From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
The Candella dynasty which ruled over Jejaka bhukti the present day Bundelkhand of Madhya Pradesh from the 9th to the 14th centuries has left a large number of beautiful temples built around CE 1000. These temples are situated near Khajurāho, a village close to Chatarpur, about 45 km. (28 miles) from it. These temples belong to not only the people following Śaivism and Vaiṣṇavism but also to Jainism.
Characteristics of Mahādeva Temple
The temples are in two rows. The largest and the best of these is the Kandariya Mahādeva temple of Lord Śiva. The peculiarities of the temple is as follows:
- It is built on a platform which is 8.6 meters (28.5 ft.) above the ground level.
- The temple is 32.7 meters (109 ft.) long and 18 meters (60 ft.) wide.
- The height of the gopuram is 35 meters (116 ft.) above the ground level.
- An important characteristic of this temple is a duplication of the vimāna from the flat roof of the mukhamaṇtapa (entrance) on all the sides until the central and real roof of the main shrine is reached.
- Each succeeding vimāna is bigger than the preceding one.
- The final vimāna is akin to that of the Liṅgarāja temple of Bhubaneśvar in Orissa.
- It has a very large number of erotic sculptures on the outside, in various postures, which is rather intriguing.
Characteristics of Viṣṇu Temple
The peculiarities of Viṣṇu temple is as follows:
- It is 25 1/2 meters (85 ft.) by 13 meters (44 ft.).
- It is based on the pañcāyatana principle.
- It has five shrines.
- The idol of Viṣṇu with four arms is very beautiful.
The general peculiarities of the temples found here include:
- All the temples have one entrance gradually leading to:
- Main maṇṭapa (or hall)
- Garbhagṛha - sanctum
- There is also a passage round the main sanctum for pradakṣiṇā or circumambulation.
- There are also six Jain temples usually 18 meters (60 ft.) by 9 meters (30 ft.).
- The jain temples are simpler in structure though beautiful.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore