It is surprising to think that in the years 950 to 1050 , while Europe built sober Romanesque cathedrals and languished in the Middle Ages, the most famous and explicit erotic temples in the world, the temples of Khajuraho, were built in India.
The ‘temples of Kamasutra ‘, as they are also popularly known, have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO and form a prodigious architectural and sculptural ensemble.
The Khajuraho site was the capital of the Chandela dynasty , a Rajput clan that ruled this area of India between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.
After this dynasty the temples were gradually abandoned. Oblivion, dense vegetation and history were hiding them over time. Perhaps this was what allowed them to survive the destruction of Hindu temples that the Mughal empire carried out in other areas.
There they remained, hidden behind the brush, when the British captain ISBurt discovered them, in 1838, making his way through the vegetation.
From then on it was the Maharaja Pratap Singh, who invested large sums in recovering the area until different visits and investigations on the place caught the attention of the entire national and international community.
The Khajuraho temple complex preserves 22 of the 80 temples that were originally located . Among them, the majority are Hindus , although there are also Jains . It is divided into three zones:
– West Zone : It is considered the most important nucleus of the entire collection of temples, located next to the archaeological museum. The Kandariya Mahadev temple stands out, one of the most spectacular with more than 30 meters and almost 1,000 statues. Not forgetting the beautiful Lakshmana temple, dedicated to Vishnu; the small Varaha temple; the Matangesvara temple, today still used as a place of worship; Visvanatha, with some perfectly preserved sculptures …
– East side: They are smaller temples than the western zone. There are six, three Jains and three Hindus.
– South zone : Somewhat away from the rest of the complex, there are two other small and less visited temples.
The sculptures not only represent the most expressive erotic motifs , there are also floral, geometric, animal motifs or representations of life in court.
There are different theories about the reason why temples were decorated with sexual positions. Some say that it was about teaching the Kamasutra to the youngest, for others, the temples are a tribute to the love and marriage between Shivá and Párvati, and for others the sculptures representing lovers served as protection, since they scared away the bad Spirits and electrical storms in monsoon times.
Khajuraho, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is today a city of just 10,000 or 15,000 inhabitants that lives largely focused on tourism, thanks to the attraction of these wonderful temples, unique in the world.