Monday, May 02, 2005

Sex. Not that I'm getting any of it.

The temples of Khajuraho were constructed some time during the tenth to twelth centuries, and of the orignal eighty-odd structures, twenty two survive today. Scholars claim that the excellent condition of the temples is the result of being built far from anywhere (yep, I got that feeling from the bus ride). As such, when the Islamic marauders came, they didn't spot the temples and thus couldn't destroy the sculptures. So now I get to see them too.

The sculptured details in stone cover every conceivable surface of the temples. People going about their everyday business - bathing, talking, caressing, reading a letter, fornicating with a horse. That kind of thing.

Sure, sex isn't the only sculptural theme on the temples. But it is certainly the one that attracts the most attention (well, most of my attention). There appear to be two theories regarding the erotica. One is that this was part of daily life, and that in a less repressed time the temples would been a life's mode d'emploi for pilgrims and visitors. The second theory is that the temples were consecrated for a deity whose name now escapes me, but who was a sleazy type and would never allow the temples to be destroyed and so remove his source of pleasure.

I cannot imagine a time when Indians weren't sexually repressed, so theory one is out the door. But all Indian men are sleazy and obsessed with sex - like a thirteen year old who has just discovered the Internet. My vote's for theory number two.

Khajuraho is astounding, and beyond my crassness I really wish I had the kind of faith that could make me believe that God exists. The dedication that goes into Indian temples (like European cathedrals) takes a understanding or acceptance of the unknown that I cannot possess. But I've had my dose of temples and forts.

Time for a return journey. Really looking forward to that ...

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