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Mahadeo temples at Khujraho

Mahadeo temples at Khujraho

Photographer: Dayal, Deen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1885

Shelfmark: Photo 50/2(105)

Item number: 502105

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Lakshmana Temple and of the Matangeshvara Temple at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, 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 Matangeshvara Temple dates from the early 10th century, but its sanctuary is entered from the east by a modern staircase. Deep balconies project from three sides. The pyramidal roof consists of horizontal layers and is crowned by an amalaka. A linga is still venerated inside the temple. The Lakshmana Temple, in the background in the photo, 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 of 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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