Ancient Erotica: The Sexually Explicit Temples in Khajuraho, India
They say the devil is in the details. Hardcore Christians are probably going to have to perform a self-exorcism after viewing the graphic images in this post. The temples in Khajuraho are adorned with carvings depicting people, for want of a better word, shagging. This isn’t your every day, missionary approved love making either — some of the positions are creative to say the least. It all sounds like some kind of hipster modern art display, but most of these temples were erected (forgive the pun) a millennia ago.
I could go into fine detail about each of the scenes we saw while walking around the temples, but that would get weird very quickly. So, check out the photos below and then keep reading for more information about visiting Khajuraho.
We also saw statues of gods, animals and fully clothed people, although I barely remember them now. When exploring the temples in Khajuraho most people head straight for the weird stuff and skip over most of the more conventional carvings. Of the 85 Jain / Hindu temples that once graced this land only 20 or so remain today. The Chandala dynasty built most of the temples between 950 and 1050 AD.
Khajuraho’s other temples
Khajuraho’s ancient temples are split into three zones, the western one being by far the most impressive. The temples in the other zones are similar but only feature G rated carvings. There’s also a Yogini temple (the oldest in India) just outside of the western zone enclosure. All in all I’d say you won’t miss much if you only visit the western zone.
Khajuraho Travel Tips
- Entrance fees: The western zone will set foreigners back 500 INR (as of April 2016). Lots of guides linger outside the gates pestering tourists to hire them, but unless you feel the need to have some guy describing ancient orgies you should probably give it a miss. The other zones are free and can be reached by rickshaw, bicycle or on foot.
- Where to stay in Khajuraho: There are plenty of budget hotels close to the temples but we chose Hotel Isabel Palace, a mid-range option on the outskirts of town. We were drawn there by the excellent Tripadvisor reviews and it didn’t disappoint. The rooms are huge and feature private terraces with garden views. The temples are only a short rickshaw ride away and it was nice to get away from the persistent downtown touts, who were the worst we met in India. Check out Gia’s review of Hotel Isabel Palace over at Mismatched Passports.
- Getting to and around Khajuraho: You’ll probably arrive in Khajuraho by train. We came from Orchha (via Jhansi) which took around 7 hours. You can also travel there from Agra on a tour bus or a train. From Khajuraho the next logical step is to take the train to Varanasi, but we didn’t book our ticket in time which meant a long journey to Kolkata via Kanpur. We paid 80 INR for a rickshaw from the train station to the hotel, which wasn’t a bad price considering it was at night. Rickshaw drivers will implore you to take a tour of all the temples, but honestly I don’t think it’s worth it. We visited during the monsoon season and it rained almost the whole time. If you’re there when the weather is clear it’d be a good place to cruise around on a bicycle.
Would you like to visit these temples in Khajuraho? Which places in India are you most excited to visit? Let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Hotel Isabel Palace. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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