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Chatrbhuj temple, Khujraho

Chatrbhuj temple, Khujraho

Photographer: Dayal, Deen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 50/2(111)

Item number: 502111

Genre: Photograph

This photograph, showing the Lakshmana temple at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, was taken by Deen Dayal in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views in India. 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 Lakshmana Temple is one of the most developed of the temples of Khajuraho and was built by the Chandella king Yashovarman in circa 950 A.D. The temple stands on a high terrace decorated with a carved frieze. The sanctuary with the circumambulatory passage is preceded by a mandapa and a porch. These have pyramidal roofs while a clustered tower covers the sanctuary. Beautiful sculptures adorn the temple.

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