Dadu Aur Madak
Erotica of Khajuraho

There are almost as many explanations of the sexually explicit images at Khajuraho as there are images themselves. They range from appeasement of gods, to being a sort of sex manual for male novitiates. Take your pick. The one I find most plausible is that they are Tantric images. This was sort of a form of mysticism (some say cult) that, among other things preached gratification of the self. They believed in a yin yang sort of relationship between the physical pleasures of bhoga and yoga's excercise of the spirit. The one that I like the best is that some of the older most experienced carvers, after many years of long days working as well as teaching their craft would become bored, and they would indulge their own ribald sense of humor. Whatever the reason, the work is exquisite. Some of it has been damaged and displays the occasional loss of limbs and other appendages. Whether this damage is the work of more prudish generations or souvenir takers is unclear. Another mystery is why so many of the images appear grouped together in one area of the temple. On the Lakshmana temple one such area takes on orgiastic dimensions as witnessed in the first two images below.



Other groupings like the one above and the two below are somewhat more intimate.


All of them display an unselfconscious willingness to perform in front of helpers and onlookers.


Even the animals seem to enjoy sharing in an unbridled celebration of sexual expression. (above and below)