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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the statues and carvings of Khajuraho famous for?

Kapil Gumasta DEC 10 2012
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Think Khajuraho and you're probably thinking about the widely renowned, intricately carved statues and sculptures. But you're probably also wondering as to why these statues and carvings are so famous. Here's a little peek into the history and importance of these artistic remains of a vibrant cultural past:

  • History: Built alongwith the temples here, these are an intricate part of the monuments of Khajuraho, preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India and recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These carvings, as do the temples, were built by the Chandela kings between 950 and 1100 CE.

  • Architecture: These carvings and statues exist throughout the temple buildings, gracing their inner and outer walls almost completely. Intricately sculpted, they depict the beauty of the human form in all its glory, similar to Greek statues and sculptures in their detailing. The statues depict deities, their attendants, demi-gods and humans, in order of their divine superiority, where the shrine is the epicentre of this hierarchy.

  • Themes: The statues and carvings here at Khajuraho have been most commonly associated with erotic imagery, sometimes scandalous to an average Indian's consciousness. It is often believed that these carvings and statues depict sexual intercourse between deities, but that is not the case. The carvings portray the average human life, in all its activities, at various stages - almost as a celebration of life itself. The statues show women putting on make-up or shringar, men and women dancing, potters, farmers, etc, other than the obvious erotic images which are woven in with this average village depiction. The erotic element also arises from the fertility cult that both the Hindu and Jain religions subscribe to. Another common myth associated with these statues and carvings is that these are a visual representation of the Kama Sutra, which is again, not true.

Whatever may be your area of interest, these carvings and statues are sure to mesmerise you. The audio guide (available at a fee) is a great way to know more about these sculptures, which are visually so rich that you'll feel they would come to life any moment. Come, explore, be enlightened and take home a wealth of memories.

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