LAKSHMANA TEMPLE: Facade.Western Group, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
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Lakshmana Temple

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The large Lakshmana Temple took 20 years to build and was completed in about AD 954 during the reign of Dhanga, according to an inscription in its mandapa (pillared front pavilion). It’s arguably the best preserved of all the Khajuraho temples. On the southern side of its base are some of Khajuraho's most orgiastic carvings, including one gentleman and a horse, with a shocked figure peeping out from behind her hands.

You’ll see carvings of battalions of soldiers on the frieze around the base – the Chandelas were generally at war when they weren’t inventing new sexual positions – as well as musicians, hunters and plenty of elephants, horses and camels. Some superb carvings can also be found around the garbhagriha (inner sanctum). The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, although it’s similar in design to the Shiva temples Vishvanath and Kandariya-Mahadev.

The two small shrines facing Lakshmana's east end are the Lakshmi Temple (usually locked) and the Varaha Temple, containing a wonderful, 1.5m-high sandstone carving of Vishnu as his boar avatar, dating from AD 900 and meticulously carved with a pantheon of gods.

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Nearby Khajuraho attractions

1. Matangesvara Temple

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Right next to the Lakshmana Temple but separated from it by the enclosure fence, Matangesvara is the only temple in the Western Group still in everyday…

3. Varaha Shrine

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Facing the Lakshmana Temple, the little Varaha Shrine houses a wonderful 1.5m-high sandstone carving of Vishnu as his boar avatar, dating from AD 900 and…

4. Pratapeswar Temple

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Near the Vishvanath Temple, the white Pratapeswar is a much more recent bricks-and-mortar structure built around 200 years ago.

5. Parvati Temple

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Walking around the Western Group enclosure from the Chitragupta Temple you come to the closed-up Parvati Temple on your right, a small temple originally…

6. Western Group

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Khajuraho’s most striking and best-preserved temples are those within the fenced-off section of the Western Group. An Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)…

7. Vishvanath Temple


Believed to have been built in 1002, the Vishvanath Temple anticipates the plan and style of the Kandariya-Mahadev Temple. Dedicated to Shiva, it's a…

8. Nandi Shrine

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A 2.2m-long statue of Nandi, Shiva’s bull vehicle, faces the Vishvanath Temple dedicated to Shiva. The elephant frieze round the basement of this 12…