Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MP Diaries - Chaumukhanath and Parvati Temples of Nachna

For the last day of our exciting road trip in Madhya Pradesh, we had in our itinerary three places to visit namely Nachna, Tigawa and Bhedaghat. We started from Khajuraho early in the morning so we could cover all the three within our time limit. We reached Nachna which is home to two beautiful temples built between 5-7th century, our first destination for the day. Though reaching Nachna was not at all difficult, there was something special about this place probably owing to its remoteness. After a final enquiry at the village of Nachna, we were directed to this temple complex.
Nachne/ Nachna
Chaumukhanath Temple, Nachna

The Chaumukhanath Temple is an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and built during the reign of the Prathihara dynasty. It is  datable to the post Gupta period around 7th century AD and is regarded as one of the earliest temples built by the Prathiharas. The sanctum houses a very beautiful four faced Shiva linga (chaumukha). The four manifestations of Lord Shiva depicted on the four directions are as follows: facing east is Tatpurusha (three eyed and represents the air element); facing north is Vamadeva (expresses feminine qualities and represents the water element); facing south is Aghora (expresses wrath with bulging eyes, raised nostrils and a widely opened mouth and represents the fire element); and facing west is Sadyojata (expresses calm and serene qualities and represents the earth element). The shrine is square in plan with a porch in the front and has a covered ambulatory path pierced by perforated windows (Jali). The porch in its front seems to be a later addition. The Jali windows are exquisitely carved with depictions of musicians and dancers, and river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna on either sides. The shikara is plain and simple with an amalaka and kalasha at its top.
Entrance to Chaumukhanath Temple, Nachna
Chaumukhanath Shiva Linga
Future Care Taker of This Temple
Tatpurusha Form of Lord Shiva
Aghora Form of Lord Shiva
Sadyojata Form Of Lord Shiva
Vamadeva Form of Lord Shiva
Unique Depiction of Kurumavatar and Vamanavatar of Lord Vishnu
Mithunas and Vidhyadharas
Carving of Animals on Porch Window

The Parvati Temple is datable to the late Gupta period around 5th century AD. The temple has a square grabhagriha and probably housed a small square chamber above it. The sanctum is  devoid of any idol. The entrance of the sanctum carries ornate floral designs and is flanked by river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at its lower portion. The inner band of the doorway shows carvings of tendrils emerging from the navel of dwarfs on either sides and the outer band carries images of mithunas (amorous couples). The lintel bears the carving of Vinadhara Shiva in the center with Parvati along with various attendants and vidhyadharas (semi-gods) on their either sides.The outer walls of the temple have perforated Jalis with the depiction of Lord Ganesha, musicians and dancers.
Parvati Temple, Nachna
Parvati Temple, Nachna
Door Frame of Parvati Temple
River Goddess Ganga on her Vahana
River Goddess Ganga on her Vahana Along With Shaiva Dwarapalaka
River Goddess Yamuna on her Vahana
River Goddess Yamuna on her Vahana Along With Shaiva Dwarapalaka
Beautiful and Small Craving of Lord Ganesha on the Window Jali

Vinadhari Shiva With Parvati on the Lintel
There are many ruins of pillars and other portions of the temple lying besides the temple in the open. On one such pillar are seen images of  Lord Varaha, Lord Narasimha,  Lord Trivikrama and a defaced image probably of Lord Parashurama. Also seen around  is an old shivalinga placed now under the shade of a tree and a widow panel.
A Part of Dashavatara Pillar

How to reach Nachna: From Khajuraho - Panna - Devendra Nagar take right towards Saleha - Take Right turn here and a Left turn to reach Nachna, about 100 Km from Khajuraho.

1. Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent -  By Takeo Kamiya
2. Hindu Deities - By Margaret Stutley
3. Wikipedia

Related Post:
1. Madhya Pradesh - Paradise 
2. Cave Paintings of Bhimbetka
3. Mandu, Symbol of immortal Love                                                                                                                 


  1. Superb images, the Hindu scuptures tells more about life.

  2. These are some wonderful sculptures. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. I don't think it's Vaman avatar. Those 2 murtis were stuck in the foundation of the Parvati Mandir. I think He is Shiva Varma: I think I see a horizontal 3rd eye on his forehead.