The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho where romanticism is personified in stone

Published (1939)
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple Temple, MP Purohi
The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple (meaning "the Great God of the Cave") is the most popular temple in India, well-known for its miniature erotic stone sculptures, a romantic celebration in stone. One of the best preserved  examples of India' fine temple architecture  since  the medieval period, it a large and  the most ornate temple located at Khajuraho  in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. This temple complex covers over an area of 6 square km (2.3 sq mi). In 1986 itself it was  in the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple,MP  Temple Advisor
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple,MP
The  Kandariya Mahadeva is believed to be  the most evolved and representative architecture in India's Chandela Dynasty period of the tenth and eleventh centuries. Structurally massive in scale the temple rests on  a large base platform four meters in height, with its tall tapering tower - Gopura rising to a height of   thirty-five meters from the ground, symbolic of Mt. Meru, which is believed to be a mythical source of creation, This temple is (102 ft) in length and 20 meters (66 ft) in width. The overlying superstructure has richly decorated roofs which rise in a grand fashion  terminating in the shikara, which has 84 miniature spires. Among the temples here, it is the tallest and grandest one; the most appealing temple that needs plenty of time to explore it. The unique feature of this temple is its indented plan highlighted by tcountless interlocking steeples and vertical clusters of carved figures. It enhances the beauty of this structure that gives a unique pattern through out the elevation up to the top.  
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple .en
Above image:  The Kandariya Mahadeva temple was built during the reign of Vidyadhara (r. c. 1003-1035 CE). During reign of this dynasty at various periods  many famous temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Shakti of the Hindu religion and also to the Thirthankaras of Jain religion. The temple mentions the name of the builder of the temple as Virimda who is believed to be Vidhyadhara .....................................................
Khajuraho tample layout en
Above image:  Temples layout map of Khajuraho Group of Monuments: at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is in the western group..........................................
Unlike the ornate exterior, the interior is not embellished and simple in appearance.  The interior of Kandariya Mahadeva, on the other hand, is quite simple and here, from the entrance, there are three mandapas or halls, which successively rise in height and width. There are three shrines combined together, one dedicated to
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva
Above image: Various features of the temple marked on the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple,
Khajuraho.The largest has 84 mini spires.............................
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple..Shutterstock
Shiva, the other one to  Shiva's consort  Parvati, and a central shrine where there is a large Lingam,  a phallic form of Shiva suggestive of his being formless - ''no beginning and no end''(in Tamil ''Aathiyum ellai, anthamum ellai''). The inner  garbagriha - sanctum is surrounded by well-connected corridors- prathakshana path  with side and front porches. Since  the temple's balconies and entrances  are not designed as to let the natural light in, it is  dark inside and is not well lit. It is obvious it created a sort of cave like ambiance inside and in contrast with the  ornate and well ornamented exterior  that never fails to get the attention of the visitors to this rare temple.
Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple  Kevin Standage -

Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
It is just mind-boggling as to how the talented sculptors of that period   meticulously created a sheer number of temple carvings and set them uniformly through out creating a rhythm in the pattern  at Kandariya Mahadeva temple. The main attractions here are the  stone carvings on the outside of the temple  that include a large assortment of male gods and female goddesses with some of the most important objects of these carvings showing their subjects in eye-catching postures. The wall relief  depicts the joyous and rapturous setting of the gods' heaven, replete with beautiful flying celestial, and amorous couples shown in seductive embraces, reflecting the creative way in which sexuality is seen in Hinduism, as one of the infinite number of ways to express love for the deity.