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Khajuraho Tourism

Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho



lakshman-temple-khajurahoLakshman Temple : This striking temple stands facing the Varaha and Devi mandaps. lt is one of the.three largest temples of Khajuraho and the Western Group and is considered to be the earliest (c. AD 954) to have been built by the Chandella rulers.

The temple faces the east and is dedicated to Vishnu, by a rather inappropriate name of Lakshman, the brother of Ram, the hero king ofthe epic poem Ramayana. The temple is as tall as it is long, measuring approximately 25.9 metres in lengtlh. lt 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 (in pradakshina with the right shoulder nearest the temple wall), the band of sculptures unfold 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 of musicians, a child dancing before the king, a hunting incident in which a wounded deer is being mourned by its fawn as the hunter kneels with his bow and arrow, one of a hunter on horseback pursuing his hapless prey. The remainder of the panel, as it waves around the Lakshman Temple, depicts caparisoned horses and riders, warring elephant and processions of soldiers.

Lakshman Temple KhajurahoThe lakshman Temple stands like a gaint mountain of stone at the centre, and is unique in khajuraho for its four subsidiary shrines at the four corners of its rectangular platform. Each Subsidairy shrine has a little porch, band of scultpure along the esterior walls.
Once gain you must walk in pradakshina around the Lakshman Temple to see the abundance of sculptural masterpieces on its outer walls. Starting on the south side you will see that the exterior temple wall is divided into several bands, the lowest, the adhishthana, is the base of the temple. The Lakshan Temple is the only one with a row of elephants that peep out of the base as if they are carrying the weight of the stone universe on their stable shoulders. Between the elephants are warriors protecting the temple: on the north side one elephant has forsaken his duty and naughtily gazes at s couple making love. Above the elephants, the moulded adhishthana has flower and leaf motifs, a narrow panel depicting court life and erotic scenes. This tall base of the temple is punctuated by ornamental niches, with an adorable figure of dancing Ganesh in the first followed by images of the seven principal male deities of the Hindu Pantheon and ending on the north side with a gorgeous image of the goddess. Above the adhishthana are two bands offigurative sculptures that wind in and around the projections and corners ofthe temple. lt is estimated that there are over 230 figurative sculptures on these bands and each band is about a metre high. There are images of the dikhpalas placed at and facing the ditections that they Protect. One band has figures of Vishnu Rhile another has those of shiva. Beside the deities are the voluptuous figures of women, each engaged in some worldly activity before she realizes the presence of the divine surrounding her. These figures, which have earned Khajuraho its fame, are exquisite portrayals of womn attired in traditional
costume, flinsy fine textiles wound around the waist while the torso and arms and neck are adorned only in jewellery. There are ladies applying make-up, taking off their clothes, gazing into a lnirror. On the Western corner, before you turn north, is a seduct'ive woman scrubbing her arched back . Beside her are two women with their backs turned to the audience watering a holy plant, at the corner is an elegant young woman who has lifted up her foot ,hat is being inspected by an attendant carrying a satchel.

The large erotic sculptures adorning the main body of the temple are placed, as in all the other temples in Khajuraho, on the south and north sides, between the two balconies. On the south side (also seen from the staircase of the Matangeshvar Temple) the top panel depicts a bearded god, identified as Agni; beneath is the figure of the divine bridegroom walking in procession accompanied by musicians. Belo, on the lower panel is Shiva with his top-knot still secure, embracing his wife Parvati and sharing a passionate kiss that has lasted a thousand god years!

The temple has only one entrance on the east side, Set at the top of the stairs. The porch has a pretty toran or stone garland above the enttance. Cemented along the porch wall is the Challdella stone inscription found in the vicinity of tlhe temple. The inscription, written in AD 954, records that Yashovarman, the seventh Chandella ruler, constructed a temple to Vishnu and was succeeded by his son Dhangadeva. It is therefore assumed that Lakshman Temple was built just before AD 954
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