Heading to Khajuraho, on our 18 day Highways to Himalayas group tour, all that Emma McInnes really knew was that it was brimming with temples depicting erotic images. This week Emma tells us about her time in the home of the Kamasutra.
I really didn’t quite know what to expect I was looking forward to knowing more. I discovered that this UNESCO listed world heritage site was considered one of the seven wonders of India and is one of the largest groups of Hindi and Jain temples still intact from over 1000 years ago. Re-discovered by the British in the 19th century, they were almost lost to the jungle surrounds, and today they are wonderfully restored to be scrutinised and admired.
Hundreds of expertly skilled stonemasons worked tirelessly on this group of monuments, which is believed to have taken over 200 years to complete. There is no mortar used to hold the temples together – the engineering is quite astounding. It’s not all kinky depictions – the building themselves are magnificent.
There are only 25 temples of the original 85 standing in a 20 kilometre region and they are fascinating and intriguing, beautiful and yes, about 10% of them are covered in some quite kinky depictions. The ancient Chandelas worshiped Tantric philosophies, and it is said the reliefs were meant to ward off evil and used to teach young boys in ancient initiation rites inspiring them to become worldly. Amazing works of art can be found inside and outside the temples, and it’s worth spending a few hours here to explore all the various monuments within the site.
The reliefs are intriguing, whether you are in your 20s or 70s, there’s nowhere else quite like it. Whilst the images are graphic and some people find them offensive, I would encourage everybody to go further than the Golden Triangle of India and put exploring Khajuraho on your to do list.
Visit the Khajuraho temples on our 18 day Highway to Himalayas and 13 day Deserts Palaces Ganges tours in India.