The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a Hindu temple located in the Khajuraho group of temples, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is one of the largest and most ornate temples in the Khajuraho complex. The temple was built by the Chandela dynasty between 1025 and 1050 CE, during the reign of King Vidyadhara. It is a masterpiece of Hindu temple architecture and is renowned for its intricate carvings and sculptures.
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is built in the Panchayatana style, which means that it has four smaller temples surrounding the main temple. The temple is built on a high platform and is approached by a flight of steps. The temple has a shikhara or tower, which rises to a height of 31 meters and is surrounded by 84 miniature spires. The temple is constructed from sandstone and granite and is adorned with sculptures of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures.
The temple is known for its intricate carvings, which cover almost every inch of the temple's exterior and interior walls. The carvings depict scenes from Hindu mythology, including the life of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and other gods and goddesses. The temple's sculptures are also famous for their eroticism and sensuality, which are depicted in a tasteful and artistic manner.
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the finest examples of temple architecture in India. It is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
History of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple was built by the Chandela dynasty during the reign of King Vidyadhara in the early 11th century CE. The Chandela dynasty ruled over the region for several centuries and were known for their patronage of the arts, particularly temple architecture.
The temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva, who was worshipped as Kandariya Mahadeva, meaning "the great lord of the cave". The temple was constructed over a period of 25 years, between 1025 and 1050 CE, and is considered one of the finest examples of temple architecture in India.
The temple was originally part of a complex of 85 temples, of which only 25 remain today. The complex was built over several centuries and included temples dedicated to various Hindu deities. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple was one of the largest and most important temples in the complex and was considered the main temple of the Khajuraho group of temples.
The temple fell into disrepair over the centuries and was partially destroyed by Muslim invaders in the 13th century CE. The temple was rediscovered in the 19th century by British archaeologists and was subsequently restored and preserved. The temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986, along with the other Khajuraho temples. Today, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of India's rich cultural heritage.
Signification of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is one of the finest examples of Hindu temple architecture in India and is considered a masterpiece of the Chandela dynasty. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important pilgrimage site for Shaivites.
The temple is renowned for its intricate carvings and sculptures, which depict various scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as everyday life in medieval India. The temple is also known for its elaborate design, which includes multiple levels and intricate details, such as the 84 miniature shrines that line the temple's exterior.
The temple is also significant for its role in the development of Hindu temple architecture. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is considered a transitional temple, as it marks the shift from earlier, simpler temple designs to the more complex and elaborate designs that would become characteristic of later Hindu temple architecture.
Overall, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a symbol of India's rich cultural heritage and a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the architects and artisans who built it over a millennium ago.
Architecture of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The architecture of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a stunning example of the skill and craftsmanship of the Chandela dynasty's architects and artisans. The temple was constructed in the Nagara style of temple architecture, which is characterized by its tall, curvilinear shikharas (towers) and multiple mandapas (halls).
The temple is built on a high platform, which is reached by a flight of stairs. The main shrine of the temple is surrounded by several smaller shrines, which are arranged in a mandala (circular) pattern. The temple's shikhara (tower) rises to a height of over 30 meters and is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures.
The temple's interior is equally impressive, with a series of mandapas (halls) that lead to the inner sanctum. The halls are supported by numerous intricately carved pillars, and the ceilings are decorated with elaborate sculptures and paintings.
The exterior of the temple is adorned with thousands of sculptures and carvings, which depict scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as everyday life in medieval India. These sculptures include images of gods and goddesses, celestial beings, dancers, musicians, and animals.
Overall, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a magnificent example of Hindu temple architecture and a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisans who built it over 1,000 years ago. The temple's intricate carvings, sculptures, and architectural design continue to inspire awe and admiration among visitors today.
Festivals of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
As a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple celebrates several important festivals throughout the year. Some of the major festivals celebrated at the temple include:
- Maha Shivaratri: This is one of the most important festivals at the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, as it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated in February or March and involves fasting, puja (worship), and the chanting of mantras.
- Diwali: This is the festival of lights and is celebrated in October or November. The temple is decorated with lights and flowers, and devotees offer prayers and perform aarti (ceremonial worship).
- Navratri: This is a nine-day festival that celebrates the goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated in September or October and involves fasting, prayer, and the chanting of mantras.
- Holi: This is the festival of colors and is celebrated in March. The temple is decorated with bright colors, and devotees play with colored powder and water.
- Janmashtami: This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and is celebrated in August or September. The temple is decorated with flowers, and devotees perform puja and offer sweets to the deity.
These festivals are an important part of the temple's cultural and religious heritage and attract large numbers of devotees and visitors each year.
Visiting hours of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The visiting hours of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple may vary depending on the season and specific day of the week. However, typically the temple is open to visitors every day from sunrise to sunset. The exact opening and closing times may vary slightly depending on the season, so it is recommended to check the official website or inquire locally for the most up-to-date information. Visitors are advised to arrive early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds and the midday heat.
Dress code of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
There is no specific dress code enforced at the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. However, as a Hindu temple, visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully. It is recommended to wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees, and avoid clothing that is too revealing or tight-fitting. Visitors are also advised to remove their shoes before entering the temple premises. Additionally, it is customary to dress up in traditional Indian attire while visiting temples, so visitors may choose to wear traditional clothing such as saris, salwar kameez, or dhoti kurta as a sign of respect for the temple and its cultural significance.
Poojas and rituals of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and as such, there are several poojas and rituals that take place throughout the day. Some of the important poojas and rituals performed at the temple include:
- Abhishekam: This is a sacred bathing ceremony where the lingam of Lord Shiva is bathed with various liquids such as milk, honey, and water, while reciting Vedic hymns and mantras.
- Aarti: This is a ritual of offering light to the deity, where a tray with a lighted lamp is waved in front of the idol of Lord Shiva, accompanied by devotional hymns.
- Rudrabhishekam: This is a pooja that involves the chanting of the Rudram, a powerful Vedic hymn dedicated to Lord Shiva, while performing the abhishekam of the lingam.
- Maha Shivaratri: This is a major festival celebrated at the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Devotees fast and perform special poojas and rituals throughout the day and night.
- Shravan Somvar: This is a monthly festival that takes place during the Hindu month of Shravan, where devotees offer prayers to Lord Shiva and perform special poojas and rituals.
These are just some of the poojas and rituals that take place at the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. Visitors are advised to check with the temple authorities or local guides to learn more about the specific timings and procedures of each pooja and ritual.
Accommodation Near Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
There are several options for accommodation near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho. Some of the popular choices include:
- Hotel Chandela: This is a luxury hotel located about 3 km from the temple. It offers comfortable rooms and suites, a spa, and multiple dining options.
- Hotel Zen: This is a mid-range hotel located about 1.5 km from the temple. It offers air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, and a rooftop terrace.
- Hotel Isabel Palace: This is a budget hotel located about 2 km from the temple. It offers basic rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk to help with tour bookings and transportation.
- Zostel Khajuraho: This is a backpacker hostel located about 1.5 km from the temple. It offers dormitory-style accommodation, a shared kitchen, and a common lounge area.
There are also several other guesthouses and homestays in the vicinity of the temple that offer comfortable and affordable accommodation options. It is recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.
Attraction Near Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
There are many attractions to see near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho. Some of the popular attractions include:
- Lakshmana Temple: This temple is located adjacent to the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple and is famous for its intricate carvings depicting various scenes from the Hindu epics.
- Western Group of Temples: This is a cluster of several temples located about 1 km from the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. These temples also feature exquisite carvings and are a must-visit for any visitor to Khajuraho.
- Panna National Park: This is a wildlife reserve located about 40 km from Khajuraho. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife including tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and many species of birds.
- Raneh Falls: This is a waterfall located about 20 km from Khajuraho. The waterfall is surrounded by stunning rock formations and is a popular picnic spot.
- Ajaigarh Fort: This fort is located about 80 km from Khajuraho and is known for its impressive architecture and panoramic views of the surrounding hills.
- Benisagar Lake: This is a picturesque lake located about 11 km from Khajuraho. It is a popular spot for boating and picnicking.
There are many other attractions to see and explore in and around Khajuraho. Visitors can plan their itinerary based on their interests and time available.
Things To Do In Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Khajuraho, and there are several things to do when visiting this beautiful temple. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Admire the architecture: The temple's architecture is breathtaking, and visitors can spend hours admiring the intricate carvings and sculptures that adorn the temple's walls.
- Take a guided tour: A guided tour of the temple is a great way to learn about the temple's history, architecture, and significance.
- Attend the Light and Sound Show: The Light and Sound Show is a popular evening attraction at the temple that tells the story of Khajuraho and the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple through a stunning display of lights and sounds.
- Explore the Western Group of Temples: The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is part of the Western Group of Temples, and visitors can explore the other temples in the group, including the Lakshmana Temple, the Varaha Temple, and the Chausath Yogini Temple.
- Take photographs: The temple's intricate carvings and sculptures make for great photographs, and visitors can spend time capturing the temple's beauty from different angles.
- Attend a puja: The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is an active temple, and visitors can attend a puja or ritual to experience the temple's spiritual significance.
- Shop for souvenirs: The temple complex has several souvenir shops where visitors can buy handicrafts, books, and other souvenirs.
Overall, visiting the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of India.
Best Time To Visit Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The best time to visit the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in Khajuraho is during the winter season, which runs from October to February. The weather during this time is cool and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the temple complex and the surrounding areas. Additionally, there are several festivals and events that take place during this time, such as the Khajuraho Dance Festival, which showcases traditional Indian dance forms.
It is important to note that Khajuraho can get very hot and humid during the summer months, which run from March to June. This can make it difficult to explore the temple complex, so it is best to avoid visiting during this time. The monsoon season, which runs from July to September, can also make it difficult to explore the area due to heavy rainfall and flooding.
How To Reach Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is located in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India, and is well-connected by road, rail, and air.
By air: The nearest airport is the Khajuraho Airport, which is located about 5 km from the temple. It is well-connected to major cities in India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Varanasi.
By train: The nearest railway station is the Khajuraho Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, and Varanasi.
By road: Khajuraho is well-connected by road to major cities in India. The Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC) operates regular buses from cities such as Bhopal, Jhansi, and Satna. Taxis and private cars can also be hired from nearby cities.
Once you reach Khajuraho, you can hire a taxi or an auto-rickshaw to reach the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, which is located in the Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho. The temple complex is located about 2 km from the Khajuraho town center.
What is the entry fee for Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
There is an entry fee to enter the Khajuraho Western Group of Temples, which includes the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. The entry fee for Indian citizens is INR 40 per person, while the entry fee for foreign nationals is INR 600 per person.
What are the visiting hours of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
The visiting hours of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple are from sunrise to sunset. It is open to visitors seven days a week.
Is photography allowed inside the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
No, photography is not allowed inside the temple complex. However, visitors can take photographs of the temple exterior and the surrounding area.
Is there a dress code for visiting the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
There is no specific dress code for visiting the temple, but visitors are advised to dress modestly and respectfully. It is recommended to avoid wearing revealing clothing.
Are there any accommodation options near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
Yes, there are several accommodation options available near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels.
What is the best time to visit the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
The best time to visit the temple is between October to March when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing.
Are there any other tourist attractions near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple?
Yes, there are several other tourist attractions near the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, including the other temples in the Western Group of Temples, the Khajuraho Archaeological Museum, and the Panna National Park.