These sensual imagery on the exterior walls of the temples have a special significance.
Surprisingly, many temples of ancient India have erotic art. Some call it progressive, passionate and some think it is vulgar. True, these carvings are very bold but they hold certain ancient ideologies which saw sex as a way to reach the ‘epitome of spirituality’.
Most of these temples follow the concepts of Tantric Tradition which saw the sensual pleasures as a transcendental energy which creates a spiritual path to reach god. If you observe, these erotic carvings are only found on the exterior walls of the temple.
According to some researchers, it means that a person should get over the carnal desires before entering the shrine; he can get over the lust only after he has experienced it. No wonder, these icons have the charm to create passion in every visitor. So, let us make a virtual tour around some temples in India that are famous for erotic sculptures!
Sun Temple, Modhera
Sun Temple, Modhera The Sun Temple in Modhera is one of the ancient temples of Gujarat. It was built during the rule of Solanki Dynasty. It is the temple for Sun, the Solar deity which is of monumental importance. The shrine looks splendidly beautiful with different sculptures and figurines. One of the outer walls of the temple has sexual figures which relates to the Tantric tradition.
In India, the Khajuraho Temples are very famous for its sex sculptures. Some researchers believe that these figurines portray the concepts of Kama Sutra and some say these are tantric sexual practices. However, the Khajuraho temples are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites situated in Madhya Pradesh.
Interestingly, most temples with erotica are related to Shiva or Shakti. Even the Tantric Tradition sees the Shakti and Bhairava (Shiva) as their prime deities. Since these sculptures are mainly related to Tantric customs, they might be found in Shiva temples. Bhoramdeo is a group of temples with Shiva as the prime deity. It is one of the oldest temples located in Chattisgarh. Bhoramdeo is also called as the ‘Khajuraho of Chattisgarh’.
The aphrodisiac carvings are not just found in Hindu temples but also in Jain temples. Ranakpur Temple is one of the ancient Jain temples where you can see the sex sculptures. The grand marble architecture of Ranakpur Temple also holds the passionate carvings of lovers and sexual practices. Ranakpur temple is located Pali of Rajasthan.
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi
The Virupaksha Temple is one of the living temples in the heritage site of Hampi. Here lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Virupaksha. This age-old temple is one of the architectural marvels in Hampi. Apart from other beautiful carvings, we can also find some amazing erotic sculptures on the exterior walls of the temple.
Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Ajanta and Ellora Caves are a wonder in itself; they are the advanced style of Indian rock-cut cave architecture. Among various attractions, you can find several erotic carvings and paintings spread across these heritage sites in Maharashtra.
These elements of sensuality and love indicate the rational thoughts of ancient India. They were not ashamed of portraying the natural process; instead, they gave a new meaning through art. It is definitely mind-blowing to witness such intricate and grand art at these temples.