In A Nutshell
They’re known as the Khajuraho monuments. In essence, they are temples which were built for the reason that most temples are built: to honor the gods. However, what is most interesting about these temples is their very sexually explicit depictions in statues, art, and even a single, massive phallic symbol. Men, women, and even some animals are shown in varying positions and groupings. Westerners were shocked upon first finding the monuments, which have now been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Note: Links to photos below, but be aware that they are NSFW.
The Whole Bushel
Deep in the heart of India’s Chhatarpur District is a massive collection of incredibly ornate ancient works of art, mainly in the form of sexually explicit sculptures. The Khajuraho group of monuments are made out of local sandstone, each piece painstakingly carved just perfectly so as to fit together solely by the force of gravity.
When it was first seen by the English in the 19th century, they were appalled to see that the entire exterior of the temples were completely covered with incredibly detailed sculptures depicting every manner of sexual act. Just coming off the Victorian modesty kick, the explorers didn’t spend too much time looking over the sites. However, it is now understood that these sites are not only preservations of ancient art and culture, but also a very good look into ancient architecture and stone-cutting.
The very walls of the monuments are cut so perfectly that the building holds itself up with no use of mortar to keep the blocks of stone held together. What’s more impressive is the detail that can be seen on the statues. More than simply naked sandstone people along the walls, there are innumerable depictions of intercourse, and many stone couples intertwined in coitus.
The temples serve as monuments to various Hindu Gods. What is especially interesting is the fact that such sexual imagery was not considered to be shocking or obscene to the people who built the structures. Rather, sexuality was the way of the gods. For one to have sex was to be holy. This is an interesting contrast to the way most western religions view(ed) sexuality. As something that one should be ashamed of, and to hide away.
Today the temples are a UNESCO world heritage site, and are still use still used to, with many ceremonies are performed within the temples. The celebration of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati takes place every year, which is a large foundation of the Hindu faith. The ceremony involves many rituals of fertility, one of which included the bathing of a large stone phallic symbol in milk, butter, yogurt, and other products of a cow, which is regarded to be sacred in Hinduism. This is done with much care so as to prepare the groom (Shiva) for the wedding. It is followed by dressing the stone itself, and anointing it in the common tradition. In essence, this event, which is highly sexual in nature, is the crux of the Hindu creation story.
The temples are also are a tourist destination for those who wish to view the statues and cavernous interiors of the temples, making it a major site for Indian tourism. The monuments are also host to a dance festival, which features traditional dance performances from some of the most well-known performers in India.
Show Me The Proof
MP Tourism: Khajuraho
Temples of Love: Khajuraho (Link opens to large NSFW photo)
Breakaway Backpacker: The Sex Temples of Khajuraho in Photos (Many photos; all NSFW)