Don’t judge a temple by its carvings
– Ciara Longman
The temples in Khajuraho are frowned upon by most Indians, because of the erotic carvings. Little do they know, there really is something about Khajuraho! This sacred location inspires your imagination, activates change and has a powerful effect on those who stay for longer. If you scratch beneath the surface of this area and spend some time here, you won’t regret it.
It isn’t by chance that the temples were built here. Khajuraho is indeed, a very special area because it is situated within a great circle alignment of sacred sites which circumnavigate the planet. This alignment was originally described by Jim Alison. Intriguingly, this is a curved line in the shape of a sine wave which spans the circumference of the planet. I’ve plotted the sites on GoogleMaps, so that you can visualise the sine wave.
Many well known ancient sites lie on this great circle including; Easter Island, Nazca, Ollantaytambo, Paratoari, Tassili n’Ajjer in Algeria and the Giza pyramids. Khajuraho and some other sites are located within the active zone of the alignment, which is one-tenth of one degree from the line. Sites within the active zone include Petra; Persepolis; Bodh Gaya; Pyay in Burma and Sukhothai. The Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment occurred at Bodh Gaya which is located directly to the east of Khajuraho.
Of course, there are many ancient sites across the world. However, it is curious that these sites form a sine wave. The geology at any given site is important. This is because the crystalline structure of the minerals in the rocks, as well as man-made stone features which are built on the site, interact with and in some cases magnifies the earth energy. Maybe you’ve felt this if you’ve laid in the centre of an ancient stone circle or stood at the top of a pyramid-shaped quartzite mountain, where the energy converges which can induce mystical experiences. A phenomenon that happened to Saint Patrick on the mountain Croagh Patrick in Ireland. The early temples at Khajuraho including the Chausath Yogini temple, were made from granite which contains small amounts of quartz. The later temples were made from sandstone.
It is also fair to assume that after centuries or millennia of ceremonial activity at a site, energy does accumulate. So what you may feel today is a combination of both the energetic location and the continued prayers/ceremonial use at the site.
Picture: The Chausath Yogini temple made from granite
The Kandariya Mahadeva temple made from sandstone
Even if you think you’re not sensitive to energies, you will be pleasantly surprised. Khajuraho evokes a wonderful inspirational energy which is aligned with the sacral chakra You may be inspired by people you meet or come up with ideas, projects, writing and creative activities, all of which are birthed through the sacral chakra. The energy here is also conducive to meditation and there are some superb spots for meditating which are situated away from the sightseeing herd.
The second oldest temple to the east of the main group of temples built on an outcrop of granite, is the Lalguan Mahadev Temple. This temple is dedicated to Shiva and facing west. It is a great place for quiet and meditation located in an agricultural field. The plan of this temple is similar to the granite Brahma temple and contains a Shiva Lingam, (it is most likely originally devoted to Shiva. Interestingly), the Brahma, Lalguan Mahadev and Chausath Yogini temples all lie exactly on the sine wave of sacred sites.
The sacral chakra energy is both creative and sexual. The sexual energy present in this area is intense and wild. It’s no wonder then, that this was a major tantric centre for centuries here. The sacral sexual energy felt in this location is strong. If you visit here, caution should be exercised. If you haven’t worked with your sexual desire and attraction demons before, you’re in for a surprise.
It is important to understand that most of the tantric teachings do not refer to sexuality. Tantra consists of two paths; the left hand path and the right hand path. The left hand path seeks liberation through the mastery of 5 elements; alcohol, meat, fish, grain and intercourse. These elements are symbolic in the right hand path which involves an ascetic approach. The cult of the Chausath Yoginis are reported to have practiced the left hand path. Each of the sixty four Yoginis are essentially manifestations of the Great Goddess. There are sixty four practical techniques (kriyas) for transformation that correspond with Yogini energies in nature. The guardian at the Chausath Yogini temple told me that the cult emerged from nature spirits worshipped by ancient tribal people.
The Chandela kings between the 9th and 12th centuries commissioned the temples at Khajuraho as a statement of power. The temple sculptures are beautiful and the erotic scenes only account for 10% of the sculptures. The rest of the sculptures take you a journey of everyday medieval life. It is without a doubt that the sculptural talent is outstanding and viewing this work can stir all kinds of feelings within you. If you allow time to stand still whilst observing, the frozen figures pulsate with life force. The Sura Sundaris (heavenly nymphs) were the epitome of Indian beauty; voluptuous, thin waisted, broad hipped, with doe eyes and full lips.
Picture: Sura Sundari checking her feet
There are plenty of beautiful curvaceous Goddesses and skilfully carved Sura Sundaris with bejewelled bodies and the illusion of graceful movement of their bodies is quite remarkable. Some scenes show wonderfully devotional lovers called Mithunas entangled in each other’s souls, their gazes appear eternal. The adoration between them is quite palpable.
Picture: Adoring gaze
Picture: Statue of Vamana the avatar incarnation of Vishnu
Situated with in the eastern area of Khajuraho are relics of ancient Jain temples. Jainism was established in India in the 6th century and the spiritual goal of Jainism is to become liberated from the endless cycle of rebirth and to achieve an all-knowing state called moksha. This can be attained by living a nonviolent life, called ahimsa, with as little negative impact on other life forms as possible. The Shanthinath Museum in the eastern complex of temples hosts a great number of beautiful Jain sculptures.
Khajuraho is located in the state of Madya Pradesh; in the heart of India. There are daily flights and trains from Delhi and Varanasi.
Find out more in the Conscious Guide to Khajuraho available on Amazon Kindle.