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Must-visit in India: Kamasutra temples in Khajuraho

January 4, 2011

We were unprepared.

We did prepare for the amazing Taj Mahal in Agra.

Taj Mahal, India

We did prepare for the ghats on the shores of the Ganges in Varanasi.

Ghats in Varanasi, seen from the Ganges

In the time between these two places we thought we would be winding down a bit, just traveling from one place to another.

Then we stopped for the night and visited the Khajuraho temples next morning. This post is about how we felt visiting this unique place.

Khajuraho village

Khajuraho, undiscovered territory in the heart of India, 600 kilometers southeast of New Delhi. Many hours by car from Agra (Taj Mahal) and Varanasi (Ganges). Where summer temperatures can reach unbearable heights of 50°C or 122°F. Where grasshoppers take over the town after sunset (really, they jump on you while eating in a restaurant!). Khajuraho village is a place you do not accidentally visit as a traveler, not without a purpose.

Pleasantly surprised

Honest to say we did not read about the Khajuraho temples before our trip to India in 1998. It entailed so many famous highlights already, we forgot to prepare for the Kamasutra temples.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised during your travels? You just suddenly come across a marvelous place, a place you didn’t know about on beforehand. This was such a place.

Entering the temple grounds

You enter the Khajuraho temple grounds. A clear blue sky, with temples pointing up in the air. Proud, bold, energetic. Like spaceships that landed centuries ago, waiting for a sign from outer space to return.

Khajuraho monument

You walk the grounds and see one temple after another appear. Astonished by their appearance you slowly come closer. And then you discover another reason why these temples are so popular (and why they are called Kamasutra temples or temples of love).

Khajuraho, India

The temples contain beautifully carved sculptures. People and animals. Warriors and musicians. Man and female. Creative.

There is more to see than erotic sculptures alone, but the erotic ones have transformed Khajuraho into a popular travel destination.

Kamasutra at Khajuraho

Khajuraho: scenes from the Kama Sutra

Spiritual liberation

Without shame you can explore the erotic positions of couples, threesomes or foursomes. Is it pornography or art?

The Khajuraho temples were built around the year 1000 and to me are of extraordinary beauty. Today they are listed as an Unesco World Heritage and are considered as one of the “seven wonders” of India. In total 85 temples were built in the rather short time of 100 years. Only 22 survived the ravages of time.

Restauration in Khajuraho

The temples make you feel you’re out of this world, but the uncensored erotic scenes bring you back to earth. Firm on the ground.

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10 Comments
  1. I’m jealous of your trip toIndia!

  2. Though I live in India for 5 years already… and my life there has been tattooed with serendipity moments… I must admit I haven’t seen Khajuraho temples. After seeing your photos… let’s just say I added one more thing to my ‘to do’ list. Thanks

  3. you are so fortunate to go there! It’s been on my list for a long time and I never managed it. I have to say your photos are pretty amazing! That one of all the people on the bank of the water sent chills up my spine. You have a good eye for getting evocative shots.

    • Emiel permalink

      Thank you Mary. Please keep it on your list of places to visit, it’s impressive and will change the way you look at life. I love photography and I am happy to hear my pictures do make an impact!

  4. Wow…absolutely amazing. Sounds like such a great experience. Thanks for letting us see Khajuraho through your eyes.

  5. GORGEOUS. I love these pictures, they’re breathtaking!

  6. Wow, I never knew there was a temple dedicated to the Kama Sutra! Looks interesting – but tell me – did you go there with children? I am sure they had lots of interesting questions after the visit… I know mine would’ve done! Very nice post!

    • Dear Vibeke,
      This travel to India was back in 1998, before our children were born. I can surely imagine they would have a lot of questions 🙂
      We want to go back to India with our children for sure, but they have to be a bit older. At least that’s what we believe. Thanks for your comment.

  7. India is a religious land. Ever since the dawn of civilization, India has been the birthplace of many religions. Being so, the country boasts of a lot of pilgrim destinations within its precincts. Rich in mythology, it has a number of temples, mosques, monasteries, churches and gurdwaras, which attract lakhs of devotees every year.

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