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Photography - Vishvanatha - Khajuraho Monuments 099

Vishvanatha Temple :

The Vishvanatha Temple is one of the western group of temples in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh, India. It’s an amazing Hindu temple and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is also known as “Vishvanatha, meaning “The Lord of the Universe”.

The building of this temple is accredited to the Chandela king Dhanga and was completed in 999 CE or 1002 CE. It has a similar architectural style to the older Lakshmana Temple and the newer Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. Several sculptures of various deities, surasundaris (celestial maidens), couples making love, and mythical creatures can also be found on its walls.

On the porch of this temple, there’s a dedicatory inscription with information of the construction of a Shiva temple by the Chandela king Dhanga. The original date of the inscription is between 1056 VS (999 CE) or 1059 VS (1002 CE). It’s also mentioned in the inscription that Dhanga’s descendant Jayavarman had it re-written in clear letters in 1173 VS.

The inscription states that Dhanga constructed a magnificent Shiva temple with two lingas, the Marakateshvara (“Emerald Lord”) linga was made of emerald and the Pramathanatha (“Lord of Pramathas”, the goblin-like spirits) linga was made of stone. It appears that the inscription may have been issued after Dhanga’s death as it is also written that after living for more than a hundred years, King Dhanga attained moksha (the liberation of the soul from the cycle of rebirth) by abandoning his body in the waters of Ganga and Yamuna.

Unlike the inscriptions in other Chandela temples, nothing about the Pratihara overlords of the Chandelas is written suggesting that probably the Chandelas were no longer vassals of the Pratiharas by this time. The bit about the emerald linga (emerald-studded linga) also supports this theory. According to the ancient Hindu religious texts known as the Puranas, one should donate a jewel-studded linga as a symbol of appreciation upon the fulfilment of a desire so King Dhanga must have built the temple after attaining a high political status as a sovereign.

Khajuraho Group Of Monuments :

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh, India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 175 kilometres southeast of Jhansi. It’s a group of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples. These temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic Kamasutra sculptures.

Most of these temples were built between 950 and 1050 by the Chandela Rajput dynasty. According to historical records the Khajuraho Group of Monuments site had 85 temples by the 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometres and today only about 25 temples survived, spread over 6 square kilometres.

These temples were built together but were dedicated to two different religions that are Hinduism and Jainism. This suggests a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains in the region.

More photos of Khajuraho Monuments here.

Our group trip photos on Instagram.

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