The temples of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh are renowned throughout the world and are a prestige UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting a legacy of the stunning temple art and architecture of India. Most of the temple were dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu while some are Jain temples as well. Today, of the estimated 85 temples only 25 remain and Duladeo Temple is one of them. Duladeo Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the youngest temple in the Khajuraho temple complex. Though not as grand and majestic as some of the other stunning temples in the complex, Duladeo temple looks like a prototype in a smaller version of the famous Kandariya Mahadev Temple. Also known as Dulhadev Temple, it has several fascinating myths and legends associated with it which makes it even more attractive site in the complex. It was built during the 12th century by the Chandela dynasty and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings and sculptures, which are considered some of the finest examples of the Nagara style of temple architecture.
The temple is built on a high platform and has beautiful carvings of various deities, apsaras, and erotic scenes on its walls. It has a square plan with a porch, a mandapa, and a sanctum sanctorum. The Duladeo Temple is a popular tourist attraction and is considered one of the must-visit temples in Khajuraho.
The Duladeo Temple, also known as the Kunwar Math Temple, is a hindu temple located in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India. It was built in the late 12th century during the reign of the Chandela dynasty, which ruled the region from the 10th to the 13th centuries. The temple is dedicated to the hindu deity Lord Shiva and is one of the group of temples in Khajuraho that is renowned for its elaborate carvings and sculptures. The exact history and purpose of the Duladeo Temple are not well documented, but it is believed to have been built by a local ruler or nobleman named Dulha Deo. Some historians believe that the temple was built as a private shrine for Dulha Deo and his family, while others suggest that it was built as a public temple for the worship of Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed during a period of great prosperity and cultural achievement in the Chandela dynasty. The rulers of the dynasty were known for their patronage of the arts, particularly temple architecture and sculpture. The temples at Khajuraho, including the Duladeo Temple, are some of the finest examples of medieval temple architecture in India.The Duladeo Temple, like many of the temples in Khajuraho, fell into disuse and disrepair over the centuries. It was rediscovered and restored in the 20th century, and today it is a popular tourist attraction and a testament to the rich cultural heritage of India.
How the temple got its name?
According to an interesting tale, more than a century ago, the Shiva temple located on the banks of Khodar River was also a resting place for pilgrims. Once, a group of people coming back from a wedding to their village camped here at night. But the newly married groom suddenly fell ill and fainted and all efforts to resuscitate him went in vain. The locals then advised the group to pray to the Shiva ling inside the temple. Everyone did so and the groom regained consciousness miraculously. From that day on the temple came to be known as Duladeo in colloquial language where ‘dula’ or ‘dulha’ means groom and ‘deo’ or ‘dev’ means God.
The Mystic of Duladeo Temple?
There is another fascinating legend of a mystic who resided near the temple. The holy man daily revered Shiva in the temple and in the process it is said that he gained a mystical aura. The locals started venerating him and one day requested him to show them the form of shiva using his mystical powers. The saint politely declined and confessed that he himself has never seen the original form of shiva so how could he show it to anyone. At that moment the sky glowed with a lightning bolt and in a flash of light, an outline of a face was seen in the sky. From that day the holy man was venerated even more. He dedicated his life to taking care of the temple and died there as well. He was cremated near the river and a memorial was built which can be seen even today. Surprisingly, lightning is known to strike the temple frequently with no evident logical explanation.
Duladeo Temple is one of the last temples to be constructed during the Chandela reign and presents a stunning visual with its sheer architectural brilliance and the exquisiteness of its sculptures. The temple is built in the Nirandhara style which means the absence of a circumambulatory path or Pradakshina, but the overall architectural design is done in the Nagara style of architecture. The entire structure sits on a raised platform with flight of steps on the front to reach the entrance porch known as the Ardha mandapa. After this the mandapa, Maha mandapa (main hall), Antarala or vestibule, and finally the Garba Griha or the sanctum sanctorum can be seen. The Shikhara (topmost part) of the temple comprises smaller shikharas known as Urushringas assembled in three rows. The main hall has an octagonal shape and is adorned with stunning carvings of Apsaras and other celestial beings. Inside the Garbha Griha, the diety in the form of Shivaling presides which is a unique Shivaling and is known as Rekhal Shiv Ling. It contains 1008 minor Shivalings in the form of lines and circumambulating this Shivling once is considered equal to 1008 circumambulations.
Due to several lighting strikes in the temple, its outer walls have been renovated and thus several portions of it are plain. Only the original surviving ornamentations of the outer walls have exquisite carvings of apsara, erotic couples, different gods and goddesses, and celestial animals. A unique feature about the apsara carvings is that the accessories and ornamentations wore by them had evolved with time and were distinct from those found in previously made temples. Though the Duladeo temple does not measure kandariya mahadev temple in terms of sheer size, it does successfully imitate the temple’s aesthetics with its design and artistic adornment.
There are no specific festivals or celebrations that are associated with the Duladeo Temple itself. However, being a Hindu temple, the major Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and Maha Shivaratri are celebrated in Khajuraho, and devotees often visit the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings on these occasions. In addition, the Khajuraho dance festival is a popular cultural event that takes place annually in February/March, featuring classical dance performances by renowned artists from all over India. The festival is held in an open-air auditorium near the temples of Khajuraho, including the Duladeo Temple, and attracts many visitors from all over the world.
Timings – The temple is open from 6am to 6pm every day.
Entry fees – There is no entry fee.
Location – Duladeo temple, Sevagram, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh.
The Duladeo temple is believed to have been constructed by a local noble man Dulha Deo during the reign of the Chandela king Kirttivarman.
One can visit the temple from 6am to 7pm everyday.
Duladeo temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Duladeo temple is in the complex of the a href="/places/worship/khajuraho-temple">Khajuraho Group of Monuments which is a UNESCO world heritage site in itself.