The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres (109 mi) southeast of Jhansi. They are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.
Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 and 1050 CE by the Chandela dynasty.Historical records note that the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples by 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometers. Of these, only about 20 temples have survived, spread over 6 square kilometers. Of the various surviving temples, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.
The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two religions—namely Hinduism and Jainism—suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains.
Khajuraho temples, like almost all Hindu temple designs, follow a grid geometrical design called vastu-purusha-mandala. This design plan has three important components – Mandala means circle, Purusha is universal essence at the core of Hindu tradition, while Vastu means the dwelling structure.
The design lays out a Hindu temple in a symmetrical, concentrically layered, self-repeating structure around the core of the temple called garbhagriya, where the abstract principle Purusha and the primary deity of the temple dwell. The shikhara, or spire, of the temple rises above the garbhagriya. This symmetry and structure in design is derived from central beliefs, myths, cardinality and mathematical principles.
The circle of mandala circumscribe the square. The square is considered divine for its
perfection and as a symbolic product of knowledge and human thought, while circle is considered earthly, human and observed in everyday life (moon, sun, horizon, water drop, rainbow). Each supports the other. The square is divided into perfect 64 sub-squares called padas.
Most Khajuraho temples deploy the 8×8 (64) padas grid Manduka Vastupurushamandala, with pitha mandala the square grid incorporated in the design of the spires. The primary deity or lingas are located in the grid’s Brahma padas.