Xplore Khajuraho (ISBN: 978-8193208557)
Published 2017 (Catalogued at Bodleian Library, University of Oxford)
336 Pages; 400+ Photographs; 30+ Ground Plans, Flexibound
Inception | I first visited Khajuraho in 2006 and was simply overwhelmed to the sky-soaring edifices of the Chandelas. Exploration of many other Chandela sites such as Chandpur, Dudhai, Hirapur, Budhi Chanderi, Badoh-Pathari instigated my desire to know more about these monumental builders. While exploring the many sacred shrines at Angkor, I was intrigued by the Khmer connection with Chandelas. It is well-known and accepted that Angkor derived much of their artistic and cultural from India specifically from South India but there are other uncanny resemblances. Chandelas and Khmers shared their titles, iconography and the underlying concept of a temple. Both used expansive manicured landscapes, made use of high-plights with layers of moldings, and most importantly shared the same form and thematic while depicting the deities. After 2 more visits to the temple town, I was sure that a book on Khajuraho is coming.
Roles & Responsibilities | Research including visits to Khajuraho, Ajaygarh, Kalinjar, Dhubela, and Dudhai; Extensive Photography of architecture and sculptures; Author
Objectives | To showcase the real Kharjuravahaka – the flourishing center of artists and sculptors where Chandela craftsmen took temple architecture to unprecedented heights. The idea was to bring forth not merely Khajuraho as an isolated case but the whole of the creative impetus provided by the Chandelas, all over Central India. For achieving this objective, a well-thought off photographic excursion was planned; if the soaring spires required wide angle lenses, the intricacies of the sculptures called for a telephoto. The low-light inside the temple interior was tackled by use of a tripod, permission for which was generously granted by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). Photographing art exhibits from different museums was also planned to give a holistic picture about their energetic patrons.
Coverage | The book complies an exhaustive coverage of all Khajuraho Temples – from the well-maintained popular ones like the Western and Eastern Groups to the lesser known, off-the-track shrines like the Lalguan Mahadeva and Bijamandal. It also includes nearby destinations such as Kalinjar, Ajaygarh, Panna and Dhubela. Adorned with over 400 high resolution real site photographs, ground plans, sketches the book contains comprehensive details with architectural drawings. An updated and expanded Map of Khajuraho has also been included for facilitating tourist itineraries. Section on practicalities with contact details of local guides makes this guidebook an indispensable companion for any exploration of this temple town.
Response | “Studded with lavish portfolio of photographs, the guidebook shows what other guidebooks only tell. The authors have taken pain to capture each and every sculptural details with depiction of all important ones. Images of dimly lit sanctum interiors and sculptures taken at dawn/dusk stand apart for their warmth.”
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