The creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon. The name Khajuraho derives from the khajur or date palm trees that once surrounded the huge Khajurvahaka Tal.The legend that describes the origin of this great dynasty is a fascinating one Hemavati, the beautiful young daughter of a Brahmin priest was seduced by the moon god while bathing in the Rati one evening. The child born of this union between a mortal and a god was a son, Chandravarman. Harassed by society, the unwed mother sought refuge in the dense forest of Central India where she was both mother and guru to her young son. The boy grew up to found the great Chandela dynasty.
When he was established as a ruler, he had a dream-visitation from his mother, who implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire.In order to atone for his mother's lapse, he raised temples that celebrated the union of Purush and Prakriti, man and nature, as the source of all life and creation. Chandravarman began the construction of the first of the temples, successive rulers added to the fast growing complex.Chandela Rajputs rose to power during the early 10th century AD in the land known as Jajhauti, now Bundelkhand. From being local feudatories of the Partiharas of Kannauj, they rose to become a major power in northern India. They were great patrons of the arts and equally great builders.
Temple construction continued sporadically until the 12th century. Far removed from the politcal centre of the kingdom, its location minimised the danger of external attack, making Khajuraho te Chandelas' spiritual homeland. In 1335 Ibn Batuta talks about 'Kajarra' with a great pond, flanked by temples containing idols and ascetics with matted locks living in them.
It is the amorous couples of Khajuraho, appearing mostly on the panels of the sandhara temples, that have drawn maximum attention. Their gestures and expressions pulsate with life and exhibit great passion, sensitivity, joy and warmth.
Traditionally, love or kama, symbols of life and creation, had religious sanction as one of the aims of pursuits of life, along with dharma or piety and artha or economic pursuit. The full attainment of all three leads to moksha or salvation. Depictions of mithuna or loving human couples were seen as auspicious signs of fertility that would ward off evil and bestow great merit on the builder when used in architecture.