KonarkMadhya PradeshOrissa

Erotic sculptures in Khajuraho and Konark

Indian art and architecture has always celebrated sensuality and eroticism. Although most temples in India have their share of erotic sculptures, they are at their passionate best in the temples in Khajuraho and Konark, both of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Khajuraho, temples, erotic

Erotic sculptures in Khajuraho

Lost in a world of caresses with passions running high are millions of exquisite sculptures carved on the walls of the temples here. They may be cast in stone but their emotions bring them alive.

Konark, Sun temple, Orissa, erotic sculptires

Erotic sculptures in Konark Sun temple

Love alternates with lust as these amorous men and women are etched in a montage of erotic art.They seem unabashed as they make no attempt to cloak their feelings. Some are locked in a tight embrace, others gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, while the rest are enacting various scenes out of the Kamasutra. And even in those private moments made public, they seem to have eyes only for their beloved.

erotic art, temples, Khajuraho

Erotic sculptures on Khajuraho temples

There are many reasons why temples depict erotic art . Most locals however say that the underlying thought is to leave your lust behind before entering the temple, which is probably why these sculptures do not show the Gods and goddesses in intimate moments. Neverthess these sculptures are odes to pristine forms of passion.

Konark, erotic art

More erotic art at Konark

Have you been to these temples ? What do you think prompted the sculptors tto carve these erotic sculptures ? Do let me know your thoughts..

14 comments

  1. Katie 19 April, 2014 at 01:33 Reply

    These are incredible!

    I find it fascinating the link between worship and sexuality in various cultures. Totally the opposite of the relationship between them here in churches in the UK.

      • Shivendra 25 April, 2014 at 14:30 Reply

        Osho in one of his novel named “from sex to subconsciousness” gave his views on these sculptures.
        All he wanted to convey is when a human starts thinking beyond sex then he/she can feel prolonged happiness in his/her life or simply they attain Nirvana.
        May be the people who created these sculptures wanted people to keep gazing these sculptures so that a state would come when the people be no more obsessed with their polluted thinking about sex. And at that state the human would start enjoying life.
        🙂

  2. Puja Gokarn 12 June, 2014 at 14:28 Reply

    Hi,
    This was beautiful t read and I couldn’t help but share. I have come across a few theories about the intriguing sculptures of Khajuraho myself. One of them being that newlywed couples were made to circumambulate this temple in order to get educated and blessed.

    Then, I studied Ancient Indian Culture, and the main and most probable theory that I cam across there was that these are ‘mithuna’ couples or lovers, who originate from Orissa, from the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. They stand for various meanings. The most obvious one is the celebration of life’s pleasures but an underlying one is the soul’s longing for union with the divine.
    The way they have been portrayed with the nudity and the show of prominent breasts etc is an emphatic symbol of fertility because the mother cult of Shakti was worshipped since time immemorial. Every couple was believed to have an element of Shiva and his consort Shakti.

    Another more obscure theory is that these were sculptures of Hatha Yogis who tried to attain salvation through maximum exertion and meditation in unattainable postures. However, this theory is not confirmed or even known much. Hope you enjoy these snippets of information. 🙂

    • Ashok Sinha 6 August, 2015 at 13:33 Reply

      It was nice to go through your comment. I have been to Konark at least a dozen times when I had business interests in Odisha. The temple architecture is magnificent and the sculptures are a treat to watch. As you have said, they represent celebration of life’s pleasure. Subsequent theories are afterthoughts that most of us engage in according to our tastes and perceptions.

  3. Banwari Lal 19 February, 2015 at 08:32 Reply

    Excellent photography as well as selection i.e. mildly erotic. In my view, in those times, some persons were highly creative and there was no media publishing. Just to satisfy their own creative cravings or to impress the kings might have the guiding force for these sculptures or obsessiveness about eroticism (in their minds at all times). Another reason guessing is about young boys and girls who were reluctant to go temples with parents or relatives, it was an added attraction for them. Till their parents finish their prayers in temple, youngsters were glued with erotic art on outer walls of temple and readily agreed to go with them next time also. No valid reason but we are fortunate to have this treasure of art.

  4. L.Viswanathan 16 June, 2015 at 17:57 Reply

    Very beautiful………..No words to explain and express in any language….
    In my view i want to say only one thing in this regard. Christian ism was founded by Jesus Christ,Buddhism was founded by Buddha and Jainism was founded by Mahavira. Is there any one know who found Hinduism. .It is an Question mark.Some people ask why women gods are worshiped in Hindu religion(God with goddess).Basically why man needs women?If man say women is important for so and so.similarly god need goddess.The Hindu religion accepts women god.Because Hinduism encourages lovable life not only sage life.The person who never attain a sage(saint)stage without enjoying the lovable life(Sexual Life).After getting the sour in sex and forgive sex.He will be perfect saint.This is the basic reason.

    One more thing In my Opinion, The part from the human body which are closed or covered by clothes which makes more creativity and our mind disturbed entirely.and our mind thins about what is there???????.there no possibility to concentrate mind. In order to involve people in worship they may do this kind of beautiful erotic sculptures.

    • Ashok Sinha 6 August, 2015 at 13:42 Reply

      Sir, these sculptures celebrating sensuality and eroticism tell us, according to me, in no uncertain terms that accept the gross aspect of our existence even when we are about to enter the world of subtle existence and meditation.

  5. Pritishree Dash 11 September, 2015 at 18:12 Reply

    Hi Lakshmi. I am from Odisha and have myself been to Konark many times. Since you have asked, let me tell you that this temple was built in the honor of King Narasimhadeva. Temples those days were made for the ruler’s pleasure and his fame. Hence, the erotic sculptures. That also explains as to why rulers those days could marry more than once.

  6. Satish 27 November, 2017 at 07:22 Reply

    It’s is v. Beautiful piece of art which gives msg that man & women are incomplete without each other that type of relationship is missing in current era I really want to be part of that healthy relationship of men and women s

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