Kiradu group of temples, Kiradu, Rajasthan - an epitome of architectural grandeur .

Kiradu temple, Rajasthan

Richly ornamental Mandaba pillar Kiradu, Rajasthan.

Kiradu temple, Rajasthan

Kiradu temple,

Above images; Kiradu group of temples, Kiradu, Rajasthan. Except Khajuraho and Konark temple,  nowhere will you see such refined, imaginative and mind-boggling artistic stone carving on the walls of the temples, pillars, etc. They show the opulence of this place in the 10th and 11th century and  exemplify  the Hindu way of living, their culture and ethos. A glorious period of the past era......  

Kiradu Rajasthan,

Located in the midst of the Thar desert of Barmer district,  Rajasthan, close to the Indo-Pakistani border area  are the beautiful but ruined Kiradu group of Hindu  temples that were constructed with  architectural flourish during the 11-12th century by the vassals of the Chalukya (Solanki) kings. In 1178 CE Chalukia ruler carried out repairs in the temple damaged by Turkish army led by Muhammad of Ghor.   At the Battle of Kasahrada the foreign invaders were defeated by the Chaulukya forces. Originally this place was known as Kiratakupa.

Of them five temples survive today. It is said during the heyday it was a group of 108 temples but  now only five temples are left.  As to the date of construction, it is a bone of contention and the date varies between 10 to 12th CE. The only temple that is fairly well  preserved is Shiva temple dedicated to Someshwara.  Its shikhara has collapsed and the hall-mandapa missing; in spite of it this temple is so complete, it can be restored back to old glory. Beautiful ornate columns (forming octagonal shape)  support the missing mandapa and meticulously carved sculptures include various images of  humans and animals.    Today the style  of this type of architecture is often called Māru-Gurjara architecture, but used to be known as ''Solanki style' by western historians. 

Shiva temple Kiradu Rajasthan.

Kiradu temple, Rajasthan. pinrest

Kiradu temple, Rajasthan

 ornamental pillars and damaged mandapa,Kiradu temple,Rajasthan.

Kiradu temple, Rajasthan

The Vishnu temple at the other end and columns and mandaba are still intact. The three Shiva temples  that lie between the two ends show different preservation condition and they appear to be simple. At these temples inner sanctuaries are fairly intact so is the step-well.  

It is quite disappointing that primarily  because of lack of publicity by the state tourism department  and prevailing unsubstantiated curse on this place, the artistically awe-inspiring Kiradu group has remained largely unknown out side Rajasthan including south India. Yet another reason is its remote location at the end of a desert. In these amazing but ruined temples in the arid region of Rajasthan unfolds  architectural  grandeur and opulence frozen in a vast sea of stone sculptures that stand apart on the exterior walls and on the pillars.    

 Often referred to as “Khajuraho of Rajasthan” or “Mini Khajuraho of India” the extend of sculptures of demi-gods is not vast as in the former, but they were carved assiduously and the artisans would have spent lots of time giving life to these images, unmindful of his work-condition in a dry land with harsh dry weather.