Khajuraho: sex and the sacred

Erotic detal from the base of Lakshana Temple in Khajuraho (Photo credit: Aotearoa/Wikimedia)

Located in the fertile Gangetic plains of Madhya Pradesh, the sprawling Khajuraho temple complex is a fascinating monument to the sanctity of human sexuality. The central theme of the temples is the celebration of womankind, her form, for her beauty and her temperament.

Lakshana Temple, Khajuraho (Photo credit: Airunp/ Wikimedia)

The complex, built by the Chandela rulers between 950 and 1050, is a one of the finest example of Indo-Aryan architecture. It was built during a period of peace and prosperity, where creativity flourished under royal patronage. The Chandelas commissioned 85 temples, but only 22 are remaining today.

Zooerastia depicted on the base of Lakshana Temple (Photo Credit: Aotearoa/Wikimedia)

The finely engraved figures show gods, goddesses, nymphs (apsara), men, women and beasts engaged in many and varied sexual activities.

Engraving on the base of Lakshana Temple (Photo Credit: Dey/Flickr)

The temples are clustered into three groups, spread over 20 square km of land. The Chausath-Yogini, Brahma and Mahadeva temples are made of granite while all the other temples are built with fine grained sandstone.

The gentle flow of the women’s cloth during this intercourse captures the ethereal moment (Photo Credit: pasug/Flickr)

Khajuraho, or Khajur-vahika, derives its name from the golden date palms (khajur) that ones adorned the gate of the great city. The engravings were not built merely for aesthetic value, as they also served to teach young virgins all they needed to know about sexuality.

Sculptures from Vishvanath Temple(Phot Credit kuranda/Flickr)

The temples are today listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, and the The Archeological Survey of India is entrusted with preserving these temples for future generations.

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