The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres 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 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.
The Khajuraho group of monuments was built during the rule of the Rajput Chandela dynasty. The building activity started almost immediately after the rise of their power, throughout their kingdom to be later known as Bundelkhand. Most temples were built during the reigns of the Hindu kings Yashovarman and Dhanga. Yashovarman's legacy is best exhibited by Lakshmana temple. Vishvanatha temple best highlights King Dhanga's reign.: The largest and currently most famous surviving temple is Kandariya Mahadeva built in the reign of King Ganda from 1017-1029 CE. The temple inscriptions suggest many of the currently surviving temples were complete between 970 to 1030 CE, with further temples completed during the following decades.
The Khajuraho temples were built about 35 miles from the medieval city of Mahoba, the capital of the Chandela dynasty, in the Kalinjar region. In ancient and medieval literature, their kingdom has been referred to as Jijhoti, Jejahoti, Chih-chi-to and Jejakabhukti.
Khajuraho was mentioned by Abu Rihan-al-Biruni, the Persian historian who accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni in his raid of Kalinjar in 1022 CE, the mentions Khajuraho as the capital of Jajahuti. The raid was unsuccessful, and a peace accord was reached when the Hindu king agreed to pay a ransom to Mahmud of Ghazni to end the attack and leave.
Khajuraho temples were in active use through the end of 12th century. This changed in the 13th century, after the army of Delhi Sultanate, under the command of the Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom.