This temple, which lies west of the Lakshmana, is the tallest and most evolved temple in Khajuraho in terms of the blending of architecture and sculpture, and one of the finest in India. Probably built around 1025–50 by King Vidyahara (the greatest of the Chandela kings), it follows the five-shrine design. Its central spire, which towers 102 feet above the platform, is actually made up of 84 subsidiary towers built up in increments. The feeling of ascent is repeated
inside, where each succeeding portico rises a step above the previous one, and the inner sanctum is higher still; dedicated to Shiva (Mahadev is another name for Shiva), this inner sanctum houses a marble lingam with a 4-foot circumference. Even the figures on this temple are taller and slimmer than those elsewhere. The rich interior carving includes two beautiful toranas (arched doorways). Outside, three bands of sculpture around the sanctum and transept bring to life a whole galaxy of Hindu gods and goddesses, mithunas, celestial handmaidens, and lions.
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, 471606, India