The intense sexual activity chiseled into these stone temples has over the decades, it seems, warped even the temple lightening rod. In order that it not warp my readers I present samples of the highest quality erotic art, rather than the most shocking. (Do your own internet search for the latter.) All the photos that follow are of the finest temple in Khajuraho—Lakshmana Temple built in the year 950 AD for worship of the god Vishnu. [click on any of the images to enter a gallery of full-sized images.]
Inside the temple a stone maiden (middle figure), with a sidelong glance, looks into a hand held mirror at her finely chiseled features as contentedly as she did a thousand years ago. Those of us not made of stone don’t last so long.
A Hindu woman bows, at the entrance to the temple's inner sanctum, before the image of Vishnu surrounded by his 10 incarnations.
A tourist bows before the central section of erotic carvings on the western side of the temples. The guides talk about the tantric symbolism of these couplings.
The flowing lines of these central images do lead themselves to the speculation that the images in this location represent tantric ideals.
There are also not so symbolic images of folks just doing it tucked into the corners, as a young man points out here, throughout the temple. Some guidebooks say that the erotic sculptures are all on the exterior of temple. This isn't true. Its just so dark inside that few see what is hidden in the interior corners.
This vignette, also pointed out to me by a young Hindi male, might be the most engaging of these corner images—at least the surrounding figures (including the elephant) seem as interested as the flock of Japanese tourists that were poking me and probably cursing me while I shot this scene from several slightly different viewpoints.
The temple builders were as focused on the everyday as they were with the ideal. On the outside base of the temple, especially, there are carvings of many everyday activities like soldiering.
The percentage of the temple carvings that are actually erotic in nature is for some reason smaller than this presentation or the memories of many tourists would lead one to believe.