Khajurao: The city of Khajurao is the legacy of the Chandella Dynasty. King Yasovarman began the era of temple construction around 930-1050 AD. Eighty five temple were built out of which twenty two still exist today with the rest been destroyed by natural causes. The murals and statues depict scenes from hunting, feasting and dancing to the sensual and the erotic.
The temples were lost to modern civilization until 1838 when Capt. T. S. Burt, a British engineer, re-discovered them.
The temples have been laid out in three different regions: East, West, and South. The most exquisite and most numerous (14 in all) are in the Western group. The Eastern group has six temples three of which are comparatively new Jain temples, and the Southern group consists of two temples.
The patient hands of the craftsmen have transformed even the mundane to excellence, depicting a maiden stretching her limbs in the morning, another wringing water out of her hair after a bath, and a surasundari taking out a thorn out of the sole of her foot. Such detail in these sculptures, like the depiction of strained muscles and cuts on the calf muscles or the biceps is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Besides erotic sculptures there are court scenes and scenes of battle and advice to the citizens of the kingdom. See the Chausat Yogini [64 sorceresses] temple said to be haunted after dark.
The depiction of uninhibited sex hints towards a liberated society in yesteryear. There are a variety of theories as to why there is such graphic depiction: to prepare young men who had lived in hermitages in abstinence for worldly duties; to gratify kings as simple graphics; sexual education for the masses as they visited the temples; to attract the masses to the sculptors and then enter the temples; as a test for the individual seeking attainment – should he be attracted to sex then he was not ready. The theories abound. It is certain however, that the temples represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. Such depiction of sex forms only a small fraction of all the carvings at Khajuraho.