The Khajuraho temples are considered to be one of the architectural wonders. Such is the grandeur and sculptural magnificence that it's listed as one of the “seven wonders of India”.
The Khajuraho village encompassed by the mountains of Chatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh is 395 Km southeast of Agra. Today this village remains with 22 temples, which provide us with a glimpse of a golden duration of art and devotion at their peak. From 22 temples, two were produced from sandstone. The stone blocks were first carved and then the interlocking pieces were assembled to create a temple. Each temple differs from one another.
The Khajuraho temples are a symbol of architectural grandeur and magnificence, because of its exceptional stone construction, intricate carvings and idols. While the temples reflect the medieval Indian society and traditions, they’re mainly known for the explicit erotic art and sensuous figures that adorn the walls of countless shrines. Many believe that the erotic art at Khajuraho depicts Tantric principles and practices.
Khajuraho Spiritual Temples – A summary
It was wrongly believed that the temples show passionate interactions between deities. In fact, they really depict lovemaking human couples and the changes that occur in their bodies. While only 10% of the total sculptures are focused on erotic art, they are so sensuous and explicit that it’s said that they depict tantric practices.
Tantrism arises from the word Tantra which is a Sanskrit word to explain a system or a doctrine or a theory. While many think that Tantrism means only lovemaking or passionate practices, in essence it’s a very wide term. It’s an independent spiritual practice that blends rituals, teachings and doctrines from different religions and teachings.
Tantrism basically is oriented for the married householder or Grihasta and that each act of our daily life can contribute to the spiritual growth. Its connection to lovemaking stems from the fact that it considers passionate interactions as a means of attaining expanded state of awareness or nirvana and dissolving unnecessary restrictions or boundaries.
Based on Tantrism, the woman is high on spiritual energy than the man. Thus, in order to achieve ultimate or divine realization, the physical and emotional union of the two is important. One of the basic tenets on Tantrism includes the practice of controlled intercourse.
Khajuraho: The Tantric Connection
While the Khajuraho temples in many cases are directly associated with Tantric practices, this isn’t completely true. The temples may have a slight Tantric influence given that their construction coincides with the rise of the Shakti cult. In fact the Khajuraho complex hosts a temple called 64 Yogini temple built in the late 900s AD. Thus, they might also be an indication of the acceptance of Tantric practices.
However, on the whole it may be said that the erotic art symbolize an exceptional union of Tantrism as well as a celebration of love and fertility. The art is a testimony of the proven fact that physical relation is not just for procreation but additionally for pleasure. It is also thought that the erotic art was a method of asserting power, dominance and superiority. Passionate and erotic images indicate a virile and in turn a strong king.
Khajuraho: Statues & Carvings
It’s believed that of the total carvings and sculptures at Khajuraho, only 10% derive from erotic theme. While it is a common misconception that the erotic sculptures don’t depict deities and in fact show humans and the changes that occur in the body.
Yet another misconception is that it showcases the various explicit erotic positions as described in the famous book Kamasutra and are also named as Kamasutra temples. However, the temples don’t depict the positions as described in the book nor will they express the philosophy of Vatsyayana’s famous sutra.
The Khajuraho temple complex and its sculptures are thought to be “the pinnacle of erotic art” and really are a glowing tribute to a society that could have been extremely advanced and liberal minded.
Although the temples are also known as the Kamasutra temples due to their erotic art, they in not a way depict the meticulous positions as stated in the book. Simply put, they are a celebration of affection, life and passion.
The Khajuraho temples are extremely different from the normal temples in India – religion, deities and worshipping isn’t the essence of these temples. It’s also about admiring the stunning architecture, sculpture and art of this period.
These wonderful temples lay abandoned and prone to the forces of nature. These magnificent temples were restored and revived in 1800s. It is India’s second most favorite tourists spot alongside Taj Mahal.