Chatr-ko-putr [Chitragupta] temple at Khujraho
Photographer: Dayal, Deen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Chitragupta Temple at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. The small town of Khajuraho in the Chatarpur district is the site of dozens of Shiva, Vishnu and Jaina temples, which were built between the 9th and 12th centuries under the aegis of the Chandella dynasty which ruled in central India. Of about 85 temples said to have been erected at this site only about twenty-five have survived. The compact temples, none of which are very large, stand on high plinths (jagatis) lifting them from their environs, instead of the usual enclosure walls. The sensuous sculptures that decorate them, some of which are explicitly erotic, are among the masterpieces of Indian art. The sculptures have been read as relating to Tantric practices, or illustrations of ancient treatises on sex. The Chitragupta temple, similar in construction to the Jagadambi temple, was built in the early 11th century and is the sole temple here dedicated to Surya, the sun god. The main image enshrined in the sanctum is an impressive sculpture of a standing Surya driving a chariot drawn by seven horses. Elevated on a carved platform, the walls of the temple's sanctuary and of the mandapa or hall are covered with fine sculptures. The tall tower consists of a cluster of miniature towers crowned by amalakas.