But For the Sky
27Feb/12Off

Khajuraho: Sex Sells

After Varanasi, we got off the spiritual track and threw ourselves full-force into India's formidable archaeology circuit: the country boasts thousands of palaces, temples, forts, and other historic structures, showing thousands of years of history from dozens of different tribes, kingdoms, and religious sects. We opted to start in Khajuraho, a backwater town famous for the dozen or so medieval stone temples scattered around it. But these aren't your ordinary temples: mixed in with the traditional representations of gods and scenes of everyday life are hundreds of small friezes depicting often graphic sexual themes. The meaning or significance of the scenes is a point of debate: some say they represent an instructional manual, perhaps inspired by the Kama Sutra; others maintain that they were intended to interest the gods, thus diverting their anger; still others claim that they depict the wedding party and consummation of two of the most popular Hindu gods. Whatever the reasons behind the lewd panels, though they embarrassed the Victorian-era British explorers and soldiers who rediscovered it (calling it "extremely indecent and offensive", and "disgustingly obscene"), I think that the kings and priests that commissioned these impressive monuments had the right idea. If they wanted to make sure the temples would not be destroyed (or at least if they wanted to attempt to interest bored Westerners in history), it was true then as it is now: sex sells.

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple

 

Dancing Ganesha

Dancing Ganesha

Erotic Scene

Erotic Scene

Erotic Scene

Erotic Scene

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Posted by Nick

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