Sculptures from Khajuraho

 

 

The ancient Indian sculptures from Khajuraho are renowned for rare beauty and awe-inspiring artistry. In fact, the serene town of Khajuraho has the best sculpture and medieval temples in India. Located in the state of Maharashtra, Khajuraho is known all over the world for its erotic sculptures. These sculptures are also one of the greatest tourist attractions of the state.

The temples were built out of sandstone and adorned with the graceful curved of the stone sculptures of unparallel beauty. The temples were created by the Chandela rulers in the Indo-Aryan style. Originally there had been 85 temples, out of which only 22 survive today. The site was forgotten for centuries before it was rediscovered in 1838.

The remnants of the temples and their unique sculptures were restored and today they attract a large number of visitors and art aficionados from all over the globe. The sculptures of Khajuraho include statues of gods and goddesses, warriors, celestial dancers and animals, besides those of couples in erotic poses. The Hindu philosophy of Yoga (meditation) and Bhoga (physical pleasure), the two paths leading to final liberation, seem to be the underlying theme of these sculptures. All life was seen as an expression of divinity, including human love. The union between man and woman was viewed as the culmination of devotion, symbolic of the union of the devotee with god and divinity.

Falling in line with all the other ancient religions of the world, these sculptures too celebrate the sacred union of the male and the female – the Yin and the Yang. The erotic sculptures depict human beings in the act of making love and thereby reaching the final union of two opposite yet complementary forces of nature that is creative origin of all. The other sculptures in these temples depict the daily lives of the people in the 10th and 11th centuries AD.

Two of the most famous temples at Khajuraho are the Lakshmana Temple and the Kandariya Mahadeva temple. The latter is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a shikhara or spire that is 38 meters high. Of the many statues found in this temple, the most fascinating is that of an ascetic performing the shirshasan (a yogic posture where the yogi balances himself on his head). The temples of Khajuraho display a wealth of sculptural beauty, evoking the grandeur of the snow-capped Himalayas as well as the earthly pleasures of life. They also testify to the unparallel skill and perfection of Indian sculptors and artists.