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Khajuraho Temple Art

BY Mr Shiv June 11,2020
Khajuraho Temple Art

Khajuraho Temple Art

Many a people are captivated by the beauty of the temples of Khajuraho. Khajuraho’s art and sculpture are a haven for artists, laymen and the religiously inclined.Maharishi Osho Rajneesh, had spent a considerable amount of time at Khajuraho and his teaching reflected this. He referred to the explicit sexual carvings, as a symbol that if one is still interested in sex then the temple is not for you.

The idea is that unless you pass through your sexuality with full awareness, in all its phases, in all its dimensions- unless you come to a point when sex has no meaning for you …only then you enter the temple. Khajuraho boasts of temples with beautiful carvings and intricate design on its outer walls. They are inspired by the prevailing traditions of that time and day to day life. The sculptures are carved in accordance with Shilpa-Shastra, which would mean the correct and proportional depiction of the forms.

It is an ancient term, that describes arts, crafts, and their design rules, principles and standards. In the context of temple design, Hindu Iconography  Shilpa Shastras were manuals for sculpture and, prescribing among other things, the proportions of a sculptured figure, composition, principles, meaning, as well as rules of architecture.

''Bhaya Kala refers to the external or practical art that includes jewellery dancing music etc, the other being Abhyantara Kala or the secret arts that include mostly “erotic arts” such as kissing, embracing .etc. About 10% of the sculptures are erotic and explicit sexually which is one of the main attractions of tourism.''

The Chandela dynasty was believed to follow tantric practices which had several sexual rituals. The temples depict men and women (Mithunas)  in various sexual poses in accordance with the Kamasutra descriptions.There are also other scenes of daily life depicted on the walls. Some places show a woman dressing up or bathing.

''I  noticed a vast quantity of beautiful sculptures of all kinds, to attempt to describe which would exceed the limits of this work, even if, I possessed the means of doing so: but as I do not, and have no sketches from there, I must perforce be excused from inserting any.''

The various depictions of Mithunas and surasundaris are seen on the external walls of the temple. About 90% of their external sculptures are  dedicated to these Bhaya Kala.Brahma and Saraswati are seen at many places on the temples, so is Shiva and Parvati. Apart from sculptures of Gods, there are Mithunas or couples embrace.

There are Mithunas, where a man and woman are seen in embrace some even legs around the lover. On the wall of the Laxmana temple. woman picking thorn from foot at Kendriya Mahadeo temple. The Kendriya Mahadeo temple depicts a woman removing a thorn from her feet. There are various sculptures of women bathing or in a loving embrace with her lover. All of which are simple everyday depictions. The Lakshmana Temple depicts the hunts of the kings of the Chandela period.

''The sculptures suggest that the Asian elephant was indigenous to this region.They were found in this region up to the 17th century.The hunts of wild boars deers are also depicted in the art. The temples also have the erotic /sexual sculptures which cover ten per cent of the exterior walls. Prevalent sexual practices at the time of building the temple are depicted.''