North of Kandariya Mahadeva along the platform, the earlier Devi Jagadambi temple is a simpler structure, whose outer walls lack projecting balconies. Originally dedicated to Vishnu, its prominent mandapa is capped by a massive pyramidal roof. Three bhandas (belts) bind the jangha (body), adorned with exquisite and sensuous carvings; the erotica on the third is arguably Khajuraho’s finest. Vishnu appears throughout the panels, all decorated with sinuous figures of nymphs, gods and goddesses, some in amorous embrace. Some consider the image in the temple sanctum to be a standing Parvati, others argue that it is the black goddess Kali, known here as Jagadambi.

Between Kandariya Mahadeva and Jagadambi, the remains of Mahadeva temple shelter a 1m high lion accompanied by a figure of indeterminate sex. Recurring throughout Khajuraho, the highly stylized lion motif, seen here rearing itself over a kneeling warrior with drawn sword, may have been an emblem of the Chandellas.

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