Khajuraho: Sex Sells

by

in

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

View the photo gallery for this post


Comments

2 responses to “Khajuraho: Sex Sells”

  1. Jeff Ganan Avatar

    Hah! I love the pics! I’m stuck in front of a computer entering my actuals and getting ready to do a forecast for the upcoming week. Yup, in short I am totally grateful for all the posts. You have helped to make the morning go by that much quicker. I look forward to the future posts. PS – that last pic is a keeper – are all four people gods?

    1. The two main ones are either gods or nobles, the ones on the sides are “tenders”, like servants that are there to help them with the positions. There are some other scenes where the tenders are “helping themselves”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress