History and Art and Culture
Context: While Khajuraho is internationally recognized for its rich architectural grandeur of the Western Group of temples that UNESCO recognizes as world heritage, the districts of Chhatarpur and Panna have lesser-known destinations that can serve as model local tourist destinations.
About Khajuraho Temples :
- The Temples of Khajuraho are a magnificent example of the Nagara style of templesas the temples consist of
- a sanctum,
- a narrow ante-chamber (antarala),
- a transept (mahamandapa),
- additional halls (ardha mandapa),
- a mandapa or nave and
- an ambulatory passage (Pradakshina-path) which is lighted by large windows.
- These are a collection of Hindu and Jain temples located in Madhya Pradesh.
- They are known for its ornate temples, was built by the Chandela rulers between 900 CE to 1130 CE.
- These are located in the Vindhya Mountain range.
- They got the status of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 1986.
- Erotic imagery is very common in the Temples of Khajuraho.
- Sculptures of celestial nymphs with broad hips, heavy breasts and languishing eyes are commonly found in the Kandariya Mahadeva and Vishwanath Temple. These sculptures are believed to reflect the idea of female beauty and fertility.
- Other scenes depicted on the walls of the temples are a part of the Narathara (the human life cycle) signifying how sexual procreation and kamaare an essential aspect of human life.
- The major focus of the study of the Temples of Khajuraho have been on the sculptures.
- The walls of these temples have some of the best sculptures of the time, making Khajuraho a representation of excellent artistic features.
- It is believed that the temples constitute five different sets of sculptures:
- cult images
- the parivara, parsva and avarana devatas
- the apsaras and the surasundaris
- secular sculptures of miscellaneous themes (dancers, musicians, disciples and domestic scenes)
- mythical creatures (vyalas, sardula and other animals)
- The first mention of Khajuraho and its temples is in the accounts of Abu Rahyan al Biruni( 1022 CE) and Ibn Batuta (1335 CE).
- The carvings on them reflect the four goals of life in Hinduism, viz, dharma, kama, artha, moksha.
- One theory posits their construction can be understood as a part of the proliferation of the Siva-Sakti cult. The other theory is that the temples are a representation of thedevadasis who were once a major part of the temple activities.
- The Temples of Khajuraho are divided into three groups, the Western Group, the Eastern Group and the Southern Group.
The Western Group:
- Chausath Jogini Temple-this temple stands on the low rocky eminence to the south west of the Sib-Sagar
- Kandariya Mahadeva Temple– Largest of all the temples in Khajuraho, it dates back to the 10th century CE.
- Devi Jagdamba Temple -this temple is now known by the name of Devi Jagdambaor the ‘Mother Goddess of the World’.
- Chitragupta or Bharatji’s Temple -This temple is dedicated to the Sun God (Surya), an image of the Sun God is enshrined within the sanctum, wearing high boots and driving a chariot of seven horses.
- Vishwanath Temple – Vishwanath, or the ‘Lord of the Universe’, is another name for Lord Shiva to whom this temple is dedicated.
- Laxmana Temple -also known as the Chaturbhuj Temple.
- It is popularly known for its innovation in the technique of architecture.
The Eastern Group:
- Brahma Temple -situated on the banks of Khajuraho Sagar.
- Vamana Temple -situated on the north-east side of the Brahma Temple
- Ghantai Temple -this temple got its name from the bells suspended on chains which adorn the pillars of its portico.
- Parsawanatha Jain Temple – it is the largest of the Jaina temples. It is believed to be a shrine of Parsawanatha, the 22nd Jain Tirthankara.
The Southern Group:
- Duladeo Temple – It is about a mile and a half away from the main Khajuraho Temples and was originally dedicated to the Siva
- Jatkari or Chaturbhuja Temple -situated near the Jatkari village, this temple faces west. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
About Chandela Dynasty:
- The Chandela Empire ruled central India from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries.
- Chandela were well known for their interest in art and architecture.
- Although followers of Shaivism, the Chandela were also said to have been inclined towards Vaishnavism and Jainismas well.
About Panna Biosphere :
- The Panna Biosphere is located in the Panna and Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh.
- It is situated in the Vindhya Mountain range in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh
- Ken River, a tributary of the Yamuna River, flows through the reserve.
- The ken-Betwa river interlinking projectwill be located within the tiger reserve.
- The region is also famous forPanna diamond mining.
- The Panna National Parkgot the status of India’s 22nd tiger reserve in 1994.
- In 2011, it was notified as a Biosphere Reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigersin the country followed by Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
Source: THE INDIAN EXPRESS
Previous Year Questions
Q.1) Th Prime Minister recently inaugurated the new Circuit House near Somnath Temple Veraval. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Somnath Temple? (2022)
- Somnath Temple is one of the Jyotirlinga shrines.
- A description of the Somnath Temple was given by Al-Biruni.
- Pran Pratishtha of Somnath Temple (installation of the present-day temple) was done by President S. Radhakrishnan.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3
Q.2) With reference to Chausath Yogini Temple situated near Morena, consider the following statements: (2021)
- It is a circular temple built during the reign of the Kachchhapaghata Dynasty.
- It is the only circular temple built in India.
- It was meant to promote the Vaishnava cult in the region.
- Its design has given rise to a popular belief that it was the inspiration behind the Indian Parliament building.
Which of the statements given above is correct?
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 4
- 2, 3 and 4
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