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.

Vamana Temple

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.

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