India, also renowned as the land of Kamasutra’s origin has always been a matter of interest among various researchers and historians all around the world. There are many theories behind the strong erotic depiction in Hindu temples. While some say that it was the influence of the wealthy kingly class people, others differ saying it was because of the spread of Buddhism, the people were giving up on every worldly pleasure so to lure them back to the basic human needs and necessities, these sculptures were carved. Some claim it to be done for the sole purpose of sex education. Others beg to differ, saying that it was done to showcase the worldly pleasures that one needs to give up, to reach the inner sanctum of God. Nevertheless, these sculptures have been an integral part of Indian culture. However, other than the Khajuraho temples, we bring before you, 15 more temples in India depicting Kamasutra.
1/. Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneshwar
A temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Lord Shiva reflects a typical example of the Kalinga architecture, built in the Deula style. Said to be one of the oldest temple in Bhubaneshwar, some parts of this temple are over 1400 years old though the present structure dates back from 1090 to 1104 A.D. The temple, made out of red sandstone has a lot of animals as well as mythological carvings alongside erotic Kamasutra postures. With all the architectural wonders, the temple has been attracting thousands of pilgrims and visitors to its doorsteps.
2/. Sun Temple, Konark
This 13th-century temple is yet another example of the Kalinga architecture. The temple with twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels was also known as the Black Pagoda to the European sailors and, was conceived as a huge and colossal chariot drawn by a team of seven horses depicted in the galloping mode. The temple is well renowned for many of the erotic sculptures on the temple wall, also known for ‘Maithunas’, which was a form of artwork famous in those days. Though the Britishers termed it as ‘most beautiful and yet the most obscene’, it is indeed an outstanding example of medieval Orissan architecture and romantic art.
3/. Osian, Rajasthan
Talking about the erotic sculptures with bold postures, way back then, it wasn’t just limited to the Hindu temples as we can also see the trace of it in the Osian Jain temple. It has basically a cluster of Hindu and Jain temples, where the sculptures show that sex was treated as one of the worldly pleasure and was not looked down upon. This architectural wonder, dating back to the 11 Century A.D, is indeed a must see for its artwork.
4/. Virupaksha Temple, Karnataka
Yet another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, is as old as 7th century A.D. This temple is well renowned for an eye-catching sculpture of a woman, being watched by other men and women. The love for art flourished in this area during the 14th century, under the rule of the Vijayanagara kings, but it was destroyed during the Muslim invasion. Nevertheless, it is one of the major pilgrimage centers at Hampi today.
5/. Chennakesava Temple, Somanathapura
This 13th Century Hoysala architectural wonder has a three shrine structure, dedicated to three different forms of Lord Vishnu and is known for the decorative sculpture. The Hoysala sculptures do not exhibit much of erotic sculptures yet they do not avoid its existence as such. Thus, most of them may be small in size and in lesser noticed places. Many of the nude representations were also associated with Shakta practices.
6/. Kailasa, Ellora
The monolithic structure in this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is designed to resemble Mount Kailasa, the abode to the Lord. It is believed to be constructed in between 757-783 CE. This outstanding example of Dravidian architecture, other than being the world’s tallest monolith, carved out of a single stone, also houses mithunas (erotic male and female figures).
7/. Ranakpur, Rajasthan
Yet another Jain temple, dedicated to the First Jain Tirthankara Adinath, is situated close to Udaipur. Over 1,444 intricately carved marble pillars hold up the temple and a monolithic marble rock depicting over 100 snakes, is indeed one of the major attraction of the temple. This white marble temple complex, rising out of the forest, is simply breathtaking and totally worth 65 years; the time taken to build this temple. Outside the temple, there are some erotic sculptures dedicated to the sun God.
8/. Nanda Devi Temple, Almora
A temple dedicated to Nanda Devi, in the valley of flowers, was built in the modern Nagara style of architecture. The outer walls of the temple are well known for the stone carvings of various animals, flowers and also men and women in the intimate position. Here the human figures represent Yogis with Rudraksha beads in hand, kings, dancers & musicians, and some others with local mythological or historical connections.
9/. Markandeshwar, Maharashtra
This is yet another place of interest as the temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to have constructed overnight by the Danavas or the evil forces. A sculpture depicting a couple performing ‘fellacio’ will leave you astonished. Built in the Hemadpanth architectural style, it attracts a large number of tourists, especially during the Mahashivaratri festival.
10/. Padawali, Madhya Pradesh
Earlier infamous for dacoit, Padawali, is actually an old Vishnu temple later was named into Garhi. Built by the Pratihara dynasty of the 10th century A.D, the temple is also renowned as ‘Mini Khajuraho’ because of the miniature erotic sculptures. The sandstone carvings here, are of eternal beauty, depicting Surya, the sun god, riding a chariot drawn by seven horses and holding sunflowers in his hands; Dasavatara, the 10 incarnations of Vishnu; erotic sculptures; scenes from Krishna’s life, Krishna fighting the bull Kesi, and Devaki suckling infant Krishna; and Siva flanked by four-headed Brahma and Vishnu holding a conch, a chakra, a gadha (club) and a padma (lotus) in his four hands; and Vishnu seated on Garuda.
11/. Mandwa Mahal, Chattisgarh
The Mandwa Mahal is yet another architectural wonder, dedicated to Lord Shiva, located near Bhoramdeo temple. Nagavanshi emperor Ramchandra Deohas built it in 1349 A.D. However the temple is infamous for the erotic sculptures, carved on the walls of the temple. It is believed to be crudely executed.
12/. Sun Temple, Gujarat
Built in the early 11th Century, the Sun temple Gujarat is believed to be the place where Lord Rama performed the Yajna to purify himself after killing the mighty Ravana. Though this temple is not functional today, you may see a lot of sexual acts depicted in the sculptures, as it was considered as one of the pure act to bring fertility. One of the most praised features of the temple is the perfectly designed Kama Kunda (water tank) where the reflection of the temple can be seen.
13/. Jagdish Mandir, Udaipur
Constructed in the year 1651, this three-storeyed temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is famous for the elaborate carvings. While the main structure inside the temple is of black stone, the remaining is made out of metals like brass. Like the other temples, the Jagdish Mandir also has erotic carvings outside the temple walls, symbolizing the worldly pleasures, as it is believed that a human needs to give up his worldly needs to have a nearness to God.
14/. Tripurantaka Temple, Karnataka
An 11th Century temple built by the Chalukyas is dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. The architecture of the temple highly reflects the Western Chalukyan style with all the parallel shrines, several erotic sculptors on friezes of the temple’s outer walls; which is not so common in the Chalukya Architectural style. Since it is very minute, it requires good observation and close examination.
15/. Bhoramdeo, Chattisgarh
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is a group of 4 temples, built with bricks and stones. It is believed that during the period when the temple was built, a practice of Tantrism and Occult were prevalent, making most of the sculptures related to occult sciences. Luckily because of its location, in between a dense forest, it hasn’t been a victim to the natural as well as destruction in the hands of the mankind.