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The Erotic Statues of Khajuraho
Khajuraho is one of the quietest villages in India. But this isolated village is included as a stopover for many tourists on their way from Varanasi to Agra. Why? This village is home to some of the world's most celebrated statues.

From AD 900 to 1300, this area was ruled by the Chandella kings. They left a legacy of 85 temples of which only 22 remain. These temples have an international reputation as a sort of repository for sexual sculptures, yet these erotic pieces compromise only 10% of the carvings here. The temples were built before the Muslims put women in seclusion. And the Chandellas were richly bejeweled, scantily clad followers of a Tantric form of Hinduism that saturated sexual pleasures with divine qualities. So couples carved on the temple walls were naturally shown in a variety of sexual postures. In addition there are some scenes of soldiers, cut off from their women by war, taking animal lovers.

The main temples, called the Western Group, are clustered in a pleasant park. One should approach them as monuments to the happy pageant of life, which were built by thousands of craftsmen working every daylight hour during the century or so that the building took.

The first temple Lakshmana, is typical of the rest. The incredible carvings are the first things you'll notice. There are bodies twisted in all directions displaying graceful limbs as though permanently frozen in dance. Young ladies are a favorite subject and their hairstyles and facial expressions are exquisitely portrayed. The artists took the entire range of human activity as their subject, but they dwelled on females during their daily chores - washing their hair, writing letters, looking in mirrors, playing, singing, and strumming instruments. And then there are delicate scenes of couples kissing and of mothers with their babies.

The entire temple is covered with carvings. Around this temple, about 6 feet off the ground, runs a long continuous frieze in which erotic scenes are more or less interlaced with military processions of horsemen, camels, elephants, and musicians. Essentially all the other temples follow a similar format.

Originally, the Western Group of temples was set in an artificial lake and people went from one temple to another by boat. Now tourists enjoy the brief walk from one to the other. Another group of temples, the Eastern Group, are within walking distance. The three Jain Temples occupy an isolated compound nearby.

Each and every temple is covered with extraordinary and exquisite carvings. They are a photographers delight.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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