Why is Khajuraho'sTemples full of sexually open sculptures

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Why is Khajuraho'sTemples full of sexually open sculptures

Temples of Hinduism are worship centers of Vaishnav, Shakta and Shaiva sects whereas temples of Khajuraho are connected with Tantra sect.

Most of the religious schools dislike sex and consider it a humiliating act for human soul, on the other hand as per Tantra sexual energy, if channelized as per the methods stated in Tantric canons, can bring together the tantra-practitioner with the Supreme Being (Shiva).

This concept is boldly and honestly described by means of Sculptures at Khajuraho. They showcase the steady transcendence of human sexual energy. The outer walls of the temples are full of sexual story. Humans are depicted indulging in carnal pleasure in every variation that can be conceptualized by human brain.

But when one moves inside the temple, one notices a great change. The human figurines don't even remotely seem attracted to sex, but are standing apart in deep contemplation- And in the third and final stage, the walls of sanctum sanctorum don't have any sculptures at all; there are bare walls and a single pratima (figurine) of the deity (usually Shiva)- and that is all.

This small town of Khajuraho which is located in Central Madhya Pradesh is popular for best preserved erotic temple art. Khajuraho Hindu temples because of their sophisticated carving Hindu temples were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in the year 1986. Out of 85 original temples built by the Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050, only 22 of the temples remain.

One monsoon afternoon as I entered the 6sqkm site, the sandstone shined a glittery gold. The local women there were carrying incense sticks and fresh flowers for offering prayers, while visitors were walking through the outer corridors, staring at the plentiful and complex sculptures which were covering every inch of the walls. The wall has the images of warriors and musicians, gods and goddesses, animals and birds. It could have been a scene from any temple in India.

On close checking, you will find that most of these carvings relating to men, women and animals were of a strongly erotic nature. These carvings are nothing but the portrayals of threesomes, orgies and bestiality. Though I knew what to anticipate, but still I got surprised and confused by shapely maidens and virile men contorting their bodies in impossible sexual positions, right next to sculptures of divine beings smiling blissfully at the devout. Even though a few stones were break off and several limbs busted, the carvings were unbelievably perfect, depicting that the temples are more than 1,000 years old.

Several theories are there behind the continuation of these types of graphic erotic images. One of these erotic images brought forward the fact that the Chandela Kings of Chandela dynasty was followers of Tantric principles, according to which there is equilibrium between male and female forces, they only encouraged their belief in the temples they created.

There are other theories related to the temples of those times. They play a very important role. These temples were regarded as places of learning as well as worship – especially of the finer arts, including the art of lovemaking. Not only has this some believed that the portrayal of sexual actions in temples was considered a good sign because it symbolized new beginnings and new life.

Traditionally Hinduism has always believed that sex is an essential part of life, which could be depicted by means of the sculptures of Khajuraho. It is because of this fact only the sculptures are open and not placed in a doubtful place because their creators wanted the masses to have a look of it because these are the symbols of new beginnings and new life.

Isolation helped these graphic motifs survive

Weirdly, there’s no reason why these complex temples were built at Khajuraho, since there’s no clear record of whether there was even a kingdom in this location. These graphic motifs survived because these regions were totally isolated and hundreds of years back there were thick forest, it was only in 1838 rediscovered by Englishman Captain TS Burt. Burt was not really interested in this journey as according to him nothing interesting would be found in this remote spot but after being convinced by his Indian attendants he did the journey and rediscovered the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho. These charmed temples have also managed to evade the anger of India’s moral police, who in recent years banned or destroyed a range of cultural artefacts, ranging from Salman Rushdie’s books to MF Hussain’s paintings.

But what I found even more interesting than the explicit carvings and the history behind them was the fact that entire families were quietly engaged in the guide’s speech as he analyzed the spicier carvings high on the walls of the magnificent Kandariya Mahadeva temple. No eyebrows were raised, no embarrassed looks were exchanged, and no giggles escaped young lips. Perhaps the art is unobjectionable when crouched within a religious context – but I came away believing that Khajuraho holds within its walls a larger lesson on tolerance for India.

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