If There Is Much In The Window There Should Be More In The Room

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

~ The Grandeur of Khajuraho ~


The Grandeur of Khajuraho

Khajuraho (Hindi: खजुराहो) is a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, located in Chhatarpur District, about 385 miles (620 kilometres) southeast of Delhi, the capital city of India.

The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in India, Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculpture. The name Khajuraho, ancient "Kharjuravahaka", is derived from the Sanskrit word kharjur meaning date palm.

The art of Madhya Pradesh at once brings in to mind the exuberant art and the creativity immortalized in the figurative molds in the temples of Khajuraho. Viswanatha Temple The temples of Khajuraho are one of India’s major attractions. Once a great Chandella capital, Khajuraho is now a quiet village of over 6000 people. The temples are superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture, but it’s the decorations with which they are so liberally embellished, that have made Khajuraho famous.

Around the temples are bands of exceedingly fine and artistically carved stonework. There are sculptors, which have shown many aspects of Indian life, 1000 years ago - gods and goddesses, warriors and musicians, real and mythological animals. These temples were built by the Chandellas, a dynasty that survived for five centuries before falling to the onslaught of Islam. Almost all Khajuraho’s temples record a century long burst of creative genius from 950- 1050 A.D.

Basically all the temples follow a three-part layout. You enter the temple through a porch, known as the Ardhamandapa. Behind this is the hall or Mahamandapa, supported with pillars and with a corridor around it. A vestibule then leads into the Garbhagriha, the inner sanctum, where the image of the god to which the temple is dedicated is displayed.

The temples are almost all aligned east to west, with the entrance facing east. Some of the earliest temples were made of granite, or granite and sandstone but all the ones from the classic period of Khajuraho's history are made completely of sandstone.
The whole area was enclosed by a wall with eight gates, each flanked by two golden palm trees. There were originally over 80 Hindu temples, of which only 25 now stand in a reasonable state of preservation, scattered over an area of about 8 square miles (21 km²). The temples of Khajuraho suffered destruction by early Muslim invaders between c.1100-1400 AD as various disfigured statues at the temple complex attest.

Today, the temples serve as fine examples of Indian architectural styles that have gained popularity due to their explicit depiction of the traditional way of sexual life during medieval times.

Locals living in the Khajuraho village always knew about and kept up the temples as best as they could. They were pointed out to an English man in late 19th century and the jungles had taken a toll on all of the monuments.

Architecture of the Khajuraho temples

The Khajuraho temples, constructed with spiral superstructures, adhere to a northern Indian shikhara temple style and often to a Panchayatana plan or layout. A few of the temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to Hindu deities - to God's Trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and various Devi forms, such as the Devi Jagadambi temple.

A Panchayatana temple had four subordinate shrines on four corners and the main shrine in the center of the podium, which comprises their base. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern.

With a graded rise secondary shikharas (spires) cluster to create an appropriate base for the main shikhara over the sanctum. Kandariya Mahadeva, one of the most accomplished temples of the Western group, comprises eighty-four shikharas, the main being 116 feet from the ground level.

The Khajuraho temples are made of sandstone, they didn't use mortar the stones were put together with mortise and tenon joints and they were held in place by gravity. This form of construction requires very precise joints. The columns and architraves were built with megaliths that weighed up to 20 tons.

These shikharas – subordinate and main – attribute to the Khajuraho temples their unique splendor and special character. With a graded rise of these shikharas from over the ardhamandapa, porch, to mandapa, assembly hall, mahamandapa, principal assembly hall, antarala, vestibule, and garbhagriha, sanctum sanctorum, the Khajuraho temples attain the form and glory of gradually rising Himalayan peaks. 
The name Khajuraho, or Kharjuravāhaka, is derived from ancient Sanskrit (kharjura, खर्जूर means date palm, and vāhaka, वाहक means "one who carries" or bearer). Local legends state that the temples had two golden date-palm trees as their gate (missing when they were rediscovered).

Khajuraho is one of the four holy sites linked to deity Shiva (the other three are Kedamath, Kashi and Gaya). Its origin and design is a subject of scholarly studies. Shobita Punja has proposed that the temple’s origin reflect the Hindu mythology in which Khajuraho is the place where Shiva got married; with Raghuvamsha verse 5.53, Matangeshvara honoring ‘’Matanga’’, or god of love.

These temples of Khajuraho have sculptures that look very realistic and are studied even today.

'Kamasutra' Endless at Khajuraho  

The Khajuraho temples do not contain sexual or erotic art inside the temple or near the deities; however, some external carvings bear erotic art. Also, some of the temples that have two layers of walls have small erotic carvings on the outside of the inner wall. There are many interpretations of the erotic carvings. They portray that, for seeing the deity, one must leave his or her sexual desires outside the temple. They also show that divinity, such as the deities of the temples, is pure like the atman, which is not affected by sexual desires and other characteristics of the physical body.

It has been suggested that these suggest tantric sexual practices. Meanwhile, the external curvature and carvings of the temples depict humans, human bodies, and the changes that occur in human bodies, as well as facts of life. Some 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes; those reportedly do not show deities, they show sexual activities between people. The rest depict the everyday life of the common Indian of the time when the carvings were made, and of various activities of other beings. A common misconception is that, since the old structures with carvings in Khajuraho are temples, the carvings depict sex between deities.

However the kama arts represent diverse sexual expressions of different human beings. The vast majority of arts depict various aspects the everyday life, mythical stories as well as symbolic display of various secular and spiritual values important in Hindu tradition. For example, depictions show women putting on makeup, musicians making music, potters, farmers, and other folks in their daily life during the medieval era. These scenes are in the outer padas as is typical in Hindu temples.


A view on the famous temples
Between the skies and bushes
A closer look at a temple in Khajuraho
Adinath Temple
Admiring Khajuraho...The lady Brigade


Admiring Khajuraho.
Admiring Khajuraho
Admiring Khajuraho
Chitragupta Temple
Finest Carvings for the Kamasutra
Flowers in Khadjuraho
Jain Erotica
Jain temple, Khajuraho, India
Kamasutra Sculpture
Kandariya Mahadev Temple
Kandariya-Mahadeva Temple I
Kandariya-Mahadeva Temple II b
Khajuraho - Lone temple
khajuraho - temple
Khajuraho - Temples 2
Khajuraho 4
khajuraho 19
Khajuraho - Temples 3
Khajuraho Temple detail 11
Khajuraho Temple detail 14
Khajuraho Temple detail 16
Khajuraho temples2
Khajuraho temples at sunset
Khajuraho Temples
Khajuraho Temples3
Khajuraho, India
Khajuraho. Lake
Temples of Khajuraho 1
Lakshmana Temple I
laxman Temple Khajuraho
Modern Temple
Morning warmth
Parsvanatha Temple
Plains in Khajuraho
Reliefs endless
sandstone tower top the Chandela temples in Khajurao
Sculptures of Khajuraho
Shantinath Temple
Temple at Khajuraho
temple ceiling Khajuraho
Temple in Kajuraho
Temple Sculpture
Temples of Khajuraho 1
Temples Of Khajuraho3
Temples of Khajuraho (one)
Temples of Khajuraho (Two)

Temples of Khajuraho
Temples of love 1 ( Khajuraho)
the famous south side of the Kandariya-Mahadev temple demonstrates the sheer volume of intricate stone sculpture present on each temple
The feet and the flower
The last ray
This is the largest and most famous of the Khajuraho temples, Kandariya-Mahadev. Built around 1025 AD, it represents the high point of Chandelan architecture
tough climb
Uneasy exit. Khajuraho
Unrestored dignity
Visvanatha Temple I
khajuraho-erotic 13

Khajuraho-Temple a

*Original post date June 24, 2009

Further reading

UNESCO World Heritage Site listing

*(Taken from many sources)


*All images and text belong to their respective copyright owners. I intend and believe that all of the graphics used to illustrate this article either are in the public domain or, if copyrighted, appear here as fair use. This page is solely informational and educational and intended for no other purpose than that as well as being not for profit page.

Re-post Additional Comments:

nosauvelta wrote on Jul 6, '09, edited on Jul 6, '09

There are 35 sandstone temples –
Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu –
built in the 10th and 11th centuries.
The temples are covered inside and out
with erotic relief sculptures
symbolizing mystic union with the deity.

The sexual symbolism is stark.

There is pure beauty and no perversion in these temples.
The eroticism of Khajuraho is part of the larger
Hindu view of the cyclicality of life.

'There are different opinions on why temples were decorated with sexually explicit sculptures. One group argues that the old kings lived in obscene luxury and that they used these for excitement.

Another group thinks that it was part of sexual education in ancient India: since most people visited temples, it was an appropriate place for mass communication.

Some scholars say that since Hinduism believes in the efficacy of all four paths to Moksha (Dharma, Artha, Yoga, and Kama), these sculptures were provided to assist in the last of these four paths.

Since these sculptures are limited to the outer walls of the temples, some people interpret them as a symbolic gate to reaching God. It is possible that at the time just preceding the construction of these sculptures, monastic Buddhism was prevalent, people were losing interest in the householder-life, and the temples were built to attract people to sex and family life and to renew Hinduism.

Some others go to the extent of saying that the Khajuraho temples themselves are built upon the model of an ultimate seductress.
The steps are like the feet, the Ardhmandapam are the knees, the Mandapam represents the curvaceous thighs, the sanctum-sanctorum is like the ovaries, and since it is very dark where the Linga is installed, it represents the sexual organ, etc.

"All of life is God's magic;" we are all parts of divinity; Hindu scriptures argue that to attain moksha, and to dedicate ourselves to dharma and adhyatma, one should first experience sexual fulfillment. The one who wrote the Kamasutra was none less than a sage! When the Gods themselves cannot escape the web of erotic love (Kama), what about us mere mortals?

For a long time, the pundits have wondered why it was necessary to decorate a place of worship with sexual material, but if one observes the materialistic thoughts of Hinduism, there is nothing unnatural about them.'- K.L. Kamat

petesback wrote on Nov 3, '09

Great set of pics

edit delete reply
nosauvelta wrote on Nov 7, '09
Glad to know
you like them.

Hello, Pete.
Welcome to my site :-)

hallihuduga wrote on Feb 26, '10
so experimentation was encouraged even then...

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 3, '10
Kamasutra as we understand,
deals with the science to
attain the best carnal ecstasy.
The objective of Kamasutra
was to educate methods and
purpose of attaining sexual satisfaction.
Khajuraho temple walls have
most sexual poses inscribed
in ancient text of Kamasutra....

hallihuduga wrote on Feb 26, '10
not easy while standing... even then 

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 3, '10
Not easy, yes,
but in ancient Indian Art
and ritual practices,
everything were based on the
reality of life involving Karma (destiny)
and Kama (carnal ecstasy) together.
The belief was fulfillment of
both functions was the
way to attain moksha (spiritual way to heaven).
Therefore, sex was as sacred
as other holy rituals -
any position would not be
difficult as it may seem.

hallihuduga wrote on Feb 26, '10
back breaking...

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 3, '10
back breaking, so it seems -
but, it is good physical exercise.

hallihuduga wrote on Feb 26, '10

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 3, '10
What better way but
to give and receive simultaneously-
having the best of both worlds.

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 3, '10
indeed.... some how 69 is more of giving and taking than missionary which is some how dominating than sharing

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 3, '10
yes... but kamasutra is comprehensive..not just posses ( asanas) 

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 3, '10
well.. some additions... Karma just means literally.. JOB.. belief was that each one was born to do a karma as assigned to him by his caste, context directions of elders/ teachers ( gurus) etc..u do your JOB well u get rewards..
Kama is a larger word than just sex.. Kama is passionate desire for anything sex, food, for fine art...

Karma was and Kama was set for each stage of life and they were different for each stage
1. shishava... before two years from birth
2. Balya ..from 2- 7
3. vidyarthi.. 7 to 14 or 18 from birth... at this stage one must have a kama ( desire) for knowledge, stay at the guru's gurukul ( guru's place of stay).. grass hut away from human settling to enable Guru to teach and to do penance. one stayed away from parents and lived very ascetic life this stage karma was to follow Guru's instructions without question, serve him and his wife devotedly
4. gruhastha ashrama... family life .. kama is to produce children, karma is to take care of spouse and children and be responsible and serve the desha ( country ) and uphold dharma ( religion) .. collection of artha ( property and money)
5. sanyasa.. or vanaprastha.. to give up all worldly desires,, actually go to forest or Himalayas and do penance .. search of truth search of god.. search of answers... to attain Moksha.. moksha literally means freedom,,, freedom from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth and soul ( atma) joins big soul ( paramatma - god)

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 3, '10
Good additional info, Halli :-)
I never thought Karma
can be regarded as mere job.
I see it as either striving
to do good or be the Devil's tool
and thus Lady Justice scales tip,
a verdict is reached,
the judgment is reaped...

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 3, '10
Karma .. ad verbatim .. means job.. just that... a JOB ... then if u do a good job it is called sukarma.. bad / evel job is kukarma...
so when a hindu goes through a bad phase in life he blames his karma.. meaning that he did a eveil thing and now he is getting punished and when he suddenly gets riches ( of any type ,, not just money he ascribes to again his karma.. 

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 5, '10
Thanks, Halli :-)
Now enlightened as
to the true meaning of
Karma, not fate
or predestination,
but 'doing' or action...

nosauvelta wrote on Mar 5, '10
On that note,
may we all
live our lives with
the intention to propagate
the process of Sukarma:
good actions, good results.....

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 3, '10
when i say job i mean deed, action... not employment 

hallihuduga wrote on Mar 5, '10
su karma is not just doing 'good jobs' it also means doing ones jobs with dedication.. 'job ' as a father, lover, son, employee, citizen... work itself is worship...


  1. Fantastic architecture, beautiful photos.

  2. Absolutely!
    Such captivating edifices,
    great handiwork of some
    very great sculpting genius!
    It is surprising, though,
    that the Chandel kings,
    who created these
    have left no stone inscriptions,
    which might enlighten us
    on the history of those times.
    Even then, there exist awesome
    engraved poetry through these figures in stones-
    you can virtually see them
    thru the vivid expression of
    most delicate emotions in
    these stone figures...
    (most are of men and women
    idolized in various erotic and lustful poses).

    But the questions we might
    have in mind --
    Why this sort of idolization
    based on sexual erotomania had
    been accommodated in these
    holy shrines,
    which should be dignified
    as abodes of sublimity?
    Is there any spiritual mystery behind it?
    What could have been happening,
    during the construction of such temples?

    Glad you liked this, Rudi :-)

  3. Poetry in stone, indeed!
    and much more....
    A celebration of man's glory,
    his Promethean quest for
    humanly possible omnipotence,
    self-sufficiency and complete
    mastery over nature.
    It is no mere idle dream -
    with the visible fragrance of earth,
    looking long and intently
    with visionary eyes,
    from the strivings of the mind
    comes forth great works of aesthetics,
    the power and grace of design,
    as he becomes one with nature
    in a sense profounder even
    more than the poetic imaginings
    that most of us can ever understand...

    Welcome back, Halli...

  4. in fact this work of art for worship is grander than Taj. Complete and comprehensive and shows how sex was honorable and openly accepted at those times, another aspect that is not highlighted often is that these were hindu kings who built temples of Buddism, Jainism and hinduism teaching us all a degree of tolerance of other religions.. Wish Obama and Osama ( and many present day leaders of India and pakistan) jointly visit this place to learn that lesson

  5. this temple, like many others reflect some deeply ingrained Hindu philosophy. For a human.. four objectives were set. Dharma ( religion) artha ( money.. material belongings) kama ( desires,, sex,,,) Moksha ( Nirvana.. freedom from the cycle of birth and death.. joining the supreme being) .. all four were regarded as equally important and a balance has to be achieved by the human in his pursuit of these four. There was no taboo on sex or erotica or sexual experimentation and was treated as an integral part of life

  6. in fact this work of art for worship is grander than Taj. Complete and comprehensive and shows how sex was honorable and openly accepted at those times, another aspect that is not highlighted often is that these were hindu kings who built temples of Buddism, Jainism and hinduism teaching us all a degree of tolerance of other religions.. Wish Obama and Osama ( and many present day leaders of India and pakistan) jointly visit this place to learn that lesson

  7. It's wonderful to read
    your insightful comment. :-)
    Thank you...
    Although we cannot just
    tune down the fairytale-like
    magnificence of a structure
    built out of sheer love
    by Emperor Shah Jahan,
    Khajuraho is not just about
    a “degenerate society obsessed with sex",
    it is more than just the erotic.
    Rather, it is a place where
    one stands in awe by
    the power of human endeavor,
    one feels a sense of peace,
    like a sense of the 'eternal',
    like every corner is
    an expression of divinity
    and human love,
    every stone connotes
    a unity of faith
    whether it be Jainism,
    Buddhism or Hinduism.
    Most likely, Obama won't
    have the time to make a visit
    and glean wisdom from the
    wondrous tales of the past
    from these 22 (out of 85) temples...