The Astounding Kandariya Mahadeva Temple

Khajuraho, a city situated in Madhya Pradesh, is home to the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the largest cluster of Hindu and Jain temples in India. As a result, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India with iconic structures that take the limelight, such as the astounding Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. This magnificent temple is a 102 ft. tall, sandstone temple built on a granite foundation. Placed on the same pedestal as Angkor Wat and Taj Mahal, this temple, beautifully ornate with almost a thousand sculptures, is one of the finest examples of architectural marvels in Asia.

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple near Clarks Khajuraho hotel

Among this group of temples in Khajuraho, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the largest and tallest, sprawling over 6,500 sq. ft. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the main idol of worship is a marble linga, located in the dark sanctuary (Garbhagriha) that appears after the central chamber (Mandapa), which in turn can be reached by walking through a set of interconnected chambers.

While the exterior chambers are flooded with natural light, the central sanctum in contrast, receives very little, establishing a cave-like atmosphere. This is probably why it was named Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, meaning "the Great God of the Cave".

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple architecture
Sculptures on the walls of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple

This group of temples, built during the 11th century, initially totalled up to 85 temples, spanning around 20 sq. km, out of which only 20 have stood the test of time. Like the majority of temples here, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple architecture positions it facing East. The design of the temple also suggests the outline of a mountain, which is representative of Mount Meru - a mythical mountain believed to be the source of all creation.

The sculptures that adorn the temple walls are famous for their sensual style, which amounts to about 10% of the whole. The rest of the scultpures depict instances of everyday life. If you look at it from certain perspectives, you can see the whole of existence, starting from plants and animals at the bottom, progressing on to gods and divinity at the apex of the temple.

The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple sculptures remain its most alluring feature. The supreme quality sandstone used in its construction has enabled sculptors to add super-fine details like hair strands, nails and jewellery. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit this heritage site. Make the best of your getaway by staying at yet another super-fine destination - Clarks Khajuraho for a spellbinding sojourn!