Khajuraho
   Khajuraho is a small village near Jhansi in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Some 22 temples are located around the village; they are considered the finest of the medieval period and are known for their erotic art.
   The temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 C.E. under the Chandel empire. They show murals and a profusion of sculptures that depict explicit scenes from the KAMA SUTRA. Some have explained their frank depiction of myriad sexual positions as being tantric in origin, as TA N-TRISM is known to stress sexual ritual.
   One legend gives a more personal explanation of the erotic artwork. The mother of the king who built the temple had been seduced by the Moon god and became a social outcast. When the boy grew up to become king, he had a dream visitation from his mother; she asked him to show all the passions of love in order that people would learn the goodness of sexuality and not condemn it. The temples of Khajuraho above all celebrate the feminine form. Women in every pose and posture, sexual and oth-erwise, are depicted with great care and art.
   Though the temples are variously dedicated as Vaishnavite, Shaivite, GODDESS, and Jain (see JAIN-ISM), they all appear quite similar; on the exterior one sees only women and men in sexual postures, and the sectarian identities are not apparent. Carv-ings and pictures in these temples show a dizzying profusion; every wall and ceiling is covered with painting and sculpture.
   Further reading: Devagana Desai, Khajuraho (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000); Krishna Deva, Temples of Khajuraho (New Delhi : Archaeological Sur-vey of India, 1990).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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