The outer walls are decorated with sculptures in three vertical layers. The sculptures include heavenly bodies such as 'Apsara' and their male counterparts, the 'Gandharva', in various courses of life. In between, the erotic sculptures are beautifully arranged. All these sculptures are brilliantly carved and are in coitus postures with maidens and musicians flanking the couple. This temple has the maximum number of feminine beauty and erotic acrobatics. There are nearly 872 statues in total. Contrary to the general belief; the erotic sculptures account for only 10% of total sculptures of Khajuraho temples. The researchers have discovered all together over eighty, all different, depictions of copulation. On the other hand, most of the sculptures depict everyday life scenes depicting gods and goddesses, mother and son, wives/lovers waiting for their husbands/lovers, musicians, war, playing games, dancing, hunting, journeys, processions, elephants and other creatures.
As you enter the premises through gates, there in front of you stands the largest temple among all the three groups of Khajuraho complex, the Kandariya Mahadev temple with all its grandeur. This temple is 102 ft in height from ground to Kalash (the top most point) and 66 ft wide. Plinth of the temple itself is 13 ft high. Lord Shiva is the main deity of this temple. The structure of this temple resembles of a mountain, comprising of a series of 'shikharas' of varying heights in ascending order. The word Kandariya originated from 'Kandara', which means cave. So Kandariya Mahadev means 'Lord Shiv who lives in cave' and this is somewhat reflected from the architecture of the temple. Various windows resemble like openings of the cave.