The sprawling lawns of the Khajuraho Temple complex are abundant with local birds. As we walked from the Lakshmana Temple to the Kandariya Mahadev Temple we saw a red-wattled lapwing, an Indian Roller, and parakeets. Pecking for insects, strutting on the carpet of green lawns or causing a cacophony of high pitched sounds; the birds surely didn’t fail entertain.
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
At a towering height of 30.5 m, the Kandariya Mahadev Temple forms a stunning backdrop to the clear blue skies. The underlying architectural style and basic structure is similar to the Lakshmana temple, however, the Kandariya Mahadev Temple more than makes up in scale and opulence. On the outer side of the temple walls, are the familiar sight of men and women engaged in acts of lovemaking. Perhaps, the most famous of them all is the handstand position. A guide eagerly explained to a group of middle-aged tourists the possibilities of such an occurrence. Saree-clad women blushed as the guide spoke of tantric practices.
The inner sanctum houses a marble Shiva-Linga; the principal deity of the Kandariya Mahadev Temple. On the same platform, adjacent to the Kandariya Mahadev platform, lies the smaller temple of Devi Jagadambi.
It was past noon and by this time the sun gets the better of you. We saw a fleeting glance of the Chitragupta Temple and chose to skip the other temples in the complex. We were set to return in the evening for the sound and light show, which you mustn’t miss. History, legend, and Amitabh Bachchan’s booming baritone set the stage for the evening show. Seating is on first-come first-served basis and you might find people jumping rows. In the month of November, be sure to pack woollens, as the temperature dips reasonably.
After a quick lunch and rest, back in the hotel, we continued to the southern group of temples.
Unlike the other temples, the Chaturbhuja Temple doesn’t have a lush green lawn. It is quite small in height and seems to be in ruins. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and gets its name from the four arms of its principle deity. Another prominent feature is that the temple is devoid of any erotica.
The sparse vegetation outside the Duladeo Temple marks a sharp contrast to the lush green lawns in the temple premises. This lone temple stands isolated in a sprawling garden. Not half as inspiring as the temples in western group, the Dhuladeo temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The inner sanctum is dimly lit and has rats scampering around. But, perhaps, what was most stunning was the way the evening sunlight touched the intricate carvings of the temple.
We had some time before the evening sound and light show, so we hurried to the Eastern group of temples. The sun had set leaving us with the last few rays of daylight. The temples in the Eastern group are smaller, definitely without erotica, and dedicated to Jain deities. Some of the temples were in ruin and seemed haunting with the lack of lighting and shrubbery around it. We managed to visit the Parsvanath, Adinath, and Shantinath temples.