Decorated with graded and ascending series of smaller replicas of itself, totalling eight-four, the grand sikhara of the Kandariya, is a lofty and intricately-ornamented pile, somewhat restless in movement but unified in theme and design. Like the other fully-developed temples of Khajuraho, this temple consists on plan of the entrance-porch, mandaapa, maha-mandapa with lateral transepts, vestibule and sanctum enclosed by an ambulatory with transepts on the sides and the rear.
But what distinguishes this temple from the others is that it presents each constituent element of the plan and elevation on a grand scale and with considerable elaboration of design and ornamentation. Further, it has an extensively-indented plan with the largest number of projections and recesses which are rhythmically carried upon the elevation.
The Kandariya is the only temple of Khajuraho where the platform shows projections on the lateral sides and the rear, corresponding to the projections of the transepts. Again, of all the Khajuraho temples, it has the loftiest basement with the most numerous and elegantly-ornamented mouldings , which include two rows of processional friezes teeming with elephants and horses, warriors and hunters, acrobats and musicians, dancers, and devotees, and miscellaneous scenes including erotic couples.
The largest number of sculptures of alluring beauty appears on the three bands of its wall and represents an animated array of gods and goddesses, mithunas and sura-sundaris on projections and vyalas and nagis in recesses. The interior of the Kandariya temple is largely similar in design to that of the developed local temples , but is more spacious and gorgeous and is replete with a lavish wealth of carvings and sculptures. Kandariya is the only local temple which displays two makara-toranas, both of exquisite design, in the interior.
The sculptures on this temple are conspicuously slender and taller and show the richest variety of apsaras-types in lively and often violently-agitated postures. Exhibiting a mastery in the rendering of female contours and revealing a peak of conscious sophistication and exuberant grace, these sculptures represent the highest watermark of the characteristic art-diction of Khajuraho .
As this temple was anticipated by the Vishvanatha temple , which was completed in circa.1002 , it is slightly later than the Vishvanatha and may plausibly be assigned to the later part of Vidayadhara's reign or to circa.1025-50. Support is lent to this suggestion by the find of a short epigraph on mandapa-pilaster of this temple, mentioning a king called Virimda, which may have been a pet name of Vidyadhara.
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