Arts 

Erotic Sculptures of Khajuraho: The Hidden Story Behind Sexually Stimulating Figures

Khajuraho is known worldwide for its architectural marvel and erogenous sculptures. Some call the figures on walls of the temple sexually explicit while others term them as liberating. It doesn’t matter to which side the opinions of people belong, but it’s certain that irrespective of the love-hate ideas associated with these temples, one can definitely not ignore these. Situated in the heart of Madhya Pradesh, the edifice of Khajuraho temples stands proudly since centuries. The intricate detailing of motifs and architecture helped Khajuraho in becoming a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The ancient city has a lot to offer and there are various stories and tales which are hidden behind the sensual statutes of this place.

History of Khajuraho Temples:

The entire group of Khajuraho monuments were built around a thousand years ago. Belonging to the era of Chandela Dynasty, the sculptures of Khajuraho are a living example of the artistic brilliance and creativity of the rulers belonging to that empire. Every leader in the Chandela Dynasty was bound by a tradition to build at least one temple in his life and as a result, the numerous temples were established.

Khajuraho Temples are dedicated to which deity?

The temples of Khajuraho are dedicated to various deities belonging to the religion of Hinduism and Jainism. However, a majority of the shrines are devoted to the Hindu Gods. There are only few temples, out of the entire lot, which are present in today’s time. Amongst these, 8 are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, 6 to Lord Shiva and 1 each to Lord Ganesha and Sun God.  Three temples are dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras.

There is one notion which is a part of Chandela rulers which states that the kings of this dynasty were diligent followers of tantric principles and as a result of this these shrines have their roots linked with Tantric Sect of Hinduism. The very presence of erotic sculptures proves that tantric principles promoted the vital balance between male and female powers, hence the rulers ordered to construct the temples with these figures to support their faith.

The story surrounding Khajuraho temples: The romance of Hemvati and Moon God.

There are multiple fables which try to reason the very existence of such temples, but this one is the most widely accepted. As per the Hindu legends, Hemvati was a beautiful, young and strikingly-appealing woman. Once upon a time, she went to have a bath in a nearby pond at night when the moon was shining brightly. Her beauty was so enticing that it fascinated the Moon God and he couldn’t help but fall for Hemvati’s splendour. As a result, he descended on the earth to meet her. They fell in love and soon after coming in a romantic affair, Hemvati conceived a child. As it had happened without a marriage, Hemvati was scared and out of worry she questioned the Moon God if her fate was doomed. The Moon God forecasted that their son would grow up to become a fighter and the first king of Khajuraho. Later, he asked Hemvati to move permanently to a forest of khajurs (date palm trees) where she will have to deliver their child. When the child would grow up, he will have to execute a sacrificial ritual which will require him to create temples with erotic sculptures and this would free Hemvati from the stain of becoming an unmarried mother. As was told by the Moon God, Hemvati did the same and gave birth to Chandravarman, who was as strong and radiant as his father. He was growing into a brave and tough man when his mother, thrilled with his achievements, invoked the Moon God. As per his words, the Moon God made Chandravarman the king of Khajuraho. Known for his brilliance, Chandravarman accomplished multiple victories and went on to build an enormous fortress at Kalinjar. As per the request of his mother, Chandravarman built gloriously magnificent temples with lakes and gardens in the land of Khajuraho and performed the necessary ritual which helped Hemvati free of her guilt.

The erotic sculptures at Khajuraho work as a source of inspiration for the artists creating modern sculptures in today’s era. Certainly, the beauty and architectural intelligence of the rulers and creators of that era is alluring and worth appreciating.

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