Khajuraho

Situated 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Bandhavgarh, the village of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is famous for an eponymous group of monuments that has received UNESCO World Heritage designation. The temples here are extremely well preserved, and principally known for their lifelike stone-carved depictions of human sensuality. These "erotic" figures, while justifiably famous, are only a small portion of Khajuraho's carvings; other bas-reliefs works depict somewhat more mundane activities, from farmers plowing fields to musicians playing instruments.

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East End Temples

Of the temples in the eastern group, noteworthy ones include the Adinath Temple, a Jain temple that features carvings of yakshis, or winged demons from Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist lore; the Parsvanath Temple, the largest of the eastern group and which features a blend of Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist motifs; and the Ghantai Temple, another Jain structure which hosts a beautiful frieze depicting the sixteen dreams of the mother of Mahavira, the propagator of the Jain faith.

Khajuraho Dance Festival

Each year in March, the Khajuraho Dance Festival is held, featuring colorful costumes, music and of course, traditional dance-dramas, including various Hindu and Jain stories depicted in the temple carvings.

Southern Temples

Prominent members of the southern group include the Dulhadev Temple, which features beautifully rendered apsaras, or feminine spirits; Chattarbhuj Temple, home to a nine-foot tall statue of Vishnu; and the Beejamandal Temple, a ruined structure that is still currently under excavation.

West End Temples

The temples of Khajuraho are grouped by location into three classifications: western, eastern and southern. Of these three groups, the western temples are the largest and richest, and comprise eight temples, all built of sandstone and adorned with the ornate, life-like carvings for which Khajuraho is so famous.

Particularly noteworthy temples include the ornate Lakhmana Temple, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu; the smaller Devi Jagdamba Temple, which houses the realistic, sensual figures which are a trademark of Khajuraho; and the Varaha Temple, home to a series of intricate statues, including that of the devi, or goddess, Saraswati, patron of learning and knowledge.

Visitors should note that every evening, the Western temples are home to a light and sound show, narrated by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachhan.

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