One of the most popular tourist destinations in India, Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu temples, famous for their erotic sculpture. The name Khajuraho is derived from the Hindi word khajur meaning date palm.
The city was once the original capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a Hindu dynasty that ruled this part of India from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The Khajuraho temples were built over a span of a hundred years, from 950 to 1050. The Chandela capital was moved to Mahoba after this time, but Khajuraho coninued to flourish for some time.
The whole area was enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees. There were originally over 80 Hindu temples, of which only 22 now stand in a reasonable state of preservation, scattered over an area of about 8 square miles (21 km²).
Unlike other cultural centers of North India, the temples of Khajuraho never underwent massive destruction and a number of them have survived. They are fine examples of Indian architectural styles that have gained popularity due to their salacious depiction of the traditional way of life during medieval times. They were rediscovered during the late 19th century and the jungles had taken a toll on some of the monuments.
The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO's World Heritage Site.
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