Ep 9 Khajuraho Western Group of Temples, Guided Tour | Madhya Pradesh Tourism
The Lanka made of gold belonged to Kuber actually, not Ravana. Even the Pushpak Vimaan (airplane) was Kuber's which Ravana snatched from him. If we go by the Shastras (ancient Hindu scriptures), Kuber & Ravana were brothers. Really! Yes Sir! When Kuber complains about this to his father, the latter advises him that being.... ...a Yaksha (supernatural being custodian of a treasure), you can't live here. He told his son that Ravana would snatch whatever he would collect in a year again. So, Kuber creates a distance between himself and Ravana.
He travels from Lanka to the Himalayas and settles a colony called 'Alkapuri.' There, he changes his name to 'Manibhadra.' Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore.
This is your host Harish Bali. Right now, we are about 15 KM from Khajuraho, at MPT Kutni Island Resort. When we came here, we were suggested to stay here instead of in Khajuraho. I was told that it would be a different experience And to be honest, it was a good decision to come here.
There is a water body around us, with a dam on it. It is actually called Kutni Dam. And I liked this resort in every aspect.
First thing first, their property size is huge and the rooms are spacious. I shot a small video in my room last night & we've also uploaded a small clip... ...on Harish Bali Travels channel. You should see that. These are cottages. And they've 10-12 rooms too. They have a restaurant upstairs and a lawn in the middle. It is a really amazing place.
Though I had talked to you earlier about it that because of the water body around,... ...this whole place gets covered in these white web-like covers. They clean these up daily but these get formed again. These are clearly visible sometimes on plants liket his, sometimes in the passage.
But the staff keeps cleaning them regularly. I am enjoying my stay here. Since we arrived at 9.30 pm last night, we couldn't check the view. But I could see the view this morning & again right now.
They also have boating facility here, I'd found out. They charge Rs 525 for a speedboat ride. This is the charge for 3 persons for a 5-7 minute round on speedboat. I was telling you earlier that this property is on an island. This bridge has been built to cross from that side to the island. To walk on it is also a nice experience because of the water below it.
There is the dam, which has been built to collect water for irrigation. We've reached inside the Western Group of Temples in Khajuraho. Please meet Ghanshyam ji. He is going to guide us here. Namaste Ghanshyam ji! Namaste Sir! Namaste! Since when have you been working as a guide? Since 2014, when I got my guide's license.
Fantastic! Please give us a brief introduction first. Rest you can tell us when we start our temple visit. Yes Sir! This temple that you see was built by Maharaja Dhanvarman. This temple is Khajuraho's Vishwanath Temple just like the one at Kashi. And it holds significance too. It is believed that all these temples have been built by just one dynasty.
Those were Chandrels. Chandrel became Chandel later on. Chandels were Rajputs and freedom fighters. At one point of time, they used to be the knights of Pratihara dynasty. Really! Yes Sir! And Pratihara dynasty existed between 5th and 7th century? Yes Sir! And Chandelas were between 9th & 11th century. To 11th.
12th century. 12th century. Yes Sir. Its an ancient story. We're talking about a thing that existed 1000-1200 years back. So the temples we see today were built in an ancient era. Absolutely Sir. Some of these temples are 1000-1100 years old.
This is the reason why people from all over the world visit these temples. Sure, correct Sir. These temples are world famous. Absolutely Sir! Fantastic! I had gone to Brihaspati Kund yesterday. I realized that the Kalinjar Fort is 30 KM from there. I needed an extra one day to be able to go there too.
But visiting there would've opened up a lot of history for us. Yes Sir. Anyways we had to miss that. Yes Sir. So, let us move on and we shall keep talking. Yes Sir.
Yes. In the series of temples, this one is called the Pratapeshwar Temple. This temple is based on a very unique concept. It shows the diversity in religion. In this temple, you'll get to see the religious architecture of each religion. If you watch its top parts step-by-step, the first one, you'll see, is dome-shaped.
It represents Islam and shows the Indo-Islamic architecture. The middle one represents a pagoda, i.e., Buddhist. If you'll notice, the triangle in the middle of pagoda represents the modern Catholic Church. The last one represents the Jain & Hindu architecture. Its dome is better than the rest? Yes Sir. And if you'll notice the semi-circle in the smaller dome, it represents a Gurudwara.
This temple represents the Indian ethos of "Sarva Dharma Sambhav"... ...(all religions are equal) in a beautiful manner. Really good! Now, on our right side is the Laxman Temple. We'll visit there. Before that, we shall visit the Varaha Temple, which is a Monolithic statue. It has a beautiful carving on it. This temple was made with both sandstone and granite.
You will see the platform is made with granite completely. And the rest has been made with sandstone. This sandstone was brought from Panna, instead of being sourced locally. And you know that Panna is famous all over the world for diamonds. You'll see Sir that it is quite common to show 'Bhoo-Devi' (Mother Earth)....
....alongside the Varaha avatar, in every representation. So, this was the space where they had a statue of Bhoo Devi, which is missing now. From the remaining portions, you'll see she was wearing Payal (anklets) &.... ....Bichhua (toe rings). There used to sit a devotee here in a devotional attitude. There was a huge cobra-head, belonging to the king of snakes, Sheshnag. That is missing as well. According to legend, Varaha is part of 24 different avatars.
But as per the 'Dashavatar' (10 reincarnations), it is counted third one. This beautiful carving has Goddess Saraswati on the face of it. Near the tusk, you'll see Goddesses Parvati & Laxmi, along with nine planets....
....behind the tusk, on either side of it. It has the Sun and the Moon in its eyes and in its ears.... ...it has demons Madhu and Kaitav. Under its knees, you'll see the Director deities. Down here you'll find the river bodies carrying nectar pods & depiction... ....of Saptarishis on its throat area. Tell me one thing Ghanshyam ji... Yes Sir! ...what stone is this structure made of? This is sandstone Sir.
So, this minute work is done on sandstone, which looks to be a single slab of stone. Yes Sir, right from pedestal upwards, this whole statue is a single piece of stone. Absolutely beautiful! Such detailed work! Exactly Sir. What would be its approximate weight? As for the weight, I cannot say for certain Sir....
...some say it weighs 16-ton, some say 10 ton. Approximately, it is more than 5-6 tons. Exactly Sir. Imagine, even if we consider it to weigh an average of 5-6 tons...
...how could they've brought up a stone of this weight? Exactly Sir! We are talking of a time that was thousand years back. Moreover, this isn't a local stone. It was brought from the Panna range... ...which is quite far. So, this huge piece of stone must have weighed even more without being carved. So, this task of bringing this stone upto this point would've been really challenging. There are two main temples in the Western Group, which are...
...Laxman Temple that is intact even today with its Panchayatan style architecture. Panchayatan style involved building 5 temples onto one platform. Correct! In all of Central India, this is the only intact temple representing Panchayatan style. Talking of the Panchayatan Vastu, this whole temple represents a human body.
Some scholars also connect it to the Panch-Mahabhoot (five elements). If you identify any part of this body.... ...you would identify it with the human body. For example? The platform represents the feet. The steps going up represent the thigh part of body. Entrance represents the 'Kati-pradesh', which would be the waist region.
The inner sanctum is the stomach. The space having the main idol represents the heart. And on top, the round shape stones, called 'Chakrika & Amalak,' it represents head. The top coconut shape represents the tuft of hair on the body's head. And as per belief, a house made according to Vastu reflects success & prosperity. Okay, I thought that this temple is dedicated to Laxman ji.
Everyone thinks this temple is dedicated to the younger brother of Lord Ram. But it is named after Laxmanvarman, the founder of this temple complex. This temple was made between 930 and 950 A.D. Another name for its founder was Yashovarman, as per history records.
By the 10th century, the temple architecture had reached its zenith. You can see it. You will be able to see very beautiful classification in this temple. You will see 9 alcoves around the main temple as per the Panchayatan style. The first alcove is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The depiction of the Surah Sundaris (the Wine Women) in Khajuraho is beautiful.
Along with these, the carvings also depict the manufacturing scenario of that time.. ...and the things used then. You'll also be able to see some lovely depiction of jewellery worn in the past. These statues depict the cultural richness of India during that period. I am feeling like looking at each statue carefully, & trying to understand it. Exactly! I mean it isn't like you would see 10 statues at at time.
Each statue depicts something in itself. Yes Sir! There is a message. Each statue carries a message. Yes Sir. In Khajuraho temples, women have been depicted in three categories.
This is why Khajuraho is also referred to as "the world of female beauty." First among the women, the 'Apsaras' (fairy) are depicted carrying lotus flower. They represent the Heaven. Next is women depicted carrying out worldly duties like picking thorn out of feet, Writing a letter or stretching her limbs. These represent all the worldly tasks done by women.
The concept of "Naan-Kanyas" comes from the underworld, or... ...which we call the "Pataal-Lok." Many scholars also consider it a reflection of the Chakras. They believe these women are depicted as creation of energy inside a temple. This part of the temple is known as the 'Maha Mandap.' This space was supposedly used by devotees for solo performances. So, this small platform was built for that.
This middle part is meant for the Guru (teacher) to sit upon. It is called 'Antaraal.' The idol of Lord Vishnu, placed inside the Garbha-Griha (inner sanctum)... ...is referred to as the "Vaikunth Swaroop" or representation of the heaven. One thing that I've noticed just now is the scarcity of sunlight where we are standing. Despite that, the construction is such that the light falls directly on the main idol.
Exactly Sir. This is the engineering marvel of those times. Throughout the inner part, you'll see sufficient natural light penetrating through. Because there are balconies & windows all around for fresh air, light & ventilation. Natural light, after being reflected off every stone inside, illuminates the main idol. Really beautiful! These are called 'Keechaks' Sir, the divine workers of Lord Vishwakarma. And they seem as if carrying the weight of this temple on their shoulders.
Sir, this is the main "Pradakshina" (circumambulation) path. This path runs around the inner sanctum of this Vishnu temple. You will get to see beautiful carvings on this path depicting....
....apsaras with Shardul,... And this statue is that of 'Narvaraha' and its head is missing. Here you can see the emblem of Chandel dynasty. Here, the first historical king is fighting a lion. This emblem represents the daring nature of the kings of those times. They were brave enough to fight lions. The platform below shows the complete concept of the armies of those times.
The army is depicted wearing long boots, you can see here. And here is the elephant infantry. Here, they've shown the orgies of "Vilaas Utsav" (Pleasure Festival). Orgy means? It represents the 'Kama activity' (erotic activity) post battle.
This whole concept is based on the army life. You'll get to see different positions along with making of medicines & aphrodisiac. These are massage activities, depicting acrobatic positions too.
And some common positions are depicted too. A little further, camels are depicted too. Camels don't belong to the local area. It is a desert animal. Correct. It was through the trade route that whole India was inter-connected.
These merchants used the trade routes passing through here, from time to time. This is a depiction of what we generally read about merchants in history. You will notice the beautiful concept of elephantry here in this long line. This carving shows a large number of elephants walking together. Our Indian kings mostly used elephants to sit upon in battlefield.
But during the invasions, the invaders mostly used horses to attack. In a way, the main reason of defeat of the Indian maharajas in these battles was.... ...that they were visible from afar and, thus, easy targets of the enemy. And Sir, they used to be easy target sitting atop the elephant. Good observation! And in case of an army on the horse, with soldiers on foot in the front.... ...it used to be very difficult to identify the king. So, the enemy couldn't target the king easily. Perfect, perfect! Sir the Kandariya Mahadev temple is also built as per the Panchayatan style.
All of its four corner temples are missing today. Sir the proportion of the inner sanctum of this temple is similar to that of.... ...the Laxman temple. It is divided into Arth Mandap, Mandap & then comes the Maha-Mandap.
It also has an Antaraal, Garbha-Griha and ambulatory part, known as Pradakshina. This temple is also made in Panchayatan style but it is missing some portions. Like the temples outside.
Yes Sir. And this temple is dedicated to the Mahadev. Its name is Kandariya Mahadev. That is because its entrance looks like a "Kandara" (a cave) from a distance.
It is called Kandara. Yes Sir. And this temple's structure, as it is, represents that of a mountain. Here you can see Lord Indra with his wife, Shachi. Here you can see a depiction of Lord Bhairav. Next to it is the depiction of "Samya-Sadashiv."
And here is the depiction of Lord Kartikeya. Sir, this is Ma Jagdamba Temple, made in Nirandhar style of architecture. Till now we were seeing temples built in Panchayatan style.
In the Nirandhar style, the temple gets smaller in size. And it doesn't have the Pradakshina Path around the Garbha-Griha. And there are two Vatayans (openings). In that we saw there were multiple openings.
Vatayan means light. Air flow. Yes Sir! The interesting fact is that even today this temple remains active... ...during both Navratri festivals. During Navratris, proper pooja (worship) ceremonies are held here. It is a special feature of this temple. This temple also has a very beautiful statue of Kuber, the direction deity...
...and the God of Money. Which one is that? This one Sir. The first one. The bag that Kuber carries is made of mongoose skin.
And it is common for Kuber to keep a treasure port with him. You can see it near his feet. I can. That is his Kalash (treasure pot). Kuber's abdomen is similar to that of Lord Ganesh, a little large.
Since he is the God of Money, his large abdomen represents affluence. Kuber is also the direction deity. He faces North always. So, generally his statue, wherever it is, faces the North? North. Yes Sir.
Kuber's residence is believed to be 'Alkapuri', at the top of Tibet. Interesting! Its an interesting story Sir. At one point of time, Kuber's residence used to be in Sri Lanka. The Lanka made of gold belonged to Kuber actually, not Ravana. Even the Pushpak Vimaan (airplane) was Kuber's which Ravana snatched from him. If we go by the Shastras (ancient Hindu scriptures), Kuber & Ravana were brothers.
Really! Yes Sir. When Kuber complains about this to his father, the latter advises him that being.... ...a Yaksha (supernatural being custodian of a treasure), you can't live here. He told his son that Ravana would snatch whatever he would collect in a year again. So, Kuber creates a distance between himself and Ravana.
He travels from Lanka to the Himalayas and settles a colony called 'Alkapuri.' There, he changes his name to 'Manibhadra.' That is some information at a deeper level.
Thank you Sir. Actually you meet scholars, talk to your seniors in the profession and... ...stay familiar with the folk tales as well. You can see another temple built in this style, Surya Mandir.
It is dedicated to Lord Surya but it is named after Chitragupt. Chitragupt has also been portrayed here along with Surya. It was our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who visited here and suggested... ...that Chitragupt is usually represented along with Yama, the lord of death... ...but here he was shown with Surya, in a remarkable statue. He suggested along with Surya, the temple be known also as that of Chitragupt.
Really! Thereafter, this temple was restored by the ASI. The whole entrance porch, you can see, has been restored beautifully. A large portion of its top is also restored. And this temple has most of its statues defaced. Nandi is always depicted to be with Lord Shiva. And this Vishwanath Temple of Khajuraho is the only one to have....
...Nandi installed in front of it. Even the active temple of Matangeshwar Mahadev, with a huge Shivling.... ...doesn't have Nandi in front of it. It has been missing. We saw that Nandi is missing also from the Kandariya Mahadev Temple. No other Shiv temple in Khajuraho has Nandi, except for this one. This is the only Shiv Temple in Khajuraho, where you can see Nandi. With Lord Vishwanath in front of Nandi.
Look at its expressions. From the front side, Nandi looks like it is smiling. Look at it.
Unfortunately, the Nandi's horns and ears are missing. And it also looks like it is made with a single stone. Exactly Sir. It is a single stone from pedestal to the top. Beautiful! The belt sculpted on Nandi's body has "Kirti-Mukh" made on it. Kirti-Mukh has a lot of import in Southern India. No Devalaya (Temple) is considered to be complete without this depiction.
That is the belief. You must have seen a demon-face or mask installed outside every new house. This face or mask is believed to ward off evil and keep the home safe.
We saw these two rock inscriptions as soon as we entered Vishwanath Temple. Obviously, these inscriptions date back to the period between 9th to 12th centuries. Exactly Sir.
You said earlier that these sentences were made with singular alphabets. Exactly Sir. There are no words in these scriptures.
Exactly Sir. Because the alphabets are equidistant. Absolutely Sir. And these scriptures begin with 'Om Namah Shivay.' (Reading from the scripture) This language is...
Sanskrit Sir. The rock inscriptions also contain information about two Shivlings. One 'Markat Mani Shivling' made with emerald stone. And this one is made with sandstone.
With time, a lot of things have gone missing, and so is that one. Okay, one of the two Shivlings is missing. Yes Sir. The inscriptions mention two Shivlings. Exactly Sir. The sandstone Shivling is still there.
Nandi is installed in front of Lord Shiva and here too, you'll see the same. We are concluding our Khajuraho temple visit here. Usually we create an episode out of a day's journey. But I think the recording so far would exceed 25 minutes already. So, it would be better that we keep this much for one episode. And the second half of the day, during which we'll visit the waterfall...
...and explore the local food, well, not exactly local,... ...but we're visiting a restaurant and that will be shown in the next episode. That would be better for us. Otherwise, this episode will become lengthy. I have a few observations. No. 1 - Visiting Khajuraho without a guided tour is meaningless. The cost of tour guide, for 4-hour session, considering an 8-hour working day.... ...would be Rs 1500. Am I right? Rs 1800.
Rs 1800, sorry. And it is Rs 2200 for an 8-hour period. That is right? Exactly Sir.
We've requested him to spend the rest of the day with us in case he is free. That would provide us with necessary guidance. And if he is with us at Rani Falls, we won't miss any important points. So he is okay with this.
We will go for lunch with him, which will be shown in a separate episode. So, now, bye bye before we end this episode. We will meet soon. Thanks for your time.