Kandariya Mahadev Temple, Khajuraho

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, humans cannot live without a spiritual life. We should be thankful to the Gods to let us keep on living our lives, the way we want.

Next attraction in the Western Group of temples, after Lakshman Temple is the spectacular Kandariya Mahadev Temple, which is rated among the most glorious temples in the World. 

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kandariya Mahadev temple was constructed by Chandela king Vidyadhar during the time from 1017 – 1029 CE and very sure this temple must have been the inspiration behind many grand temples subsequently constructed around the world. Kandariya Mahadev temple is built on approx. 6,500 square feet area and rises up to 30 m. from the ground. Premises also include Chitragupt Temple (smaller one). The grand premises of Kandariya Mahadev Temple:  

While walking around I was thinking about the temple name “Kandariya” and its meaning or the secret behind the name. The temple caretaker told me that the temple is built at a raised foundation and the highest Shikhar (top dome) was constructed resembling Mt. Kailash, the sacred 5 peak mountain considered as centre of World. 5 peaks at Kandariya Mahadev Temple are clearly visible. Now the secret behind word Kandariya was clear.
Word Kandara (कन्दरा) means Cavern or Cave. So, Kandariya means God of the Caves, that is Lord Shiva. And LordShiva is also considered as supreme of the Gods, also called Mahadev. That is why the name “Kandariya Mahadev”.
Made of sandstone, the temple has around 900 sculptures carved on walls and rests on granite foundation. One of the most sought-after attractions in the temple is the "MAKAR TORAN" at entrance of the main sanctum. Toran, is a wall hanging made out of cloth, mango leaves and other decorative stuffs and are hanged at the entrance of houses/ temples to welcome the Gods. Here it is crafted out of stone with immaculate detailing and has been welcoming everyone since times immemorial: 

Another exciting or interesting thing about the Kandariya Mahadev temple is that many stone sculptures are inside the temple premises. 

Out of all the temples in Khajuraho, the Kandariya Mahadeva temple is the largest one and is a glorious display of Stone craft and mastery India had in this area in ancient times.

Some historians talk about temple constructed by king Dhandadeva in 999 CE. However, the temple construction was surely finished by King Vidyadhar. Mighty king Vidyadhar had defeated Mahmud of Ghazni twice in the years 1019 and 1022 CE. The Kandariya Mahadeva temple was completed and dedicated to celebrate these victories over Mahmud of Ghazni.  Some inscriptions on one of mandapa pillars also suggest the same and carry the mention to Vidyadhara as ‘Virimda’, the pseudonym.

Perform the pradakshina of the temple platform to see the exquisite sculptures on the exterior wall.


Other temple on the premises is the Chitragupt Temple:

Chitragupt Temple is dedicated to Sun God and is acclaimed for a 5 feet high standing idol of Surya Bhagwan (Sun God) driving a chariot pulled by 7 horses.

Built around 1000 - 1025 CE, walls of the temple are adorned by have numerous carvings. Found this mesmerizing sculpture of Shiva’s attendant Nandi, with a human body and a bull’s head.

Not only this one, but every sculpture here is worth a literature in itself. Not only on the outside of the temple' walls, inside of the temple is equally fascinating.

To summarize - 
This is not just a temple, but a testimony to our rich culture and glorious history. First temple in the Western Group of Temples, Lakshman Temple was a Grand display of our rich history, Kandariya Mahadev is an excellence in Stonecraft, and one can spend a lifetime studying the carvings and clicking pictures

Keep exploring Folks.

Gaurav Verma

A passionate Traveler who wants to see the whole world before hanging his boots. Always ready to explore offbeat and hidden spots. MBA + Engineer from Ivy league colleges, Gaurav is much sought after for his choice of lifestyle activities and Brand promotional campaigns.

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