Varanasi may be the present City of Shiva (Shivpuri), but Khajuraho was also once known as Shivpuri, the city that celebrated the marriage of Shiva, goddess of creative and destructive energy, to Parvati as depicted by intricately carved erotic temples now dedicated as a World Heritage site. India is an ancient civilization resplendent with many myths and the birthplace of many religions that have been transported across the world. It’s a fascinating country filled with unending stories.
In Khajuraho, these temples were discovered in a dense jungle by a British engineer in 1819 and upon excavation and research; it was revealed that the creators of these remarkable temples were the legacy of the Chandella dynasty of Rajput origin during the 10th and 11th centuries.
Although the temples are renowned for the eroticism of its sculptures, there are many other sculptural scenes depicting Buddhism, Jainism, sun worship and animistic cults. In fact, the best time to visit these temples is at sunrise and sunset which magnifies a soft, reddish hue of light bathe the sculpted figures and friezes. It’s recommended to take some time and look carefully at the carvings of the marriage processions, domestic scenes of the deities, along with musicians and dancers celebrating life.
According to Hindu legend, in order to reach the celestial realm or nirvana, or the highest spiritual experience, it is done through utilizing all the senses during lovemaking physically, mentally and spiritually. At these temples, one witnesses Kama, the pursuit of pleasure, by the union of the divine Shiva and Parvati illustrating the importance of the creation of life. The pursuit of pleasure to seek deliverance was considered a legitimate aim then and now.
Perhaps the overarching message of this visit is quite simple: Make love not war!