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Kandariya Mahadeva Temple


Kandariya Mahadeva Temple


  • Although the Lakshmana temple is the most well known and most often depicted temple at Khajuraho, it is actually the Kandariya Mahadeva temple in the Western group that is the largest temple in the area. It is almost 31 meters long and 20 meters wide. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is therefore the most prominent feature at Khajuraho for Shaiva devotees like the Lakshmana temple is for the Vaishnava (Vishnu) devotees. Vidyadhara, a Chaulleka king, constructed it in the early 11th century.
  • The name, Kandariya, comes from its entrance door which seems as if it is a cave or den of some kind. The main shrine contains a marvelous marble Shiva lingam, depicting the sexual aspects of the divine male and divine female. The temple has five sections. The single- stoned crocodile and garland covers the entrance. Generally, art historians regard this Shiva lingam shrine as one of the most mature and superbly sculpturally embellished temples in all of medieval central Indian building structures.
  • The temple’s architectural plan lays on a platform and boasts a very large shikhara, or spire. Some believe that the sculptural program on the outside fits well with the theme of Shiva’s place in the Hindu pantheon. Since he is an erotic guru himself charged with creation and destruction of life energies, and is represented with a large phallus, the erotic sculptures that dot the outside of this enormous temple fit well with the idea that couples would imitate their God with erotic practices.



Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at Khajuraho India