On the north side of Jain Temples Road a more modern temple is home to a 2m-high image of monkey god Hanuman that may predate all of Khajuraho’s temples and shrines. As the road forks left along the eastern shore of the murky Khajur Sagar lake, at the edge of Khajuraho village, it passes the remains of a single-room temple erroneously referred to as the Brahma temple. It is in fact a shrine to Shiva, as demonstrated by its chaturmukha – “four-faced” – lingam. While the eastern and western faces carry benign expressions, and the north face bears the gentler aspect of Uma, the female manifestation of Shiva, the ferocious southern face is surrounded by images of death and destruction. Crowning the lingam is the rounded form of Sadashiva, Shiva the Infinite at the centre of the cosmos.

The largest of the Khajuraho village temples, Vamana, stands alone in a field 200m further north. Erected slightly earlier than Javari, in a fully evolved Chandella style, Vamana has a simple uncluttered shikhara that rises in bands covered with arch-like motifs. Figures including seductive celestial nymphs form two bands around the jangha, the body of the temple, while a superb doorway leads to the inner sanctum, which is dedicated to Vamana, an incarnation of Vishnu. On the way to the Jain group, the road runs near what survives of a late tenth-century temple, known as Ghantai for its fine columns sporting bells (ghantai), garlands and other motifs.

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