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Khajuraho southern Temples

The Southern group of Khajuraho temples consists of only - the Dhuladeo temple, and the Chaturbhuj temple. The former is dedicated to lord Shiva while the latter is dedicated to lord Vishnu. The southern groups of temples lies 5 km from the Khajuraho village. Compared to the other two groups, the western and the eastern groups of temples, this group lacks the sculptural refinement and polish of the earlier shrines. It is because of this reason that it is considered as the least important part of the Khajuraho complex.

This group comprises just two temples. The Dhuladeo, located south of the Jain enclosure, was constructed well after the other temples. The Chaturbhuja temple, located much further south, is in a dilapidated condition but proudly sports a finely-rendered 9ft-high statue of Vishnu.

Dulhadeo Temple :

Built in circa AD 1100-1150, and dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Dulhadeo temple is situated south of the Khajuraho village. This Shaiva Temple, traditionally known as the temple of Duladeo or 'Kunwar Math', can be located about half a mile south of the Ghantai Temple and the same distance southwest of the Jain group of temples including the Parsvanath temple both of which belong to the eastern group of temples.

Also known as the Bridegroom Temple, t here is an image of Shiva on the lintel of the entrance to the garbh griha and the sanctum has a Shivlingam. The facades of this temple carry tedious repetitions of the images of standing Shiva and Shiva-Parvati.

Dulhadeo Temple Architecture :

The Dulhadeo temple is the most recent among all the temples of Khajuraho. It shows the influence of waning creativity of the artists for it lacks the beauty of the other temples made earlier in Khajuraho. It lacks the depth of relief, which is evident on a majority of the figures of nymphs of the exterior walls.

Fully developed, this temple measures 21 m by 12 m (69 ft. by 40 ft.) with the all the sections fully developed like the ardhamanadap, the mandapa, the maha mandapa, the antarala and the garbha griha with no circumambulatory passage. The ceiling of the maha mandap is made of a series of diminishing circles of overlapping stones. There is an image of Shiva on the lintel of the entrance to the garbh griha. The sanctum today enshrines a Shivlingam.

The architecture of the superstructure is in the traditional Khajuraho style, with several subsidiary shikhars clustering around the central shikhara.

Sculpture :

Apart from the other various sculptures inside the temple, the outer walls of the temple are decorated with three bands sculptures. The highest of the three bands of sculpture has an interesting portion called the vidyadhar. It has images, which are shown either flying singly, and flying in pairs. They carry weapons and garlands, brandish swords, and play on musical instruments. They are shown in dancing positions and their form bear the influence of the medieval period. The iconography of this temple also shows some distinctive traits. The Ashtavasu figures are invariably depicted here with a crocodile mount in place of the usual bull, while the 'dikpalas', 'yama' and 'Nirriti' wear their raised curls in a stylised fan shape. The highlights of this temple are the sensuous images of the apsaras, and other exquisite sculptures.

Though some of the figures carved on its walls are really praiseworthy, on the whole the renovations it has undergone in the recent past and the use of more wooden sculpture takes away its charm and authenticity to some extent.

Chaturbhuj Temple :

The Chaturbhuj Temple belongs to the southern group of Khajuraho temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it has a massive 9ft high, intricately carved image of Lord Vishnu, in Chaturbhuja (four-armed) form: varada (boon-giving) with his now broken lower right hand, and abhaya with his upper right hand, holds a manuscript along with a lotus stalk in his upper left hand, and possibly a water pot or conch shell in his lower left hand.

Chaturbhuj Temple Architecture :

The Chaturbhuj temple was built in 1100 A.D and is located about 3km from the Khajuraho village, near the Eastern Group of temples i.e. Lakshmana, Kandhariya Mahadeva. It looks similar to the Duladeo temple except for its size, which is smaller. This temple faces west and stands on a platform, which is approached by a flight of ten steps.. The floor of the platform is paved with white sandstone. The architectural and sculptural traditions of this temple are quite similar to the Javari temple. It is a nirandhara temple consisting of all the sections like a shikhara, sanctum, an antarala, the mahamandapa and an ardhmandapa, which are in fully developed stage and are interconnected, located on the same axis. But unlike the Dulahdeo temple the shikhara of this temple is plain.

Sculpture :

The Chaturbhuja Temple is the only temple in Khajuraho, which lacks erotic sculptures. There are three bands of sculptures on the jangha of the temple set with images of dikhpalas, ashtavasus, nymphs and the recesses of mythical lions. The temple looks very impressive due to its sculpture even though it is in ruins. Over the lintel of the doorway are carved exquisite figures of Brahama, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Like the Dulhadeo temple this too has been preserved in major portions but the signs of decline are very much evident on it.