Jaunt to the Medieval Duladeo Shrine during Holidays in India

Duladeo Temple in India

Duladeo Temple in India

The state of Madhya Pradesh is renowned for its numerous medieval temples. Khajuraho, in the Chhatarpur district of this state, has about 20 such structures that may be visited during holidays in India. These were built by Emperors Yashovarman and Dhanga of the Chandela house of the Rajput clan during the 10th and 11th centuries. Between the 13th and 18th centuries, various Muslim rulers, invaded the area to desecrate the shrines, but most were protected owing to their remoteness. From the 1830s, numerous British officials went to Khajuraho on a mission to rediscover and study the temples. The complex is situated deep in the Vindhyan Mountain Range and is located near a lake and a river. Legends say that 64 water bodies existed in the region and archaeologists have been able to identify 54 of them. The places of worship are dedicated to lords Vishnu, Shiva, their different aspects and consorts, other Hindu deities and Jain preachers. One of the most well-preserved structures in the complex is Duladeo Temple.

Duladeo Temple

The Duladeo shrine, facing the eastern direction, is situated close to river Khudar and lies in the southern part of the complex. It stands on a high stone platform and has architecture worth admiring. A flight of stairs leads up from the ground and takes visitors to a spacious porch. Going onwards, people reach an open hall known as mandapa that has carved stone-pillars to support the roof. Beyond the mandapa is the sanctum, known as garbhagriha, where the idol is and atop it rises a conical tower. A thing, worth noticing, is that the statue does not have a circular path around it, signifying that the peak period of construction was over.

Adornments

Images of river goddesses, holding umbrellas can be seen, sculpted into walls of the main entrance at the end of the porch. The main hall is octagonal in shape and its walls have shelves, carved with depictions of celestial nymphs, known as apsaras in the texts. Each shelf has carvings of 2-3 nymphs and these brackets are arranged in a circle, below the ceiling. The topmost row of such brackets has portrayals of supernatural couples, called Vidyadhara. In one of the passages inside the temple, is a sculpture of a dancer, adorned with jewellery and from her pose, she appears to be playing a game of dice. All these dancers are shown among mango trees and fruits, which are thought to symbolise fertility. Their physical attributes, such as double chins and shapely eyebrows, are clearly visible. Also among the wall-sculptures are those of demigods or Devas and Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Inside the sanctum is the linga that is apparently decorated with 999 more such icons with the thought-process that circumnavigating it would amount to encircling 1000 lingas. The conical tower or shikhara above it symbolises the pointed mountains of the Himalayas and Mount Kailash, the abode of the Lord Shiva in particular. Its sides appear to be surrounded by two smaller towers, the smaller tower, below the other, bigger shikhara. The most noticeable feature of the place is the abundance of sculptures, depicting human couples in erotic poses. Travellers, as part of their India tour packages, may take flights to the town of Khajuraho from Delhi, Mumbai and Agra and trains from the national capital.

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