History of Khajuraho
The name Khajuraho derives from the
khajur or date palm trees that once surrounded the huge Khajurvahaka Tal.
Legend has it that one sultry summer night, Hemvati, the widowed daughter of
a minister of the King of Benaras, was bathing in the lake when the Moon God
Chandrama saw here and was entranced by her beauty. The son born out of
their union was Chandravarman who grew up to found the Chandela dynasty.
order to atone for his mother's lapse, he raised temples that celebrated the
union of Purush and Prakriti, man and nature, as the source of all life and
creation. Chandela Rajputs rose to power during the early 10th century AD in
the land known as Jajhauti, now Bundelkhand. From being local feudatories of
the Partiharas of Kannauj, they rose to become a major power in northern
India. They were great patrons of the arts and equally great builders. From
12th century onward, the other rival power of central India and Muslim
invaders like Mahmud Ghazni whom the Chandelas had kept at bay, began
Al-Biruni, the chronicler of Mahmud Ghazni,
mentions Jajhauti with 'Kajuraha' as its capital. Khajuraho was the historic
capital of the Chandellas, who ruled over this area from the 9th through the
13th centuries. It was known as Kharjuravahaka. Tradition has it that the
city gates were ornamented with two golden Kharjura or date palm trees. It
is also believed that the name was derived from the numerous date palm trees
that thrived in the vicinity. The Chandellas trace their origin to the
mythical sage Chandratreya born of the moon.
The Chandella dynasty
came into being after the break up of the Pratiharas. During the reign of
the rulers Harsha and Yashovarma or Lakshavarma in the 1st half of the 10th
century, the Chandellas rose to power. Lakshavarma was succeeded by Dhanga
who ruled for about 50 years and it was during his rule that several temples
were constructed at Khajuraho.