Khajuraho has been recognized by UNESCO as a place of world heritage on account of its magnificent temples. There is no doubt Khajuraho is one of the most prominent international tourist destination of India. It was widely known as the religious capital of mighty Chandellas in the medieval period 9th to 13th Century AD. The temples of Khajuraho are generally divided into three categories.
Western, Eastern and Northern.
The Eastern group mainly consisting of Jain temples. There are thirty Four Jain Temples in total. But from architectural point of view the Parsvanath, the Adinath and the Shantinath temples are relatively more important and worth seeing. These temples are unique examples of religious harmony and spirit of accommodation. The Shantinath Temple is famous for its 14 feet high standing idol, According to an inscription on it, it was installed in V.S. 1085. This idol is full of miracles. About 400 years ago, while invading dome idol breakers came here and applied hammer to the little finger to break the idol. A strong flow of milk started from it and at the same time dense flock of honey bees attached on the invaders and made them to run away without any more damage. Desires of devotees are fulfilled here after prayer and worships.
Shri 1008 Lord Shantinath temple is the main temple with 4 ft. high statue in the khadagasana posture. This temple contains a large number of remarkable and beautiful images of Tirthankaras (e.g. Lord Rishabh Dev, Parshwanath, ChandraPrabhu) along with the rarely majestic sculpture of the parents of Tirthankar. Almost all the Tirthankar images are adorned by ‘Asta-Pratiharyas’ (eight miracles) such as Indras with flying whisks, three umbrellas (chhattars), Hallow (Prabha-mandal), throne (Simhasan), etc. This temple also contains a picture-gallery, which exhibits photos of prominent Jain monuments of India as a whole, in a chronological manner.
The Parsvanath temple is famous in the world as it contains some of the most excellent sculptures of Khajuraho e.g. figures of Lakshmi-Narain, Balram-Reoti, eight Dikpalas (i.e. Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Kuber and Isan), Ambika, Kamdev-Rati, Ram-Sita along with Hanuman. This temple is also privileged to possess the best art pieces of Sura-Sundaris (Divine Nymphs) in various attractive postures. These can’t be unnoticed by visitors. This temple is a ‘Panchayatan type’ of temple in Nagar-style; as it has got all the five organs thereof i.e. Ardha-Mandap, Mandap, Maha-Mandap, Antaral and Garbhagriha (Sanctum).
Third is the Adinath temple located on the right of the Parsvanath temple. It is a beautiful – though small shrine. It is known for its simple but well-ornamented ‘Shikhar’ (spire) and the three bands of sculptures on its semi-circular outer wall containing figures of Gandharvas and Kinnars (celestial musicians) and Vidyadharas, various Yakshas (Gods . attending on Tirthankaras) and Apsaras (celestial fairies). The figures of “Govadan” (or “Gomukh”) – the attendant Yaksha of Lord Risabhadev have been conspicuously carved-out. This temple has got the rare sculptures of sixteen Digambar Jain Vidyadevis – which have been very carefully carved out by the master-artist of Khajuraho, who has taken much care and great pains to depict these goddesses along with their ‘Vahanas’ (vehicles) and ‘Ayudhas’ (weapons) and the necessary ‘Parikar’ (background).