They are exquisite temples with some of the finest temples arts in the world. They are built as a place where Gods love to play. They are well-admired for their intricately carved statues of  Hindu gods, deities, mythological beings and ordinary humans, but it is for their erotic sculptures that they are more famous for.

Erotism in religious temples? We were just as intrigued as you.

Khajuraho Laksmana Temple, India

The Laksmana Temple

Khajuraho, located right in the heart of Central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is a home to the temple complex built by the Chandela Dynasty in the mid-10th & 11th centuries.

The Chandela dynasty fell to Muslim invaders after its 500 years rule, and this religious center of Khajuraho was abandoned but escaped destruction due to its forested isolation.

Of the 85 temples believed to have been built 20 of them withstood time, mostly in splendid condition. The site was rediscovered by a British military surveryor in 1838. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stone carvings in Khajuraho Temples, InidaThese are some of the exquisite carvings in Laksmana Temple, the oldest of the temples and  dedicated to Lord Vishnu.  Like most temples, they depict riotous processions of Gods and deities, domestic scenes, nymphs, musicians, dancers, animals, etc. They are very fluid and full of movements.

Kandariya Mahadeva TempleThe Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the largest and is said to be the finest among the Khajuraho temples for its architecture.

Details in Kandariya Mahadeva TempleWe were in awe of the delicate and sublime carvings of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. It is a great glimpse to the artistic skills of the medieval India.

Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho, InidaThe beautiful Chitragupta Temple is dedicated to the Sun god and is constructed facing the rising sun.

Carvings in Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho, InidaChitragupta Temple is the most finely decorated among the temples.

The Visvanath Temple, Khajuraho, IndiaThe Visvanath Temple is another magnificent structure that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Like most temples, its spectacular carvings depict all aspects of life but it is known for the delicate sculptures of copulating couples, sensuous nymps, etc.

While only 10% of Khajuraho carvings depict erotism, it is enough to leave a “blushing” impression even to the least prude, as it is not often that we equate divinity with erotica.

Erotic Sculptures in Khajuraho Temples, India

Some of the “mildly”erotic carvings in Khajuraho temples.

Apparently, the Chandela Kings were influenced by the Tantric school of thoughts and they promoted Tantric doctrines in their temples. It is said that the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho were created  to honor the marriage of Lord Shiva to Parvati. They portray the consummation of marriage and the highest possible spiritual experience through the union. 

The Kandariya and Chitragupta Temples

The Kandariya and Chitragupta Temples

Locals visiting Khajurano Temples, India

Locals visiting the temples to worship.

Locals walking by Parvati Temple

People walking aloneg Parvati Temple.

We recommend a visit to Khajuraho if you’re traveling in northern India. It may be quite a trek from most major cities, but it will be worth your while.  On how to reach Khajuraho, click here.


Linking to Travel Photo Thursday, The Weekly Postcard and Weekend Travel Inspirations.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

42 responses to “The Temples of Khajuraho

  1. Fascinating. I have never heard of this temple but it definitely seems to be worth a visit. I am just dying to go to India :)
    Erica Baker recently posted..Hospitals of GuyanaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Erica, it truly is fascinating and worth a visit, I hope you make it India soon. You and your camera will have a field day.

  2. Katie

    Gorgeous shots of the temples, I’m surprised they are in such pristine condition. Such intricate decorations. on all of them. I was hoping to go to India this year, but it’s looking less and less likely. At least I have you posts to check out instead! :)
    Katie recently posted..Connecting with Nature in the Hills of BaliMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Katie, thanks! Yes, they’re amazingly in great conditions. I hope your India trip will happen soon.

  3. Gorgeous shots as always! And that carving and design. . .to think they could do it and not have modern-day tools, computers etc. always boggles my mind. And if I think about it long enough I sometimes wonder if we are advancing societies with all these techno tools or perhaps putting skills and talents of people on the back burners in the name of progress (how was that for a comment 😉 way too much thinking for me at this early hour!)
    Jackie Smith recently posted..In Scottsdale ~ ‘Tis the Season. . .almost!My Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jackie, minds are sharpest in the early hours I believe:) I actually have the same thought as you even at this late hours. I also wonder why people at this day and age don’t create this kind of genius creativity anymore. Well, I guess creative priorities and forms have evolved and those age old creativity will remain treasures from the past.

  4. The carvings are exquisite indeed. And the design of the temple is simply fascinating.
    Photo Cache recently posted..Tahoe City SunsetMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Maria, it’s one of the most exquisite we have seen. Truly fascinating.

  5. Mike

    Wow, I guess if wanted a “hot night on the town” that was the place to be! :) Kidding of course! What an intriguing combination of spirituality, eroticism and religion. I absolutely love that you included the pictures showing the intricate art work, Marisol. It blows me away that they were able to construct and craft that to such detail and it was 1,000 years ago! Great post :)
    Mike recently posted..On Board The ‘Star of Kenmare’My Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mike, I know, it;s more the 1,poo years old!! I’m wondering if anyone at this day and age can replicate that manual creativity. Everyone seems to be into technological creativity. I guess that what makes this temple super special, because no one would dare create such splendor by hand anyone at that magnitude anymore.

  6. These temples are exquisite and the carvings in them even more so. This is another wonderful place that you have bought to us all the way from India. Thank you :)
    Kathy Marris recently posted..Dragons in the Sea – Ha Long BayMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Kathy, our pleasure.

  7. Haha, a blushing impression, indeed!;-) Love that! Also very cool to see the locals go there to worship…I feel like most of the temples we went to in SE Asia were filled with tourists and very little locals.
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..Three YearsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jess, thanks! There are a lot of temples in SE Asia that are considered ruins and not working temples, as such they only attract tourists. But it’s really wonderful to visit the temples that are still use for worship and be inspired by the dedication and faith by the local devotees.
      Marisol recently posted..The Temples of KhajurahoMy Profile

  8. I think its a shame to know travel to the Far East at least once in your life. the detail and creativity of complexes like this are mind boggling. And it really changes your view of the world to see them.
    eileen @ FamiliesGo! recently posted..MOMtravelchat: Our NYC Holiday Hit ListMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Eileen, I second your opinion that people should travel to the Far East at least once. The cultures are profoundly fascinating and can truly change ones perspective of the world.

  9. The carvings on these temples are absolutely astounding! I thought that the temples that we visited at Angkor Wat were probably the finest ones that world had to offer, but I’m thinking these could give them a run for their money. Just incredible!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Mini Budget Breakdown: Paris Travel CostsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Steph, I forgot to mention in the post that these temples are actually older than Angkor Wat. and, yes, can it a good run for its money.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Catherine,. They truly are amazing.

  10. Such beautiful carvings and fascinating too. I’ve seen erotic carvings at a temple in India, I think it was a Jain temple in Ranekpur but I may be confusing it with somewhere else…it was 19 years ago! I certainly haven’t been to this place but I’d love too. It’s high time I went back to India. Thanks for sharing this lovely place.
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted..Christmas traditions in Provence – SantonsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Phoebe, this temple is actually worshipped not only by Hindus but by Jains, too. so I’m not surprised if you had seen similar carvings in a Jain temple. I hope you get to go back to India soon.
      Marisol recently posted..The Temples of KhajurahoMy Profile

  11. Anda

    Very interesting report about the Temples of Khajuraho. I love the exquisite and intricate art work depicting erotic scenes. It seems a little weird to see such scenes on the roof of a temple though. I understand the symbolistic, but from our culture’s perspective they are very daring. You’ve got an excellent light and your pictures are extremely clear and nice. Great post, Marisol.

  12. Nsncie

    Hi Marisol. I would definitely travel to see this temple. The carvings are beautiful. Do you know if any of them have been restored.? They look to be in pristine condition. The erotic carvings are definitely a bit of a surprise! Thanks for linking up this week, and adding our new badge to your post; much appreciated! #TPThursday
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  13. The clarity of the carvings is as if they were made recently. Amazing that they have survived so well. It is definitely the best carvings I have seen in any temple.
    budget jan recently posted..Where to stay in KyotoMy Profile

  14. Bama

    It’s very intriguing to see in a rather conservative Indian society some ‘erotic’ temples stand gloriously, spared from the demise of the dynasty who built it. Speaking of which, I can’t help but to think of an erotic temple I visited in Java more than two years ago:

    It seems like the weather was perfect when you went, Marisol. Great photos!
    Bama recently posted..A Mother’s TroubleMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, it truly is shocking considering that even kissing in public is frown upon in India’s present society. Thanks for sharing the link! It’s interesting that the ancient society were more open than us today.

    • Marisol

      Hi Bob, we were toldd that tantric styles are actualy acrobatic by nature:)

  15. Corinne

    Marisol, I have heard of these temples, but alas, have not made it to that part of India. I love the intricate carvings. I think it would take hours to really take them all in. Yes, some are a bit blush-worthy! Thanks for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration!
    Corinne recently posted..Geo-thermal IcelandMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Corinne, my pleasure. It’s good to allot half a day in the temple. I hope you get to visit it next time you’re in India and yes prepare to blush:)

    • Marisol

      Hi Vlad, you should them in person. It’s much more fascinating than what we can capture.

  16. The carvings are so intricate. By any chance do you know how long it took to complete the temples?
    Rachael@safari254 recently posted..Kerio View HotelMy Profile

  17. lolit

    Temples are finely designed…fine architecture and structurally stable to stand a test of time. Sculptural works are fascinating…vocal and likely more liberated than we are today….

  18. Linda

    Fascinating post and beautiful photos! :)

  19. This looks impressive – I want to visit!
    It’s so surprising to see erotic carvings in these cultures

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