India, Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho, Vishvanath Temple dating from the 10th Century. (Photo by: Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Vishvanath Temple

Top choice in Khajuraho

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 superlative example of Chandela architecture, with a riot of carved figures continuing up to the highest levels of the sikharas. Sculptures include a female doing a headstand in the north-side recess; sensuous surasundaris writing letters, cuddling babies, looking in mirrors and scratching their backs; and miniature camels, horses, musicians, elephants, warriors and dancers in the lowest frieze.

At the east end of the platform, a 2.2m-long statue of Nandi, Shiva’s bull vehicle, faces the temple. The basement of this 12-pillared shrine is decorated with an elephant frieze that recalls similar work on the Lakshmana Temple’s facade.

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1. 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…

2. 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…

3. 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.

4. 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)…

6. Lakshmana Temple


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…

7. Varaha Shrine


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…

8. 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…