In a celebration of human physical beauty and love, the
facades on the temple walls are replete with men and women in various
moods of lovemaking. They highlight the Indian philosophical thought that
ultimately, all pursuits of knowledge and expression are but different
ways of achieving salvation
Kajuraho is well known for vivid erotic sculptures but these constitute hardly 5% of the total embellishments. Most of the sculptures depict various gods and goddesses, 'apsaras' and 'surasundaris' (divine nymphs), animals, real and legendary and miscellaneous themes of dances and musicians, worshippers, teachers and disciples and processions of foot-soldiers and horses and elephants, with or without riders.
The temples were mostly dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu and also to the Sun God and the Jain 'tirthankaras' but the sculptures themes and architectural designs show an incredible uniformity but for a few cult sculptures, which occupy prominent fixed places.
The twenty-two temples that survive today are a flight of fantasy. At once they idolize all the major Hindu Gods. A three-headed Brahma, Shiva, Kali, Vishnu, Lakshmi and the Sun God, Surya are all venerated here. To add to this multifaceted worldview, are the three Jain temples that venerate Mahavira and other Jain saints.
From The Annals Of History
According to tradition, Kajuraho was so called because one of its city gates was ornamented with two golden 'khajur' (date palm) trees. In the Prithviraja-Raso of Chand Bardai, Khajuraho is called 'Khajurapura' or 'Khajjinapura'. Possibly, the place abounded in ancient times in 'khajur' or the date palm trees and hence the name. The earliest historical evidence of the Chandela occupation of Kajuraho is furnished by the Lakshmana Temple inscription of Dhanga dated 954.
But the earliest recorded reference to Khajuraho is found in the Visvanatha Temple (Kajuraho) inscription of Dhanga dated 1002, which calls the place 'Kharjjura-vahaka', apparently the original form of Khajuraho. It is, however, the Muslim chroniclers who specifically mention Khajuraho as the capital of Jejabhukti and of the Chandelas.
Abu Rihan Al-Biruni who visited this region in 1022 AD speaks of Kajuraha as the capital of Jajahuti, while a contemporary chronicler Ibnu'I-Athir mentions Kajuraha as the territory of King Bida (Vidyadhar). After the death of Vidyadhar, the Chandelas gradually declined and with their decline, the political importance of Kajuraho also waned off.
But that Khajuraho continued to be the religious capital of the Chandelas till the fourteenth century is attested by the graphic description of Ibn Batuta, who visited the place in 1335 AD.