Maharajas' Express Blog

Khajuraho – Maharajas’ Express Tour

Khajuraho-21“A UNESCO world heritage site, Khajuraho is a poem etched in stone celebrating human passion. It is a famous archaeological site known for its sculpted temples dedicated to the Lord Shiva, Vishnu and the Jain patriarchs.

The Chandela Kings from the 9th to the 11th centuries erected a flourishing empire which included all of modern day Madhya Pradesh. Khajuraho encompassed 21 sq kilometres and housed 85 temples built by different rulers between 950 and 1050. As recorded by the visiting historian Ibn Batuta, the religious importance of Khajuraho continued till the 14th century. After this period it went into a decline and was soon forgotten. Its geographical remoteness probably accounted for the fact that it was saved from the desecration that followed, by the Mughal rulers. It was rediscovered in 1838 by a British army captain called TS Burt who was employed by the Asiatic society in Calcutta.

Of the 65 original temples mostly constructed of hard river sandstone, about 20 remain in fairly good condition. Both internally and externally the temples are covered in sensual and at times sexually explicit sculptures. The temples can be divided into three complexes. The best known and largest containing the magnificent Shaivite temple Kandariya Mahadev which is a 31 meter high collection of porches and trivets crowned by a spire.

The temples of Khajuraho are a testimony to the artistic excellence of India in the 10th and 11th centuries.They reflects the architectural genius of the Chandela dynasty. The passion that inspired the temples is evident in its architectural creativity. The 85 temples were built in the North Indian Nagara style of architecture. The western and eastern temples are the most celebrated.

The myth that surrounds the temples accounts for their other worldliness. It is believed that in a fit of passion and lust, the Moon God seduced a beautiful Brahmin girl called Hemvati, resulting in the birth of Chandravarman- the founder of the Chandela dynasty. Later Chandravarman had a dream in which his mother instructed him to reveal all aspects of passion and erotic fantasy in the world through temple sculptures.

Khajuraho is the one place on earth where human and divine love coalesces. It is a must see for anyone visiting India and what better way to do it than from the comfort of the world’s top luxury train Maharajas’ Express on its Indian Panorama itinerary. “