History of Khajuraho


Khajuraho derived from the Hindi word 'khajur' meaning date palm, the quaint little temple town of Khajuraho is famous through out the world for its medieval Hindu temples and more so for its erotic sculpture. Built over a span of a hundred years, from 950 to 1050 AD, the Khajuraho Temples represent the expression of a highly matured civilization and are the country's unique gift of love to the world.

The Khajuraho Temples were built during the reign of the Chandelas. The temples of Khajuraho are a fine example of religion laced with erotica and the visitor to Khajuraho cannot but be attracted to the vivid erotic sculptures on the temples walls. Though highly sensual and erotic, the engravings on these temples have a symbolic importance and there have been many interpretations of their existence.

One theory connects them with Indian sects who invest sex with a ritual symbolism and considered Yoga (spiritual exercise) and bhoga (physical pleasure) as two different paths leading to the same goal, that is moksha, self-deliverance. According to these sects, in the enjoyment of sex one can transcend into a samadhi thereby attaining nirvana (salvation). While another thoery view them as representing tantric rituals. Tantricism and the Shakti cult, where the pancha makaras (five tenets), namely, matsya (fish), madira (wine), maithuna (sexual activity), mamsa (meat), and mudra (gesture) were to release the human spirit from the bondage of the flesh, have been described as the possible explanations for the sensuality of Khajuraho sculpture. These sculptures, they say, serve as a test for the devotees self control in order to achieve the goal that is to reach the deity placed in the sanctum. In other words it means that if a person wants to achieve God, he has to forget all this at the outset.

Furthermore, the presence of these erotic sculptures shows that there were no taboos or inhibitions against sex as we have now. The people of that time took a healthy view of things and gave sex its requisite place in its life. Kama or pursuit of pleasure was deemed to be one of the four purusharthas or legitimate aims of life of a Grahast (householder) and was regarded as a stepping-stone to moksha, or deliverance. Therefore, these erotic scenes were not regarded as abnormal or unnatural.

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                          In front of Hotel "RAMADA"
                          Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

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