Khajuraho and Shubham were once the capital of the Chandela Rajputs. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the best examples of temples preserved from the medieval period in India. It is the largest of the western group of temples in the Khajuraho complex which was built by the Chandela rulers. Shiva is the chief deity in the temple deified in the sanctum sanctorium. Chandela rulers were a clan of Rajputs who belonged to the indigenous tribe of the Bhars and the Gonds who claimed lineage to the ancientLunar dynasty of the Kshatriyas, by creating legends. The temple is said to have been built by Vidhyadhara of the Chandela dynasty. This dynasty's first ruler was Nannuka who established his rule in the ninth century. In his lineage, the successor rulers were Vakapti, his sons Jayashakthi and Vijayashakthi, followed by Harsadeva and his son Lakshavarman also known as Yasovarman, who was succeeded by Danga who ruled for 52 years from 950 to 1002 followed by his son Vidhyadhara who ruled from 1017 to 1029. At various periods of the reign of this dynasty many famous temples dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Shakti of the Hindu religion and also for the Thirthankaras ofJain religion were built. Vidhyadhara, also known as Bida in the recordings of the Muslim historian Ibn-al-Athir, who is credited with building the Kaṇḍāriyā Mahādeva Temple, was a powerful ruler who fought Muhammad of Ghazni in the first offensive launched by the latter in 1019. This battle was not conclusive and Ghazni had to return to Ghazni. Ghazni again waged war against Vidhyadhara in 1022. He attacked the fort of Kalinjar. The siege of the fort was unsuccessful. It was lifted and Ghazni and Vidhyadhara called a truce and parted by exchanging gifts. Vidhyadhara celebrated his success over Ghazni and other rulers by building the Kaṇḍāriyā Mahādeva Temple, dedicated to his family deity Shiva. Epigraphic inscriptions on a pilaster of the mandapa in the temple mentions the name of the builder of the temple as Virimda, which is interpreted as the pseudonym of Vidhyadhara. Its construction is dated to the period from 1025 and 1050 AD. However, according to the UNESCO document, the largest and currently most famous surviving temple, the Kandariya Mahadeva, was built during the reign of King Ganda from 1017-1029 CE. All the extant temples including the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple were inscribed in 1986 under the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sitesunder Criterion III for its artistic creation and under Criterion V for the culture of the Chandelas that was popular till the country was invaded by Muslims in 1202.
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