Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

 

Warning: This article contains graphic scenes! Stone scenes, but graphic none the less. Consider yourself warned…

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

You know that moment of embarrassment you feel when you’re watching a movie and the scene turns hot and heavy just as your parents walk into the room? Or, what you thought was an innocent movie starts showing nudity and sex scenes and you’re watching it with your brother and you both start shifting uncomfortably in your seats? That’s kinda how I felt when I had a little old Indian security guard insist on personally leading me to, and pointing out, the numerous hand carved figures in an equally numerous amount of raunchy positions. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, describing them to me. Oh, right. Ummm, yes, I can see that man with the horse. Very, uhhh, detailed…

I’m not even joking about the horse either.

The temples of Khajuraho are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and well worth a visit – especially if you like to giggle at nudity check out history in a fairly well preserved and well maintained setting – particularly by Indian standards. There are three main temple groups, however if you’re strapped for time the only ones you’ll wanna see are the Western Group. Actually, to be quite honest, I wouldn’t even bother with the others, the other groups are somewhat neglected in comparison and you’ll also have to deal with numerous touts and children “practising their English” with you all the way around the sights – for a small fee of course. Unless you’re cold hearted like we were.

The fee to get in is a hefty 500 ($10) for foreigners, well, hefty compared to the price of 10 ($0.20) for Indians… however, I digress. Guides charge almost equal that so unless you’re in a big group and can split the costs (or, you know, 500R is not much to pay for you) I would either opt for an audio guide or just make up your own facts and scenarios to entertain yourself like I do…

While many claim that the temple carvings are depictions of the Karma Sutra others have argued that the lack of positions represented, and the fact that the practising subjects are normal people as opposed to deities, suggest that the temples were adorned in an era of Tantric traditions. Likely also, to be the mode for young boys to learn about, and prepare for, real life upon exiting the ashram as men.

Whatever the origins, there is no doubt that the carvings, in all their intricate artistry, will stir up shock, awe and hilarity. So, without further ado…

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

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Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

Stones That Bare All : The Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India

This last one was actually part of the Southern Group of temples. The other photos are all from the Western Group

This last one was actually part of the Southern Group of temples. The other photos are all from the Western Group

As you will probably agree, this was a pretty impressive spot to explore. Although, I will admit, it was pretty bizarre to be in a place so blatantly sexual in the middle of a quite conservative Indian society. Times have obviously changed. A lot.

As a couple of the temples are still open for worship, I was caught out a couple of times by groups of pilgrims as I pointed my camera (not so) discreetly at the flirty figures. I was even interrupted at one point by a young couple who thrust their 18 month old baby into my arms for a photo.

Ahhh, India.

Think this looks like a place you’d like to check out? We actually arrived here by train from Kochi (34 hours, by the way) but it’s only six hours from Delhi, or ~ 13 hours from Varanasi (overnight). If you are going by train the easiest route is to arrive into Jhansi and try to catch the connecting train to Khajuraho (~ three hours), or if you choose to take a bus (~ five hours) you have to first take an auto rickshaw to the bus stop 5km out of town. The bus at least arrives in the town whereas the train station is 10km outside.

Beware of the touts around town. As I mentioned, many are children who will just start walking and talking with you. Make it clear you won’t be paying them any money, and you don’t want a guide. I don’t think it’s a good idea to encourage this kind of livelihood. The commissions on bus and train tickets are fairly high here too (we paid ₹150 extra each) so it’s worth going to buy the tickets yourself, or have them already booked when you arrive. Train tickets have to be bought from the BUS station as there is no office at the train station. One day, or even just an afternoon is enough time to explore the Western Group.  

 

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