The city housing The popular Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a UNESCO Heritage site is a small city in Madhya Pradesh. With its abundant architectural and cultural heritage, it attracts tourists to the state. Named after king Maharaja Chhatrasal, this 78 km² district was once known as the “king’s place” of central India. Embracing numerous tourist attraction spots, this region showcases the architecture of various religions.
Monuments of Chhatarpur
Portraying the intricately delicate Nagara style of architecture, the Khajuraho group of monuments stands 44 km away from Chhatarpur. Out of 85 temples, barely 25 remain today, cutting down on the heritage value of this region. The sandstone structures are raised on granite foundations. Built somewhere between 950 to 1050 CE, these temples are known well for their erotic and progressive sculptures. These erections are spread across 6 sq. km. The temples in this massive complex face east and showcase Jainism and Hinduism. A few of the many temples that make up this vast complex are Kandaria Mahadeva temple, Lakshmana temple, Chitragupta temple, and Dulhadev Shiva temple. All the temples in this group are oriented east-west. The artistic sculptures of Khajuraho temples are one of the most admirable ones in Chhatarpur. The 9ntricasy of the figures is much more evident in the first few temples of the series. The nymphs that stand sculpted here are seen showing various expressions and movements like fondling babies, removing thorns from their feet, touching their breasts, disrobing, yawning, scratching, playing with pets, etc. Apart from nymphs, sculptures of animals can also be seen in these temples. The mythical beast, Sardula can be spotted among others such as lions, parrots, elephants, etc. The elephants here are used to welcome the guests while the wild boar depicts the Hindu god Vishnu. Nandi has been carved to establish the presence of Lord Shiva. Many such sculptures can be witnessed here that showcase the artisans’ extraordinary skills.
Maharaja Chhatrasal museum
Maharaja Chhatrasal museum is undoubtedly one of the places that call for a visit to Chhatarpur. With its massive collection of copper plates, inscriptions, garments, Sati pillars, and lingas, this museum houses a significant portion of the remains of Chhatarpur’s history. This structure flaunts Bundela’s architecture of the 18th century. Also known as Dubela museum, it was once an Islamic palace fort now being used as a museum in Chhatarpur. Situated on the banks of a lake and surrounded by hills and two large mausoleums, this museum consists of eight galleries of which two are known as shiva and shakti galleries, and exhibit images and scriptures from the Gupta and Kalchuri periods. The other 6 galleries emphasize the works of Rewa, and Panna, as well as the belongings of the Jain period.
The Raneh waterfall
The Raneh waterfall displays a spectrum of colored smaller falls in a very narrow gorge. The colors are due to the flow of water over various colors of igneous rocks made of granite and dolomite. This waterfall is the result of the flow of Ken and Khudar falls in Chhatarpur.
The Chausath yogini temple
The Chausath (sixty-four) yogini temple, situated a little away from yet considered a part of the Khajuraho temples, is located in the district of Chhatarpur of Madhya Pradesh. Constructed of coarse granite unlike the Khajuraho temples, it is oriented north-east. Once a collection of sixty-seven cells, now it barely flaunts thirty-five. Of these thirty-five, thirty-four are of equal sizes while one is larger. This large cell had an image of Durga Mahishasuramardini which a label reading ‘Hinghalaja’. These cells are structured on high platforms of 5.4m. Each of these cells consists of a doorway and roughly curvilinear Shikhara as their roof.
The Jatashankar temple
A natural Hindu cave shrine located in Chhatarpur, the Jatashankar temple, is made of enormous boulders. It houses two ponds, one is hot water and the other is cold. This sturdy structure resembles Sheshnag, a character of Hindu mythology. These caves are believed to be the place where Lord Shiva concealed himself from the wrath of Bhasmasur, which ended up being known as the second home of Shiva. While Jata means dreadlocks and Shankara is another name for Shiva, this cave structure justifies its name. The distinctive form of the rocks here resembles the dreadlocks of Lord Shiva. It has 108 naturally formed Lingas above which the Sheshnag-like stone can be spotted that was formed by the dripping of cave water. This place has an abundance of medicinal herbs and plants.
Chhatarpur, even though doesn’t make up a huge part of our nation, acts as an important tourist attraction in India. With its beautiful sculptures and waterfalls, it doesn’t lack faces to portray our culture and heritage to the world. The surviving stones and bricks are what carry the stories of our great kings and queens. It becomes important to protect these stories because a place without a story is like a home without a wall.
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- Www.khajuraho-India.org (no date) Sculpture of Khajuraho Temples, Art & Sculpture of Khajuraho Temples, architectural details of temples in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. Available at: https://www.khajuraho-india.org/khajuraho-sculpture.html (Accessed: October 30, 2022).
- Kevinstandagehotography (2021) Khajuraho – chausath yogini temple, Kevin Standage. Available at: https://kevinstandagephotography.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/khajuraho-chausath-yogini-temple/ (Accessed: October 30, 2022).
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