India is perhaps better known for its temples and monuments than any other country in the world. While traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel on the Heart of India trip, weary travelers undertook a long train ride followed by a long bus ride along dry and dusty terrain without any real understanding of what the fuss was all about. Upon reaching the site they understood to be a temple complex, they were told quite plainly, “This is the heart of India.”
Khajuraho Temple is known for its wildly erotic carvings. It is part of a large complex of temples that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the temples themselves are shrines to those of the Hindu and Jains faith.
The temples were built between 950 and 1050, with as many as 85 temples on the site by the 12th century according to scholarly records. The monuments are located in the Madyha Pradesh, about 385 miles southeast of New Delhi. The temples are famous for their erotic or sexual carvings, which comprise about ten percent of the actual artwork both inside and outside, which is generally believed to really represent karma art in various aspects of everyday life. Basic Hindu values are represented in all these carvings. However the erotic carvings depicting Kama Sutra are unique in the world and worth a visit for any traveler to India.
Some of the temples have two layers of the artwork. Scholars are mixed as to the meaning of the erotic carvings, many feeling it was an integral part of the Hindu tradition, with karma being a major part of life. The temples remained under the control of several Muslim dynasties between the 13th and 18th centuries, with many being destroyed along the way. Of the surviving temples, six are dedicated to Shiva, 8 to Vishnu, with the remainder of the 21 devoted to a smattering of both Hindu and Jains deities.
After a visit to the temples, seeing the town of Khajuraho itself is a fascinating find in the middle of rural India. After experiencing the temple carvings up close, and upon leaving the complex, the traveler encounters musicians playing musical instruments typical of the region. As soon as this author experienced both the temple complex tour as well as the musicians, former Beatle George Harrison came to mind. It was suddenly easy to understand how he would think to incorporate Indian music with the modern popular music he was creating. The basic philosophy is the same. Just as the erotic carvings and the karma they represent permeate daily life, so does music. It is admittedly a bit of a stretch, but an enjoyable one, in a unique and totally unexpected visit in a mystical part of the world. For more information on this and their other India trips, contact Overseas Adventure Travel.