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Photographer's Note

What led the builders of Khajuraho to indulge in such a carnal celebration?

The Experts agree that the ancient Hindus viewed sex without any embarrassment and that sringara or the erotic has always been the essential emotion in all

Indian art, they were never so obsessed with it as to negate all other aspects of life.

"Its importance depended on the stage of life you were in, "As a grihastha or householder, kama (sex) and artha (money) were considered to be of prime importance. Just as learning was during brahmacharya (youth) and asceticism in sanyasa (old age)."

The beautiful artwork of these temples have gained the attention of the art lovers all over the world but the real purpose behind their construction is a mere guess work of the intellectuals.

These temples fire the imagination of the visitors with innumerable questions such as their significance and their position in the society, the reason behind using these temples as an art gallery, the whereabouts of the said kingdom and why only the temples have been found and there are no ruins of the mansions and palaces in the nearby area.

The graphic representation of sexual and erotic postures in a religious place is bewildering too.

However, if the myth it is to be believed, Khajuraho was known as 'Khajur-vahika' or 'Khajjurpura' in the ancient times because of its golden date palms (known as 'khajur') that lined the gates of this city. It has been mentioned in the Mahoba-khand of Chandbardai's (the famous medieval court poet) 'Prithviraj Raso' that Hemraj, the royal priest of Kashi (the old name for Varanasi), had an exceptionally beautiful daughter named Hemvati, who was unfortunately a child widow. One summer night, while she was bathing in a lotus-filled pond, the Moon God was so dazed by her beauty that he descended to earth in human form full of lust and passion and ravished her. Later, he repented when the distressed Hemvati threatened to curse him for ruining her honor and dignity and blessed her with a valiant son who would later become a king and build the temples of Khajuraho. Hemvati left her home and gave birth to a brave and strong boy child in the tiny village of Khajjurpura. The child was named Chandravarman and it is said that by the time he was 16 years old, the glorious boy was strong and skilled enough to kill tigers or lions with his bare hands. With the blessings of the Moon God, his father he became a mighty king and built the fortress at Kalinjar. Then heeding to his mother's wishes he built 85 legendary temples surrounded by lakes and gardens at Khajuraho and also performed the bhandya yagya, to wash away the sins of his mother.

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Additional Photos by pankaj bajpai (pankajbajpai) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 87 W: 3 N: 84] (376)
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