Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Khajuraho, India
Warning! The content of this article is only for adults.
The temple of Kama Sutra, as it is widely known in the whole world; this is a place where all the tourists are headed to. An ambiguity exists that this very temple has been the prototype for the world-famous book of lovers - Kama Sutra. But let us go to the beginning of the story.
In the 10th century the Chandel dynasty was ruling in India. Their cultural and religious capital was the city of Khajuraho (it is 620 km southern of the contemporary capital New Delhi). However they didn't live here; there even no fortifications in the city. The temples of Khajuraho were built in the period between 950-1150 by the order of the Chandels. By the end of the construction however the Chandel dynasty had lost its former glory. Due to the lack of records there is no information about the architects, masons as well as about the motives of such kind of ornamentation of the temples.
The total area of the temples is 20 km2. Initially 85 temples were built, however only 22 have remained. The temples are built from sandstone. The builders have not used calcimine: they only connected the stones by tenon joints. The columns and architraves are made of solid pieces of stone; the weight of each is about 20 tons.
Despite the generally accepted delusion, the sculptures of temples do not depict poses from the famous book of love. Images from everyday life of ordinary people are portrayed here: women putting on a make-up, musicians, builders etc. Only about 10% of all sculptures picture erotic episodes. However those 10% show all those various incredible sexual poses so emotionally and sensually that it's quite logical why the group of monuments is famous as the temple of Kama Sutra. During different periods of time many travellers and scientists visited the temple. Shameful, offensive, discreditable, incredible, masterpiece – all these embellishments were used to describe one of the most startling sights in the world.
It may sound strange but it's a fact: there are also "educatory" images depicted on the walls. On one of the walls a man is penetrating a horse, and another man hides his head in his hands in shame at the sight of such an act. It's worth mentioning that despite the zesty sculptures on the exterior walls of the temples, no such images can be found inside the temple. Anthropologists provide that in this way the believers are appealed to leave their sexual desires outside, and enter the temple "clean".
Despite the fact that all local dwellers know that the temple has nothing to do with the book of love, anyway guides with a cunning grin on their face tell tourists that 85 (the initial number of temples) is just one more than poses described in Kama Sutra. And 22 (number of remained temples) is the maximum number of poses possible to "implement" during one night. Surely one can go deep into investigations and find some contradictions in numbers and quantities. But should we? The legend is beautiful, let it be.
The Khajuraho temples were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1986.
By Sona Gasparian, www.building.am