The guide kept his mono-drone on as background music as we scrutinized the enrapturing sculptures of the western temples of Khajuraho.
The Chandela dynasty which originated in the 10th century and ruled for a little over 500 years, brought the temples of Khajuraho alive with their taste for erotic art. As our eyes roved from one sculpture to another, one thought predominantly made its existence (also a big thanks for this thought goes to Krimson himself for voicing it loud again and again) – What were the rulers and the sculptors and architects really thinking or aiming to achieve with these depictions?
One very interesting tidbit from Mr. Guide himself was the introduction of the concept of the Tantric Cult. Supposedly, some glorious ruler belonged to this cult and it was his ardent devotion that led him to drive his sculptors into creating these magnificent monuments in tribute to the art of making love. The Tantric Cult essentially believed (perhaps still believes) that sexual gratification was a part of the path towards self-knowledge.
I could almost see the guys taking mental notes of this, so that they could google it up and perhaps if it still exists be a part of this cult!
What made the trip even more interesting was the story of its discovery – Khajuraho was unearthed from the clutches of an overgrown wilderness by a British ENGINEER called T S Burt, not an archeologist, but an engineer!!! And guess what?? He was actually offended by what he saw!! I suppose in 1800 such open acceptance of the Kamasutra would have been rare indeed!!
Interestingly enough, though the sculptures are quite bold - There is nudity – both male and female, kissing and fondling are commonly depicted, group sex is depicted: twosomes and threesomes, foursomes and fivesomes and on to orgies with ten or more participants… There are acts of sexual intercourse that appear to resist gravity; and there is occasionally bestiality portrayed at the temples – but nine out of every ten sculptures have absolutely nothing to do with sex! Honest!
Though the temples are ancient, they are very well preserved. They retain the aura of mythology and transport you straight back into time, in the prime reign of the Chandela Dynasty. There is a reason for this too!! Apparently the temples thus built, appeased the erotic nature of lord Indra, who supposedly has a voyeuristic streak and he took it upon himself to preserve the authentic nature of these temples!!!
Myths, tales and a kingdom full of magic… that's where we spend the first half of our day!