The UNESCO-listed Khajuraho temples are the top places to visit in Khajuraho and tourists flock to the town primarily for this reason.
The magnificent group of temples at Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were built between the 9th and 10th centuries by the Chandela dynasty which dominated Central India at that time. Of the 85 temples built by the Chandela kings, only 25 now remain which are scattered around the township of Khajuraho.
Khajuraho’s most striking and best preserved temples are those within the fenced-off section of the Western Group of temples. Here, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the finest of all Khajuraho temples followed by the large Lakshmana Temple. The erotic sculptures carved on the façade of these temples are world-famous examples of the finest temple art in India.
The Eastern Group contains the Old Village temples including Vamana Temple dedicated to the dwarf incarnation of Vishnu. Part of the Eastern Group is a Jain enclosure which houses the finest and best preserved Khajuraho Jain temple, Parsvanath Temple.
A dirt track runs to the isolated Southern Group of temples, including the Duladeo Temple and Chaturbhuj Temple, Khajuraho’s only developed temple without erotic sculptures.
In addition to the Khajuraho sculptures, other Khajuraho attractions include the Adivart Tribal & Folk Art Museum and the Archaeological Museum. If you’re looking for other things to do in Khajuraho why not try some ayurvedic massage treatments or yoga sessions.
If you’re in Khajuraho during February/March, the Khajuraho tourist places come alive for the week-long Dance Festival. The Western Group of temples becomes the stage for the Festival of Dance held during 25th February to 2nd March every year when the temples are transformed into a magical backdrop for India’s top classical dancers, who perform traditional Odissi, Kuchipudi, and Bharatnatyam dance forms, as well as contemporary Indian dance styles.
See below for the best places to visit in Khajuraho.
At the north-eastern end of the Western Group complex, the 30.5-metre-long Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, built between 1025 and 1050 A.D., is the most developed, largest and tallest of the Khajuraho temples and represents the pinnacle of Chandelan temple art and architecture. It is remarkable for its grand dimensions, its complex yet perfectly harmonious composition, and its exquisite sculptural embellishment.
Part of the Western Group of temples, the Vishnu-dedicated Lakshmana Temple is is one of the three largest temples in Khajuraho. Built in 954 A.D., it is arguably the best preserved of all Khajuraho temples. The temple is heavily decorated with a variety of sculptures that allude to the pleasures, pastimes, lifestyle, desires, and conquests of the Chandela dynasty.
About 200 m north of the city centre, Vamana Temple Khajuraho is part of the Eastern Group of temples. Built in AD 1050-1075, it is dedicated to the short, plump, dwarf incarnation of Vishnu.
Part of the Eastern Group of temples, Parsvanath Temple Khajuraho is located in the Jain enclosure along with two other Jain temples. Built in the mid 10th century, it is the largest and finest Khajuraho Jain temple.
Located on the outskirts of Khajuraho, about 1 km southwest of the Jain temple enclosure, Duladeo Temple can be reached via a dirt track from the city centre. Part of the Southern Group of temples, this is one of the last of the Chandela temples to be built. Dedicated to Shiva, the temple lacks the quality of carvings found in earlier temples in Khajuraho.
Located on the other side of the Khudar River, about 2 km (1 mile) south of Duladeo Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple Khajuraho is part of the Southern Group of temples. Built in AD 1090-1100, this temple was one of the last temples to be built by the Chandela kings in Khajuraho. It is the only major temple in Khajuraho without any erotic sculptures.