Kandariya-Mahadev Temple

Top choice in Khajuraho

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The 30.5m-long Kandariya-Mahadev, built between 1025 and 1050, is the largest Western Group temple and represents the high point of Chandela architecture. It also has the most representations of female beauty and sexual acrobatics of any Khajuraho temple. There are 872 statues, most nearly 1m high – taller than those at the other temples. One frequently photographed sculpture on the south side illustrates the feasibility of the headstand position.

The 31m-high sikhara (temple spire) here is, like a lingam, a phallic Shiva symbol, worshipped by Hindus hoping to seek deliverance from the cycle of reincarnation. It and the mandapa (pillared pavilion) are decorated with 84 subsidiary spires, which make up a mountain-like rooftop scene reminiscent of the Himalayan abode of the gods.