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Khajuraho – An archive of Love and Lust

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planet of desire and eroticism. Khajuraho itself is the entire world where passion speaks through poses – love and lust are carved artistically on stone – architecture speaks the universal language of emotion.

I visited this amazing universe of sculpture this January. The place is eminent for the most beautiful medieval monuments in India. The artwork in Khajuraho, originally a group of 85 Hindu and Jain temples, is a manifestation of the philosophy of Indian aesthetics that not only talk about the deities and apsaras but also about the mortals and devils. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Khajuraho has been impressing generations of tourists and travelers with its architectural intensity, intricate rock carvings and last but not the least its erotic sculptures. Sexual nature of the carvings has made the monument to be referred as Kamasutra temples.

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It’s a small town in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and has the Vidhya Range of mountains as its stunning backdrop which makes it especially fascinating destination to visit. Located by the banks of tributary of River Kane, the place is best while visited between September and March. Khajuraho, derived from Khajur that means date palm, is a small serene spotlessly clean town. The locals nurture their passion in arts like pottery.

Built between 10th and 12th century by famous Chandela Rajputs, Khajuraho was the religious and cultural capital of Chandela dynasty. Khajuraho, legendary for its temples, was not completely explored before 19th century.

It was early morning then and I was simply blown away by the utter architecture of the temples that mostly depict the traditional lifestyle of the women during medieval age. I moved towards western complex of temples where skyscraping towers lit by morning light were just glowing. I witnessed the riot of colors as the redness of sandstone became prominent amidst the bright sky and lusciously green grass, I reached into a different world.

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I stepped toward the Kandariya Mahadeva temple with about 900 terrific sculptures adorning the walls and depicting deities, animals and birds. One can’t actually skip the aphrodisiac figures while passionate and sensual yet graceful racist sculptures couldn’t be missed too!

 

There are many more that surrounded the complex. One of them is Chitragupta temple facing the rising sun and Lakshmana temple which basks in its own magnificence. Vaikunt image of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi temple are two more to name. Chausath Yogini temple is the oldest one built in 900 AD located on a mount with 67 empty cells. No Yogini I could find there but could feel a mystical aura surrounding the mount from where the entire landscape of the place could be seen. Though western group of temples are the largest, eastern and southern group of temples as well as a few Jain temples are also there and Duladeo temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of them.

I stopped by a small Durga temple where the image of the goddess was discovered during an excavation. Brahma temple was also there.

Another thing I found very interesting and fascinating about Khajuraho is the name of the temples. A Vishnu temple is named as Javari temple after javar or millet that grows in the nearby fields while Ghantai temple took the name from imagery of bells and the chain on its pillars. My last but not the least stop was the southern end of Khajuraho where there are some Jain temples dedicated to the Jain Teerthankaras – Adinath, Parshwanath and Shantinath.

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Though local vendors try to sell their erotic wares, I personally found that Khajuraho is not all about sensuality and salaciousness. So what one can do to get the actual flavor of the place, is to leave their lust before entering the temples. I noticed that barely about 10% of the total sculptures are sensual. Khajuraho is not the epitome of sexuality but of symbolism in respect to tantricism.

Someone enthralled by historical flavor must visit Khajuraho at least once in his lifetime.

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