What could be the possible reasons of sculpting the erotic images at Khajauraho?

By the time of prominence of Chandelas, the Indian temple form had fully developed. The objective of the temple was that a devotee comes to it with the aspiration of the self-transcendence and to receive the grace of the deity in the garbha-griha.
The devotee comes to the temple to awaken the best of them within themselves and to realize the whole creation of the world is the manifestation of the deity in the garbha-griha. This was to realise the truth of the oneness of the whole creation.
While visiting the temple, as the devotee circumambulated the temple, he / she would come across those worldly figures which were familiar to him. He would come across all the manifestation of the divine reality. Each sculpture gives its own message and all of them together create a vision of the cosmos, whose everyone is a part.
Thus, the temple at Khajuraho was a complex form in which the numerous parts were seen as the manifestation of the deity’s creation. Every sculpture is beautiful in its own place, but everyone has its related and own meaning in context with the deity within the garbha-griha.
At the same time, some believe that the erotic art suggest tantric sexual practices. Its worth noting that only 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes and rest of the sculptures depict the everyday life of the common persons such as women putting on makeup, playing games, dancing, knotting and unknotting their girdles, and others themes such as musicians, potters, farmers etc. Thus, these massive platforms have ornately carved depictions of contemporary life. On the walls of the temples of Khajuraho, there is a profusion of depictions of women in every possible posture. As in ancient stupa railings and in later art, they portray the rich abundance of nature and the joy of life as Yakshikas and Mithunas; this depiction reaches at its climax at Khajuraho!

Question for UPSC Mains:
What could be the possible reasons of sculpting the erotic images at Khajauraho?

Published: May 1, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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