on twelve pillars, there being a short frontal projection, supported on two other pillars, which serves as the entrance.
The shrine is devoid of 'jagati' (platform) and stands on a 10 feet high plain plinth of which the lower half is made of granite ashlars and the upper half of sandstone. It is approached by a flight of steps of which the three upper courses are of sandstone, and the remaining of granite. It is a simple rectangular pavilion with a projection in the west; the whole enclosed by a plain parapet originally mounted by an ornate balustrade. The 'asanapatta' (seat-slab) of the parapet supports the fourteen pillars. The shafts of the pillars are octagonal below, sixteen-sided in the middle and circular above, carrying a plain circular capital, surmounted by plain brackets of the curved profile with a vaulted top of the type found in the subsidiary shrines of the Lakshmana Temple.
The Colossal Image Of The 'Boar Incarnation'
The image together with its pedestal is carved out of one piece of yellow sandstone and is exquisitely finished to a glossy lustre. The colossal Varaha is s powerfully modelled sculpture of a boar decorated all over with neat rows of figures of gods and goddesses totalling 674 executed in relief. On the front of the muzzle between the two nostrils is depicted four-armed Saraswati seated in 'lalitasana' holding 'veena' in one pair of hands and lotus and book in the other. The nine planets divided into groups of four and five are carved respectively on the right and left sides of the muzzle below the ears.
Water-divinities riding on 'makaras' and carrying water jars are carved on the hoofs to represent the rise of the boar from the waters and the 'Dikpalas' are figures on the legs to suggest the cosmic character of the deity. The tail end of the serpent, which was described by Cunningham as supporting the Boar's tail, is now mutilated. To the mouth end of the serpent is attached a mutilated dwarf figure with a peculiar head which may represent Garuda.
On the proper left of this dwarf figure occurs two ornamented female feet of probably Bhudevi (the earthy-goddess). The left tusk of the Boar is chipped off together with the main figure of Bhudevi, which it should have supported. One of Bhudevi's arms was also intact, resting against the Boar's neck till 1838, but only slight traces of it have now survived.
Externally the pillar brackets support a ribbed awning, which is surmounted by a few simple mouldings. The pyramidal roof comprises nine stepped 'kapota'-shaped tiers separated by plain recessed courses. The neck is surmounted by crowning members comprising a pair of 'chandrikas' (capstones) a plain 'amalaka' (cogged wheel), a capstone and a 'kalasa' (pitcher).
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