India is recognized worldwide for its religious and spiritual nature and this can be confirmed once you are there, because practically you can find a temple on every corner. Nowadays, some of the most popular temples are the Khajuraho ones, which are located in a small town with the same name in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The temples of Khajuraho are known worldwide for the erotic nature of its decoration, which is why it attracts the attention of many tourists and travelers who for various reasons such as curiosity or culture, decide to include this as part of their travel itinerary.
The temples of Khajuraho are a set of Hindu temples that were built between the years 950 and 1050. Originally there were about 80 temples of which are preserved 22, those are now considered World Heritage by UNESCO since 1986. The temples of Khajuraho are commonly known as Kamasutra temples or Tantric temples, because of the large erotic content of the external decoration of each temple. Which are sculptures showing performances ranging from oral sex, zoophile and different sexual plays. All the sculptures have many details, I wondered about how they did, that is, they used models or just the sculptor had a wonderful creativity. However such sculptures are not the only ones in the temples, you can also see geometric figures, floral patterns, representations of everyday life and customs and animals.
The exact reason why the temples were decorated with various erotic motives are not known, there are different hypotheses about it, as how to teach the Kama Sutra to youth, honor the marriage between Shiva one of the gods of the Hindu trinity in which He is the destroyer god (Brahma god creator and Vishnu the preserver god) and Parvati the Hindu goddess and mother of Ganesh, her name means “daughter of the mountain”, also is said that these served as protection and chased away evil spirits, among others.
The Kamasutra temples have become a major tourist attraction in India, however most of the people who visit Khajuraho do not know that is not the only place in India that has this kind of temples. Around 1,168 km towards the east from Khajuraho, there is another place known as Sun Temple, located in Konark in the state of Odisha in the east part of India. This one is a temple dedicated to the sun god Surya, is one of the most important temples in the country for its architecture and reliefs that decorate its walls with essentially erotic themes.
The Sun Temple was built in the mid XIII century and declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The sculptures that make this place are basically the same as the temples of Khajuraho, however this place is less conserved than the first one. A particular detail of this temple is that the figure itself is a horse-drawn carriage that has 24 wheels, located around the base of the temple. Historians note that on these wheels can also be observe everyday activities to which women were involved, including cooking, cleaning and even when they were engaged in the practice of the Kama Sutra.
These historians also tell that the practices in the region are represented in some of the images that decorate the temple, among them a very particular that caught my attention was the one worn by women from nearby villages in which they make like an squat with the legs opened over fire, used as a prevention to not get pregnant. In the words of historian “there were no planning methods, however is still used”
This place is not as touristy as the temples of Khajuraho and the vast majority are Hindu visitors. Which can be a bit funny to see the expressions of many men who visit this place amazed by erotic sculptures representing the different situations that maybe they have ever had and that many do not come to experience. While I was in India, I got to hear that given the overcrowding and the large difference in amount between women and men, the average time of intercourse is 7 minutes, and hardly all men come to have a partner.
Although the reason for the erotic sculptures on both temples is unknown, one thing is very clear is that Indian society was rather more liberal in sexual matters than it is today.
Versión en Español: LOS TEMPLOS DEL KAMASUTRA, ENTRE LA LUJURIA Y LA ESPIRITUALIDAD