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Khajuraho the Temple of Love. India. Photo 13

All Photos: Khajuraho
the Temples
of Love

Sexual and erotic sculpture, Photo 3. Khajuraho temples, India
"Temple of Love". The sexual and erotic art, that glorified Khajuraho temples

Khajuraho "the Temples of Love": Theories

Several theories, as to the origin and significance ... of mandir sculpture, prevail among Indian as well as Western scholars.

Francis Leeson in Kama Shilpa has summarized them briefly as follows :

(1) The mithunas are symbols of Shakti - both - sexes in one God - representing the oneness of God, or the spiritual syllable AUM.

(2) They are representations of supreme bliss, an attempt in earthly terms to convey the meaning of heavenly rapture.

(3) The mithunas are temptations to laud thoughts, but are to be overcome by the devout.

(4) They are just innocent depictions of a human activity in the same way as other sculptures show scenes of dancing, fighting, making music, praying, etc.

(5) The mithunas were intended as a protection against the evil eye, 'lightening" etc.

(6) They attract grosser-minded people to come to the mandir, if only for the initial pleasure of examining them.

(7) The mithunas are there for the sexual education of the young and ignorant, as a sort of illustrated Kama Sutra.

(8) They are straight forward representations of Yogic postures.

 ...near (Khajuraho) temples, which contain idols that have been mutilated by the Moslems, live a number of yogis whose matted locks have grown as long as their bodies. And on account of extreme asceticism they are all yellow in colour. Many Moslems attend these men in order to take lessons (yoga) from them.
— Ibn Battuta, about 1335 CE, Riḥlat Ibn Baṭūṭah, Translated by Arthur Cotterell16


The walls of the temples of Khajuraho are luxuriantly decorated with elaborately carved sculptures. Whilst Khajuraho temples are famous for the sex sculptures, sexual themes occupy less than 10% of the temples sculpture. Nay, most sexual images are balanced with the non- sexual themes. The topics of wall sculpture art cover numerous aspects of human life and values considered major in Hindu pantheon.

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