A general perception has always stereotyped India as a country which chisels out its religious, sexual and moral customs on its society in a strict manner. This belief became universally accepted as the norm, which actually exposed the oriental clichés that define India's presence on the global front.
However, we need to understand that this stereotype actually conceals the acceptance of sexual liberty that depicted India before the attack of the Victorian morality. India is a land of temples and some of its ancient architectures beautifully mix sexuality and divine love in the form of erotic sculptures, which we can notice in some of these ancient temples.
Unlike the rest of the world where sexuality is seen in contrast to the religious morality, India is the land of Kamasutra that entwines them together, which has given rise to attractive pieces of artwork. Here are a few of such temples that one must visit, if you would want to understand the Indian art and religious faith.
1. Osian – Rajasthan
Located amidst the sand dunes of the Thar desert, Osian houses a couple of Hindu and Jain shrines that date back to the 11th century AD. Well known amongst them is the Sachiya Mata temple, which is dedicated to a form of the mother goddess. One can find beautiful carvings that begin from the archway and take you all the way up to the shrine. The carvings exhibit some exceptionally beautiful erotic love-locked couples.
2. Markandeshwar Temple – Maharashtra
The temple complex of Markandeshwar is located on the banks of the River Wainganga. Well, there are some sculptures here which might put a frown on your faces. The structure is said to be built by Danavas or the evil forces in one night and follows the Hemadpanth architectural style. The entire temple complex is carved out from stone.
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3. Ellora – Maharashtra
The Kailasa temple at Ellora is said to have been built between 757 and 783 CE by a ruler named Krishna. The temple is well known for its vertical creation; as a matter of fact, the workers started at the top of the rock and further moved downwards. The caves at Ellora are renowned for the depiction of the spiritual union with God through erotic relationships.
PC: Arian Zwegers
4. Padawali – Madhya Pradesh
Situated amidst the thick greenery near the Chambal River, the Padawali temple stands in ruins, which are now being preserved for their antiquity and religious faith. The temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu, which have faded in the passage of time.
However, one can still find a few of the sculptures that have remained intact. Amongst the various sculptures, one can also find erotic sculptures at the outer walls of the temple in various positions.
PC: Amit Sen
5. Bhoramdeo – Chhattisgarh
Located amidst the beautiful surroundings of the Maikal Mountains and dense forests, the Bhoramdeo temple is a perfect mixture of religious and erotic sculptures that are carved out of the rocky stone in the Nagara style of architecture. The temple is believed to be constructed during the period from 7th to 11th century AD.
The Shiva Lingam at the temple is beautifully carved and attracts many visitors due to its artistic values. The temple has a resemblance to the Konark Sun temple and the Khajuraho temple, hence it is called the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh.
6. Khajuraho – Madhya Pradesh
Every time when someone mentions 'erotic art', the first place which comes into the picture is the sculptures at the Khajuraho group of temples. The temples here were built by the Chandela Kings who were influenced by the Tantric traditions.
The sculptures here are seen as the highest point of erotic art, which have the representations of twisting, broad hipped, fleshy heavenly beauties and extravagantly interlocked sexual union on the stone. The sculptures here showcase various positions of passionate lovemaking and is also one amongst the aesthetic representations of lovemaking.
7. Lingaraj Temple – Bhubaneshwar
The zenith of an Orissan temple architecture, Lingaraj Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in the country. The exterior of the temple has sculptures of birds, animals, floral patterns, etc., along with human figures in erotic postures and gods and goddesses. The Lingam is an uncarved granite, which measures 8 ft in diameter and raises up to a height of 8 inches above the ground.
PC: Steve Browne & John Verkleir
8. Ranakpur Jain Temples – Rajasthan
Ranakpur in Rajasthan is a Jain shrine dedicated to Adinath who was the first Jain tirthankara. The temple is carved out of pure white marble and sports 27 halls, which are supported by 1447 pillars. Each of the pillars has some beautiful representations of erotic art. An interesting fact here is that one cannot find two carvings which look alike.