Khajoraho, known for it’s temples with beautiful erotic handiworks engraved on it’s walls. This quiet, genial, dusty village in northern Madhya Pradesh is awash with temples. Temples for everything – sun gods, sacred bulls and, more memorably and most prominently, sex.
The erotic possibilities suggested by the stone figures in the numerous temples have contributed to Khajuraho’s international fame. Another prime feature of the temple craftmanship is that they are liberally embellished with some of the finest handiwork of the Chandela period, a dynasty which survived for five centuries before falling to the onslaught of Islam. Visitors are also drawn to a dance festival, celebrated in March, which attracts some of the best classical dancers in the country – the floodlit temples provide a spectacular backdrop during the event.
The largest and most important temples are in the attractively landscaped Western Group. Externally, the temples consist of curvilinear towers with clusters of lesser turrets clinging to them, suggestive of rising mountain peaks converging round a great central peak.
Round the exterior walls are two, sometimes three, superimposed rows of gods, goddesses, kings and heroes, courtesans, couples in carnal embrace and, in some cases, friezes depicting various forms of bestiality. The interiors are just as ornate, with an open portico leading into a main hall, then a vestibule beyond which is an inner sanctum containing the free-standing cult image. In fact, the sculpture and architecture blend so perfectly that each building appears to have been conceived by a single – and highly sexed – mastermind.