Khajuraho temples defined India globally as Kamasutra land

New Delhi (IANS): Spread across the dusty old Khajuraho town in Madhya Pradesh, its temples don’t just represent architectural finesse and stand as chronicles of time, but also contribute to a large extent to the way India is perceived by the rest of the world – as the land of the Kamasutra, although the book was written much ahead of time.


As one visits these temples, one is overwhelmed by not just the exemplary Indo-Aryan medieval architecture but majorly by the bold sculptors of that time, who challenge even the present day’s world with their erotic carvings, meant for “educational” purposes, as the local tour guides term it.

Mahatma Gandhi was also known to have found these images “deeply distressing” and wanted the temples cleansed of these “indecent and embarrassing” representations. Khajuraho, however, has continued to remain as the abode of these erotic carvings, which range from self-pleasuring acts to sexual orgies to bestiality.

Built between the 9th and 11th centuries by the warrior kings of the Chandela dynasty, these temples today are arguably the second most visited in the country – next only to the Taj Mahal.

It is believed that 85 temples were built for multiple gods like Shiva, Vishnu, and other goddesses, out of which around 25 remain in different degrees of preservation across Khajuraho in groups.

Their raison d’etre? To settle the differences between the different sects of Hindus, the locals say. Apart from these temples, the town doesn’t have many tourist attractions – apart from the spectacular sunrise at around 5.50 a.m. So what is drawing so many visitors to this rocky plateau, surrounded by emptiness ?

“People are fascinated to see that Indian society was so advanced back then in the 9th century itself, which the sculptors depict through their artworks. It shows the society was open to discuss sexuality and that sex was also one of the ways to reach divinity,” Fahim Khan, a tour guide trained by the Madhya Pradesh government told IANS during the author’s visit to the town.

Lucas Hellmann, a resident of Cologne, said his interest in the text of Kamasutra drew him all the way to visit the temples.

“I have always wanted to know the origins of the world famous text – Kamasutra. It is interesting to know that these temples represent the text through sculptures so beautifully. And I never thought holy temples could be the place for such representations,” Hellmann said.

The erotic carvings of the temples, as one would notice, take to a lot of detailing. There are women who are shown bathing and the water droplets, clearly seen, along with the garments which can be seen as transparent. Another woman who is shown troubled by a thorn in her foot with exasperating facial expressions. Then, there is the sensuality of a celestial nymph putting her make-up on.

Not to be missed are the yogic Kamasutra positions in which the sculptures are shown engaging in plural congresses (orgies), standing coituses and many soldiers engaging in bestiality with their horses. One can also find representation of homosexuality – and women indulging in self-pleasuring activities. All of these are on the spires of the temples, before one enters the holy sanctum.

These temples are some of the very few places in the country that bear significant representation of sexual pleasures.

No wonder, many foreign journalists in their articles have also termed these temples as the reason for the birth of the Kamasutra.

The sculptures also depict the class-divided society, where if a king indulges in a sexual activity with a woman from a lower class, the woman is shown as a miniscule. And nowhere is the woman shown taking charge or initiating the sexual activity – something unlike what the Kamasutra describes.
A must-see is the light and sound show at these temples, which happens in the evenings, voiceed Bollywood icon Amitabh Bacchan, unveiling the history behind the temples.

All in all, the bookshop owners in the town expressed extreme happiness, with copies of Kamasutra selling like hot cakes.

Getting there:
By air – Four Air India flights a week from Delhi via Varanasi
By train – Sampark Kranti Express from Delhi on all days of the week except Wednesdays.
Accommodation: Lodges ranging from Rs.550 ($8) to Rs.1,500 per night (exclusive of taxes)
Three to five-star hotels ranging from Rs.3,500 to Rs.8,000 per night (exclusive of taxes)
Eating out: Many restaurants and cafes in the town serve Mediterranean, European, American and Indian cuisines
Nearby attractions: Raneh Waterfall, which is active only during the monsoon (June-August), about 20 km from Khajuraho.


  1. Dear readers,

    PM Modi’s newly created culture minister with Tourism minister should start promoting Kamasutra land which was unknown to the west untouched since 9th century.Apart from Dinanath Batra pseudo mythology based history, it should be added in the textbooks with ‘Pushpak Vimans’ and human transplants.

    Modi government which lifted ban on porn sites should include KS as Indian culture.Those Indians serving ‘Ghoras’ should ask them to visit KS Land with free tanning.

    Jai hind

  2. “Mahatma Gandhi was also known to have found these images “deeply distressing” and wanted the temples cleansed of these “indecent and embarrassing” representations.” – Report on Mahaatma.

    I despise the very idea of ‘cleansing of these temples’! It’s really stupid to interpret and judge historical events using contemporary values. This is exactly what Taliban and ISIS did when they blew up historical Budha statues and Roman temple ruins. If Mahatma Gandhi was really for getting rid of those historical art in these temples, he couldn’t have been more wrong!!

    There is nothing to be ashamed of our own heritage. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kamasutra or erotic art seen in many of our temples. It is a proof of vibrant and diverse culture existed in Bharateeya society. I can totally understand why it is hard for monotheistic cultures to understand and appreciate these natural, organic human nature and philosophies. For all of its flaws, Bharatha promoted a true pluralistic culture allowing multiple denominations and ideas to coexist. This is exact opposite of ‘true god-vs-false god’ culture!!

    @ Sharia Shaikh – You are least qualified to comment on complex and diverse aspects of Bharateeya culture. As a fanatic worshiper of tribal fantasies, you can continue to lecture us on the greatness of your book and how it has all the information starting from Newtonian laws to some of the most complex scientific issuess!! While it may not fool any infidels, there are millions in tribal belt who will wholeheartedly believe in your pseudo-science. Stay happy!

      • Yes – they will know about pluralism as much as GSBs who ran from Portuguese rule in Goa. They would know about pluralism as much as blacks and aborigines who lived under European invasion of their own lands. Hope it makes it clear to you now!! smiles…

    • There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kamasutra or erotic art seen in many of our temples. -Atheist Mr.Original Pai

      Sir, Then how did the thugs od RSS sister organisation like Bajrang Dal and VHP who made M F Hussain to force living him in exile for five years, having received death threats and multiple lawsuits from Hindu fundamentalists?

      How does these Saffron terror couldn’t understand the diverse aspects of Bharateeya culture differentiating the Modern Art and nudism Khajuraho temples?

      Why can’t Modi’s government stop a method in the Madness killing of Professor Maleeshappa Madhivallapa Kalburgi renowned scholar with over 100 books to his credit?

      Incidentally as we are receiving the news of this killing, the neighboring Bangladesh has witnessed the murder of three young secular bloggers in recent times (2015). In Syria a Scholar Khaled al-Assad has been put to death by ISIS fanatics. Maharashtra was shaken by the murder of a rationalist of repute Dr. Narendra Dabholkar nearly two years ago. He was instrumental in getting the law against black magic and practices related to blind faith passed in Maharashtra. Another well respected activist, Comrade Govind Pansare was killed just a year ago.

      Pansare was working on many issues; anti-blind faith campaign being one of them. He is also the author of well-known tract on Maharashtra’s revered king Shivaji. Contrary to the communal presentation of Shivaji as anti-Muslim king, Pansare shows that Shivaji was the king who was very sympathetic to the farmers (rayyat) and that he was respecting all religions. This interpretation of Shivaji is a great eyesore to the Hindutva politics.

      The aggressive stance by the Hindutva right wing on those who are putting forward the rational thought, criticizing the ills of caste system, idol worship etc. is ideological supplement to the politics of Hindu right wing. The march of this politics in recent years has been built around identity issues like Ram temple or cow slaughter. Their whole assertion is built around the Brahmanical Hinduism, which upholds the caste hierarchy.

      Charvak being the one from ancient times. Even opposition of idol worship is not new to Hindu traditions as Swami Dayanand Sarswati, founder of Arya Samaj, had given the call to stop the idol worship.

      Being identified among Atheist why there are no condemnation from you on this brutal killings? Will you follow the ‘Bunch of thoughts’ written by RSS Guruji’s and support the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi?

      Jai Hind

  3. The irony challenged RSS followers are praising the alleged pluralism of Bharateeeya culture. Bharat had a pluralistic culture, because the RSS was not around to impose its narrow minded vision of India. RSS is an organization which promotes one nation, one language, one culture. RSS wants to crush religious liberty, linguistic diversity and regional identity in the name of one nation, one language, one culture..

  4. Political illiterates should remember what I have said on this forum all along. RSS is a natural reaction to the cultural arrogance and bullying by ‘true god-false god’ groups who ruined the cultural fabric of India over many centuries. RSS will die a natural death when the cultural arrogance and attacks stop!! Those who oppose RSS would have also opposed Shivaaji and maraatha empire against Mogul atrocity. If you want a proof, ask our sharia shaikh and see what he thinks of chatrapathi shivaaji!!! smiles…

    • Those who oppose RSS would have also opposed Shivaaji and maraatha empire against Mogul atrocity. – RampaNNA

      Well, since you have learnt to read and comprehend matters of importance just of late, please read this:

      Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Silicon Valley later this month. But over 137 US-based academics and intellectuals have already filed a petition to the Silicon Valley Enterprises expressing concern about Modi and his ‘Digital India’ campaign. It is not surprising that Richard A. Falk is one of the petitioners. The professor emeritus of law at Princeton University, a highly respected academic, has always been an outspoken critic of governments and policies that violate human rights and civil liberties.

      At 84, he has authored and co-edited more than 40 books and is a well-known commentator on his own. As former UN rapporteur on Palestine, Falk is also one of the few Jews who was denied a visa by Israel for his outspoken views about Israeli atrocities and occupation of Palestinian territory. He tells Pranay Sharma why he’s a signatory to the petition against Modi. Excerpts:
      Now, please don’t say that he is leaning much more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa towards the …. err…. what was it that you called the NYT? Left? Right? Centre- straight? What about Bloomberg & BBC? They follow the same paths as you and ‘Mohika’ Bhagawatha do, too?

      Now, please do your homework! STOP watching ‘Aadu Jeevitham’ (with Arabic subtitles) for the umpteenth time! Saar ಗೊಲ್ವಲ್ಕರ would get offended and turn over in his grave… i mean…. ashes!

      • See this is why you are the joke and joker!! See my earlier response to AS Mathew on the same topic along with links. As I have already pointed out, these ‘scholars’ have been opposing Shree Modiji even before 2014. They didn’t even want Sri Modiji to address a group of students at Wharton Business school using Video conference!! How insecure these guys are!! By the way, since they are the champions of rights and freedom, I’m sure they strongly protested against ban on pravaadi’s cartoons, right? LOL LOL LOL LOL What a joke you guys are!! Get back to your ‘aadu jeevitham’!! LOL

    • RSS is a natural reaction to the cultural arrogance and bullying by ‘true god-false god…- Rampa

      Ummm.. mmmmm you could argue that the 1000 year Reich was a RESULT and part of the WW1 concession! Eh?

      Explains v succinctly why a RSS Chaddi killed the Matahtma!

      And it also sheds some light on why you reside in the US. Unc Sam needs Jokers. 🙂

      Found ANY God as yet?

      Beta.. wear some BATA (6 years) and soja….

      • Well, if you still have internet connection from your anganawaadi classroom, google ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’. Give it a try and see if you learn anything!

        • Original R. Pai,

          I have read the Rise & Fall of Third Reich by William L. Shirer, who has also written a book on Mahatma Gandhi. This book is over 1,600 pages in small print and is the best book written on World War II. I wonder if there is any other book that can excel this book. This book can also serve as a good reference material to know anything about this war.

          I have got a letter from the author

  5. “I have read the Rise & Fall of Third Reich by William L. Shirer…I have got a letter from the author” – Nelson Lewis.

    I respect your curiosity and passion. Clearly, we disagree on many topics. However, I respect your informed views unlike some on this forum who look at everything based on religious and political affiliation!! For example, Pincode Pai will go to any extent and shameless in defending his Nehru family-obsession. Sharia Shaikh is a hardcore supporter of his religion even if it means supporting enemy nations! Joker Praveena is clueless and doesn’t know anything!

    • Original R.Pai, “For example, Pincode Pai will go to any extent and shameless in defending his Nehru family-obsession.”

      Sir, Nehru Family ruled India for more than 45 years. During the rest of the time, Nehru’s grandson (i.e. your Maneka Gandhi, Sajay Gandhi’s wife) is ruling India as “the King’s German Legion”; rather, the “Nehru’s RSS Legion” in all non-Congress governments!

      Modi too is not an exception to allegiance to the Nehru Family. He too has your Maneka Gandhi in his cabinet.

      Rahul Gandhi in the Congress Party and Varun Gandhi in the BJP, both as the legions of the Nehru Dynasty, are still very important persons of the dynasty! Nehru Legacy continues. First, set right your RSS and Modi by ousting Nehru Dynasty from the BJP; and then only try to attack me on the dynasty issue!!!

      Sir, you are Modi’s Chela, and as such, you too are the “maska Maar” of Nehru dynasty, like the RSS!

    • Mr. Original R. Pai,

      Thanks for your comments. I always express my views without fear and favour, without prejudice and religious leanings. I always believe that religion and rituals should be confined to homes and places-of-worship and one should avoid bringing it in public. Religions have been the main cause of public sufferings and the reason for people either fleeing for their lives or to avoid conversions. Why did the Europeans flee from Europe to the present day U.S.A., where the Red Indians were the sons-of-the-soil? Why did Persians (or Parsis) flee from Persia (present day Iran) and, those who survived, land at Sanjan in India?

      As I said before, Rise & Fall of the Third Reich was the best book that I have read on the World War II, simply because it covered most aspects of this war (starting from pre-war to post-war periods). Mr. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s name has been mentioned, but I cannot say with pinpoint accuracy if Group Captain Leonard Cheshire’s name is mentioned. I assume so.

      Advocate B.N. Pai wants me to show the facsimile of Group Captain Leonard Cheshire’s letter? Why should I show it to him? I am quite confident that he is hearing this name for the first time? His knowledge is limited to Jawaharlal Nehru (I wonder if he knows Nehru’s dad’s name), Indira Gandhi (I wonder if he knows her spouse’s name), Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhis’ name). Ah! For sure, he knows Robert Vadra’s name. How sweet?

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