Get to see some of the most beautiful temples in India
In the heart of the wilderness in the state of Madhya Pradesh located in the center of northern India lies Khajuraho. It is a place that is far from any other city and here lies an amazing complex of some of the most beautiful temples that you can see in India. The Khajuraho temples are known to be some of the most unique and intriguing in the world due to the thousands of enigmatic sexual sculptures that adorn the temple walls. Arriving at Khajuraho is not that easy but once you arrive you know it was worth the journey. Just wander around the massive complex by foot or bike and your jaw will drop in amazement that man could build such perfection.
THE MYSTERY OF THE KHAJURAHO TEMPLES
The temples of Khajuraho are not creation or a vision of one man alone. They are a unique and intriguing phenomenon that no scholar knows why they were built and what caused this outburst of such utterly passionate, sensual and highly erotic sculptures. Even Indians do not know exactly how to place the story of these temples about their culture and how to present them to the world.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE KHAJURAHO TEMPLES
These temples were introduced to the western world only after a thousand years in which they were neglected, due to a massive jungle that completely covered them. They were discovered in the early 19th century by a British surveyor named Franklin.
THE HISTORY OF THE KHAJURAHO TEMPLES
The temples were built by the kings of the Chandala dynasty that ruled this area of central India between the 10th to the 12th centuries. What makes these temples so utterly unique is the total overwhelming dominance of the erotic theme on all the walls of the outside of the temples. Erotic themes are also seen in other medieval temples in India but it is certainly not the dominant theme and appears only in some of the decoration.
WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF THE KHAJURAHO TEMPLES?
The temples with their erotic sculpture look like there is a relationship between them and the greatest erotic ‘bestseller’ – the Kama Sutra which was written around the third century AD. It is difficult to see a direct connection as this text was written around 700 years earlier than the construction of the temple. More than that, like other texts that have survived, the Kama Sutra is just a small part of the vast Indian literature that deals with all the aspects of life. Sex and lovemaking are just one of these aspects. So it would be difficult to point to a more substantial connection between the sculptures and the illustrations of the Kama Sutra texts.
An offering to the gods?
Another explanation is that the erotic sculpture was to soothe the anger of the gods of nature and to bring their disciples into a sensual and aesthetic trance, before an encounter with God. This explanation fits in well with the Tantra movement that deals with the theory of erotic mysticism which had been used in India in the middle Ages. The Tantra emphasized unconventional measures and was often prohibited by the orthodox religion because it interfered with achieving redemption.
With all these theories, the mystery around this monumental creation makes the Khajuraho temples even more of an interesting place to visit.
HOW TO GET TO KHAJURAHO?
Khajuraho is a small and pleasant town. There is a large variety of accommodation and places to eat. The temples are close to town and are very easy to reach.
The triangle of three main airports: Agra, the city of Taj Mahal; Khajuraho, the city of the erotic temples; and Benares or Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges, are busy with thousands of Western tourists. Most of the tourists that want to visit Khajuraho fly on the busy tourist route connecting Delhi with Agra and continue to Benares. A more interesting way if you have the time is to get to Khajuraho via land from the south through two other fascinating places: Orchha, a city of magnificent ruins and palaces located in beautiful countryside, or from Sanchi, there is the great stupa and considered as one of the most important Buddhist sites in India.