Western group of temples, Khajuraho: Lakshmana Temple

Khajurao temples are located in the  Chhatarpur district, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Khajuraho group of temples were built during the rule of the Rajput Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD.

The Khajurao temples are famous for their Nagara style of architecture , their erotic sculptures and belong to the traditional religions of Hinduism and Jainism. Khajuraho temples were in active use through the end of 12th century. However, Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom in the 13th century. 13th  – 18th century, these temples were destroyed under Muslim rulers and neglected.

In the 1830s, a British surveyor, T.S. Burt discovered the temples with the help of locals.

Out of 85 temples originally built over an area of 20 km, 22 temples have survived and restored. They are classified under three groups  – the western group, the eastern group and the southern group.

In this post, I will be covering the Lakshmana temple which is part of the western group of temples and is one of the three biggest in Khajuraho.

Some interesting things to know:
  1. The temple although named Lakshmana ( brother of Hindu god Rama in Ramayana) is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu.
  2. The temple faces east like all Khajuraho temples.
  3. The temple was built by Chandela king Yashovarman between 930 – 950 AD.
  4. The entire temple complex stands on a high platform (Jagati) with four subsidiary shrines at the four corners of its rectangular platform.
  5. The structure consists of all the elements of a developed temple following the grid geometrical design called vastu-purusha-mandala. It has Ardha Mandapa (entrance porch), Mandapa, Maha-Mandapa, Antrala and Garbh Griha.
  6. Unlike other Khajuraho temples, it’s sanctum is pancha ratha and it’s Shikhara is clustered with minor shikharas.
  7. The main deity of the temple is tri-headed & four-armed sculpture of Vaikuntha Vishnu. The central head is of human, and two sides of boar (depicting Varaha) and lion (depicting Narshima).
  8. One can see the rows of beautiful sculptures on the outer wall of the temple comprising of divine figures,couples and portrayal of beautiful women doing daily activities like doing make up, removing thorn etc.The erotic sculptures are visible on the north and south walls of the temple.

Image gallery:

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Laxmanana temple entrance

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Laxmanana temple Sikhara clustered with minor sikharas

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Main diety of the temple – Tri headed and four armed Vaikuntha Vishnu

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Rows of elephant with soilders in between

 

Some interesting sculptures:

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Dancing Ganesha

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A naughty elephant smiling at couple making love

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A women removing thorn from her feet

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A couple in intimate position at the center

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A couple in inimate love at centre and a women doing make up watching mirror

 

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The sculpture of a man pushing the monkey with stick who is disturbing the couple

 

Tips:

  1. The best way to cover Khajurao temples is to visit Western Group of temples first and then cover Eastern and Southern Group of temples by hiring a bicycle. Having a bicycle gives you the flexibility and freedom to visit temple at your own pace and leisure and is cost effective too. You can hire a bicycle for Rs. 50 for full day in Khajurao.
  2. Best time to visit: Oct – mid March
  3. How to reach : The nearest Railway station is Mahoba which is 63 km from Khajurao. One can also reach Khajurao from Jhansi which is well connected by train and road.
  4. One can also visit Orchha which is 15 km from Jhansi while plannnig a visit to Khajurao.

Related posts:

  1. Khajuraho temples: What could be the reason for erotic figures in Khajuraho temples
  2. Southern group of temples, Khajuraho Part 1 – Duladeo Temple
  3. Khajurao : The Southern group of temples Part 2 – Chattarbhuj Temple
  4. Western group of temples, Khajuraho: Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
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