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Khajuraho Tourism

Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Khajuraho

khandariya-temple-khajurahoKandariya Mahadev Temple : This is without any doubt the largest and most magnificent temple in Khajuraho. The elegant proportions of this building and its sculptural detailing are the most refined examples of this artistice heritage of central India.
Kandariya Mahadev shares its high platform with the small Mahadev shrine and the medium - sized Devi jagdambi Temple, thereby accentuating its height and grandeur. As far as we know, after the Kandariya Mahaddev temple, the artist of khajuraho never again attempted to build a strcuture so high or ornate. The temple measures about 30 metres in lenght and 20 m width. The temple shikhara rises 35.3 metres in length.
The temple shikhara rises 35.3 Detres above the ground. from the east side it looks like a huge mountain of stone with a dark cave-like opening set high above the ground. The temple measures about 30 metres in length and cave-like opening Set high above the ground. The name Kandaya Mahadev refers also to Shiva, the ascetic who dwells in a mountain cave, lost in meditation. In profile the pyramidal porch, mandap roofs and conical shikhara looks like a range of mountain staraining upwards till it meets the sky, or shiva. The shikhara of the kandariya Mahadev Temples is borad at the base and in graceful curve grow narrower as it reaches the pinnacle. It is built up of over righty replica shikharas that appear to be clambering up the central tower, giving it bothe force and momnetum on its skyward journey towards divinity.

The Plan of the Mahadev Temple is similar to the Lakshman and Vishvanath Temples with all the rooms aligned east to west on a central axis. Two balconies project on the south and north sides giving the shape of a double Cross. The double cross plan deterined that the temple had no st'raight sides and extended the tall surface to give the artists litlerally hundreds of metres of wall space to decorate with bands of sculptures.
kandariya-temple-khajurahoPerform the pradakshina of the temple platform to see the exquisite sculptures on the exterior wall. The adhisthana or base of the temple is three metres high and made up of a series of architectural mouldings. On this area of the building thre is a narrow band depicting court life. the nine niches around the temple contain images of Ganesh, the seven mother goddesses or sapta Matrikas. Especially beaut'iful, but unfortunately badly damaged, is the skeletal for a danc'ing Chamunda, and the last niche has the majtstic image of Virabhadra..Above the adhishthana, the central wall space of the temple is designed with three bands of sculpture, each one a metre high. On the projections of the walls are the figures of the deities; principally of Shiva attired as a bridegroom. Beside him are lovely figures of women engaged in everyday activities. On the sout east project'ion a woman engaged in everyday activities. On the southeast projection a woman plays with a ball, another streches her love-tired linbs, another gazes into a mirror. the erotic panels on all three bands of the south and north sides are exceptional in the Kandariya Mahadev Temple.
On the South side the couples are kissing, their bodies entwined in such a perfect union that one can cannot tell the arms and legs of one partner apart from the other. The stances of love making scenes on the north side are more elaborate, often acrobatic and symbolic.

The darker recesses of the wall surface are inhabited by protective creatures, mythical beings fighting the forces of evil and naginis, serpent queens folding their hands in prayer and blessing. high above these bands of sculpture the shihhara rises toward the sky, towering and dwarfing the human beings below. The play of sunlight over the wall surface Creates a rippling effect, casting deep shadows in some areas and bathing others and the sculpture within them in pure light. The design of the temple is therefore entirely symbolic of spiritual progress which is understood as the movement from the mundane to the sacred, from the darkness of ignorance to the eternal light of wisdom. The entrance to the temple is to the east, and a flight of stairs elevates you high above the ground. The porch has an exceptionally beautiful entrance toran. The toran is designed like a garland of flowers strung across the door way to make your entrance both auspicious and hallowed. The garland has been carved out of a single stone and draped with loops from one side of the doorway to the other. The toran stems out of the mouths of makaras, ever-watchful mythical crocodiles, and within the folds of the garland are tiny Hng nlxnphs who See@ to be carrying it across the heavens. Within the temple is the porch (the mandap and maha-mandap), the inner prdakshina path around the Sanctum, and every section.of these walls is covtred wit'h sculptures. A large temple like th Kandariya Mahadev is esti3ated tO have over 870 large sculptures on its exterior and interior walls, each one about metre high.
Even the inner roofs of the porch and mandap are worthy of admiration and are created like great upside down pools with flower and leaf motifs. The doorway of the sanctun is profusely decorated with narrow panels of images. The central lintel carries the seated figure of Shiva holding a trident and snake, Vishnu is seated to his left and Brahma to the right. Within the dark, unadorned garbha griha or womb chapber stands the creative symbol of Shiva, the linga.

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