My friend, Gubu (not pictured below, that is my tour guide Bihari), from Delhi went home after his final exams – and how cool for us both to be in his hometown together! The town is known for its complex of temples, all beautifully crafted and all still standing well-after more than 1,100 years.
They are emphatically named the erotic temples of Khajuraho
The Western Group of temples is a cordoned-off area being maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, and like most historical sites, the visit costs a foreigner Rs 250. They are emphatically named the erotic temples of Khajuraho, due to the carvings that can be seen on the exterior of every building in the complex.
I could go on and on and on about the cultural history and importance of the temples, but I won’t. Here’s a summary in as few words as I could write:
Khajuraho derives its name from the Date Palms that were once abundant in the area (now it is too hot to cultivate such exotic fruits).
Some of the temples have scenes from the Kama Sutra carved on the outside (never inside).
I wish I took photos at multiple angles for this one – the tour guide made me laugh so much! Briefly. Along the bottom row of the temple structure, elephants are seen as the pillars of strength. There is ONE elephant that has its face turned, he is in the corner. He is in fact laughing at the carving to his left – take a look!
More than 1,100 years could not erase the detail carved into the sandstone.
Carvings of human figures with more than two arms, represent deities. Those with two arms are human – any humans seen with smaller human figures are considered to be royal.
More than 1,100 years could not erase the detail carved into the sandstone. It is really amazing to behold such craftsmanship and artistry – the likes of which could never be replicated today, even with all the modern technology we possess.
The temples are no longer active, so no monks worship here – though it is still customary to remove shoes before entering the inner sanctum.
This is a free temple to visit, outside the main complex.
Another free temple. I found a spear on the wall and asked the guy (looking after the place) what it was used for. He told me they protect the temples at night and fend off trespassers with the spear, what the eff!?
This statue is three gods made into one. The head of Lord Shiva, the torso of Lord Vishnu and the legs of Lord Krishna (in the tribhangi mudra, dancing pose – note, the right foot is placed behind the left).
Here is the human representation of the River Ganga.
In this relief carving, you see a human that is half man, half woman – look carefully at the physical features.