Khajuraho, Temple of Love

BRAHMAN:

That’s right. Where right wing politics, wimpy school districts, and squeamish parents fail their teenage constituency daily, the loud embarrassing relative with the South Asian art history textbook comes through!

(Auntie) “Khajuraho! The Temple of Love!”

I would now like to share with you a few of the more memorable illustrations.

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Khajuraho, sometimes referred to as the Kamasutra Temple or Temple of Love, is actually a group of monuments spread over about 20 square kilometers in the northeastern part of Madhya Pradesh, within the Vindhya mountain range of central India. It is a major tourist and archaeological site, as well as a UNESCO world heritage site. Khajuraho is renowned for its intricately sculptured temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Jain deities, and for the sexually explicit carvings that make up about 10% of the temple art. The temples are divided into three sections or zones – western, eastern and southern. The western complex is the largest of the three and comprises the most popular temples.

Most of the Khajuraho temples were built during the Chandela dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD and were in active use through the end of 12th century. This changed in the 13th century, after the army of Delhi Sultanate, under the command of the Muslim Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak, attacked and seized the Chandela kingdom. The region remained under the control of various Muslim dynasties from 13th century through the 18th century, and during this period, several temples were desecrated and many others left in neglect. Of the surviving temples, six are dedicated to Shiva and his consorts, eight to Vishnu and his affinities, one to Ganesha, one to Sun god, and three to Jain Tirthanks.

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