Khajuraho and Kamasutra- how well do you understand?


Khajuraho temple at Madhya Pradesh is seen as temple of representative text of Kamasutra through erotic sculptures. The unrivalled charm, especially unique erotic art and great cultural importance make the group of Khajuraho temples in India a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some foreign journalist even said that the Khajuraho shows how sexually liberal India was at such a time. And Kamasutra on the other hand is a highly taboo topic in the country. Though both the terms include a lot of stigma- how much do we understand by them is a big question? 

First take a look at the historical significance of Kamasutra and Khajurao:

Temples in India are seen as a sacred and solemn site, but much to our surprise the Khajuraho stands as an exception. Established is the mids of Chatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is India’s one of the ancient temples worldwide popular for its erotic sculptures. The name Khajuraho was derived from the Hindi word Khajoor. It is said that King Chandravarman ordered to plant khajor trees around the town and that’s how Khajuraho got its world-known popular name because of its Dates cultivation. It is believed that the temple was built back in the golden 10th and 11th centuries, by the Chandela Dynasty. Only 22 temples are left out of 85 temples, which were designed centuries back. The place witness Nagara style of erotic sculptures. Sculptures present in Khajuraho are not the direct depiction of Kamasutra, they are the gestures of Tantra Yoga. It is believed in Khajuraho that the artist has been gifted with the freedom of expression. Every aspect of life has been shown in the temple in the form of sculptures.

If we talk about Kamasutra, it’s an ancient text for love, fulfillment and eroticism in life. The Kama Sutra is a part of an ancient text of endeavoring to live life well. Topics of the Kama Sutra concern more the nature of love, finding a life partner, maintaining one’s love life, and enhancing the pleasure of human life. A majority portion of the book- Kamasutra, is all about the theory and philosophy of love and life and also the principles which trigger desire. How to sustain those desires and to know about the good and bad aspects of it is well written in the text. Whereas at Khajuraho, these aspects defines a different notion. Amidst these erotic sculptures, at the place you clearly see the caste system as well. Where the women from lower caste are seen sitting much lower to the king and so. Also female nudity, at that point of time, was not seen as a sinful desire, but rather as a symbol of female fertility and ethereal much opposite to the modern day chastity flaws.  


What does ‘sex’ plays in Kamasutra and Khajuraho?

We typically had two major dimensions to understand ‘sex’ at ancient time- Khajuraho and Kamasutra. These two define how people were more open about the sexual intimacy and discarded the term gender sensitivity. If we take a closer look at the Khajuraho, most of the sculptures are seen erotic, at least that’s what google shows us. Search khajuraho and you’ll see the result yourself. But much to opposite of it, is a reality that only 10% of all such sculptures at Khajuraho are erotic. So we have the evidence that how things gets changed when we include the term sex into it- as just shown by the internet. Then we have Kamasutra, it is one of the ancient sex book we have. And this has been evident today as we have numerous condoms named Kamasutra. But do you know that only 20% of the complete book talks about the “sex” part? No, right? Yet, people around the country are getting awkward around these two dimensions. You can’t openly call out the word Kamasutra unless and until you want to see judgmental eyes creeping on you. Where on one hand these two just define different aspect of life on the other hand they are highly stigmatized.

It is highly ironic and funny that in a country with second highest population in the world, sex is a taboo. And following this taboo, Kama sutra and Khajuraho, the beauty of both seems to be overshadowed by embarrassment and shame.     


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