Front of Parsvanatha Temple
The lighter colored buildings are more modern shrines that litter the site. The man in front was perhaps a caretaker -- at any rate, he showed us many details in the carvings that we would have missed on our own.
The origins of this temple are unclear. It may have originally been a Hindu temple that was donated to the Jain community which settled in Khajuraho at a later date. There are plenty of Hindu divinities on the temple.
View of the Shikara of Parsvanatha Temple
Some sources say that this temple was actually originally Jain, and point out that 12th century Chandelan Jains had incorporated much Hindu iconography and practices into their mode of worship.
View of the south side of Parsvanatha Temple
The pair on the right may be the Creator god Brahma and his consort, goddess of wisdom Saraswati. (The male figure has multiple faces, a beard, and does not appear to carry a weapon.)
The god Kubera guarding the north
Here, as northern dikpala is Kubera, king of the nature spirits and god of wealth. In Hindu customs, North represents wealth and happiness.
Maiden removing a thorn from her foot
In the recesses are vyalas, and the god and his consort are probably Vishnu and Lakshmi (the god has two earrings in each ear which points to Vishnu. I'm not sure about the monkey, however.)
Western directional guardian (dikpala) Varuna on the far left, first tier
Varuna is god of the sky, of rain and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld. He holds a noose or lasso made from a snake. At his feet is a crocodile named Makara.
Southwestern dikpala Nirrti (far right) and Jain Tirthankara (left)
On the first tier, far right is the southwestern directional guardian Nirrti, god of death, holding a head. Nirrti was originally a goddess, but over time there was a gender shift. On the left, between columns, is a standing nude figure of a Jain Tirthankara, or sage.
Pairs of gods, maiden applying kohl, and vyalas
The pair on the left are Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, in a particularly fine representation. The maiden is in the center, and Balarama and his consort are on the right.
Maiden applying kohl and Balarama
On the left is a maiden applying kohl eye-makeup. On the right is the god Balarama, identifiable by the canopy of serpents above his head. He is often held to be the reincarnation of Shesha, the serpent god upon whom Vishnu rests.
Outside of Parsvanatha Temple
The figure bottom center is the god Shiva, holding a trident, with a bull at his feet.
The god Agni
This god is placed here as a dikpala, or directional guardian. He is Agni, god of fire, accepter of sacrifices, who usually guards the southeast. He has flames behind his head and a ram at his feet.
Agni and Indra
Another view of the dikpala Agni. To the right of him is another dikpala: Indra, god of war and weather, who usually guards the eastern corner of a temple.
Indra, god of war and weather
Aside from standing guard as dikpala of the southeast, one can identify this image as Indra by his vahana, or associated animal: an elephant. This elephant, however, is mouse-sized!
Chautisa Yantra magic square
Found on the door frame of the temple. Each row, column, and subsquare of four digits adds up to 34.
The image of Parsnavath
This black statue was installed as recently as 1860, to replace an earlier image of another tirthankara, Adinath.
The lighting conditions for photography inside the temple were challenging. The eastern group temples, unlike the western group temples, had no side windows or openings for light beyond the front door and one back window.
Click on left/right arrows to go to next image. Click in the center to enlarge.