The resplendent Hindu temples of KHAJURAHO, immaculately restored after almost a millennium of abandonment and neglect, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are an essential stop on any itinerary of India’s historic monuments. Famed for the delicate sensuality – and forthright eroticism – of their sculpture, they were built between the tenth and twelfth centuries AD and remain the greatest architectural achievement of the Chandella dynasty.

Waves of Afghan invaders soon hastened the decline of the Chandellas, however, who abandoned the temples for more secure ground shortly after they were built. The temples gradually fell out of use and by the sixteenth century had been swallowed by the surrounding jungle. It took “rediscovery” by the British in 1838 before these masterpieces were fully appreciated in India, let alone internationally. It is still not known exactly why the temples were built and there are a number of competing theories (see The erotic art of Khajuraho); some say they are a “how to” guide for brahmin boys while others claim they symbolize the wedding party of Shiva and Parvati.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

India features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
13 tips for backpacking India

13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will alwa…

15 Aug 2017 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month