No offence, What do the sculptures of khajuraho and konark temples represent as they are too erotic(hope you understand,refer those pics once if not, westernized)?

Not just sculptures of khajuraho and konark temples but lot of other hindu temples have some fine art(erotic) on temples? what do they tell devotees? Why it was carved on temples.?

I know its natural thing, But why in holy place?(No offence please. My intention is not to offend anyone, But this was the question faced by lot of hindus from other religions).

  • The Idea to have erotic images/sculpture is to test how much one can stay focused on inner aspect of truth(beliefs in god) rather then getting distracted by outer lust. It also represents that before entering into temples, leave all your negative thoughts and distraction outside temple. Nov 12, 2014 at 18:51

4 Answers 4


N. Ramesan in The Tirumala Temple explains the idea behind those erotic scenes depicted in temple art:

Erotic Sculptures

These are erotic scenes shown in the sculptures in the Pratima mandapa. Such scenes are not unknown in temples. The shāstras lay down that Kāma is one of the purushārthas of life and the Vishnudharmottara which is a standard agamic text, specifically states that such erotic scenes should not be depicted in house-holds, but should be exhibited only in temples or in public places like King's darbars, courts, etc.

The idea in publicly portraying such scenes is based on the theory that for man, erotic ideas, cannot be eliminated from the human mind so long as he is limited, and that it is much better to face these temptations and mental fantasies squarely and surmount them and sublimate them, if one has to think of communion with the Lord. Such is the basis for the scenes for the temptaions offered by Mana to Gautama, the Buddha in buddhist sculptures.

As has been aptly stated by Kalidasa —

vikārahetau sati vikriyante yeṣāṁ na cetāṁsi ta eva dhīrāḥ

i.e., the 'dhira' or one whose mind is steady, can be defined as a person who remains immovable even when there is an excuse or provocation for mental disturbance in the mind.

Control over man's thoughts according to Hindu belief can never be obtained, by concealing what is so patent to human nature, or by shutting one's eye to it. Quite in consonance with modern principles of psychology, Hindu belief, has always held that it is much better to face a problem however unpleasant it may be, squarely, so that one may meet it headlong and get over it.

This is the basic idea of portraying such erotic scenes, not merely scenes of normal sex, but also scenes showing fantastic perversities also, since human mind limited as it is, always allows its imagination to delve or all possibilities of erotics.

Such sculptures are thus deliberately portrayed in the mandapams of all temples, so that when a devotee goes through them he is reminded of his own mental failings and weaknesses, and one tries to purge and cleanse his inner soul before going to the Lord with a pure heart. It is this purpose which erotic sculptures serve in the temples though this significance of them has been lost sight of in many attempts at explaining these in various other matters.

In consonance with the above which are quite common in all Hindu temples, such scenes are also found in the Pratima mandapa and show erotic scenes of both male and female figures, couples embracing each other, kissing each other in several plays of the love game; and also engaging themselves in normal and abnormal sex.

Of particular interest is Plate 12 (f) above, which shows in the same pillar an amorous couple on one face, and a Rishi standing on one leg and his hands raised and doing the penance on the other side, to show that the life is composed of both good, and bad and never wholly white or wholly black.


According to Wikipedia the erotic sculptures at khajuraho represent less than 10% of the sculptures. It says:

The relative layout of temples integrate masculine and feminine deities and symbols highlight the interdependence.[24] The art work symbolically highlight the four goals of life considered necessary and proper in Hinduism - dharma, kama, artha and moksha....

...The temples have a rich display of intricately carved statues. While they are famous for their erotic sculpture, sexual themes cover less than 10% of the temple sculpture.[29] Further, most erotic scene panels are neither prominent nor emphasized at the expense of the rest, rather they are in proportional balance with the non-sexual images.[30] The viewer has to look closely to find them, or be directed by a guide.[31] The arts cover numerous aspects of human life and values considered important in Hindu pantheon. Further, the images are arranged in a configuration to express central ideas of Hinduism. All three ideas from Agamas are richly expressed in Khajuraho temples - Avyakta, Vyaktavyakta and Vyakta.

To put one's focus on the erotic aspects at the expense of the total is tamasic.

  • As link to the website to erotic sculptures at khajuraho is missing, I had added in the answer please @SwamiVishwananda Jan 21, 2020 at 0:49

According to a study of erotic carvings in Hindu temples erotic sculptures serve the visitors to refresh the spirits by releasing suppressed feelings about sex when observing the sculptures on the temple:

These sexual images on the temple can serve as a means to yield cathartic feelings to the visitor who may feel better by releasing suppressed feelings about sex and sexuality when observing sexual images on the temples. From Tantrik perspectives, such sexual images serve as a stimulant messenger to convey the idea of creation, transformation, unity and harmony to the viewers. Moreover, these images teach the visitor to transcend the barrier of physical world by mastering sex and attain the blissful moment in the spiritual world through enlightenment.

Source: Arts for Peace


While agreeing to the answer of one member (@sv.), I am providing my answer below.

The Khajuraho temples feature a variety of artwork, of which 10% is sexual or erotic art outside and inside the temples.

We have to remember that Sex was never decried in the Veda or subsequent literature. Sex is but Natural to all living beings. And, to gratify sexual impulse is a part of progress in attaining heights of SPIRITUALITY.

So depiction of sculptures relating to sex, is to indicate this aspect only.

This is a GENERAL Rule.

Exceptions can be found in every generation, when a few people in view of their lack of interest in this subject, embraced SPIRITUAL practices right from their childhood, and attained heights in SPIRITUALITY.

Jada Bharata from the literature, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Ramana Maharshi, etc, are a few people that fall into the exception cases.

In Rig Veda I.179 (P.100), Lopamudra teaches Sage Agasthya the importance of fulfilling sexual desires.

Lopāmudrā teaches it to her husband who was inclined to asceticism. She says that even those ancients didn't find their end destination who, without their worldly responsibilities, just toiled and spoke the Ṛta.

They had to marry, they had to speak their experience, they had to live their life to find the meaning and to achieve the success.

Lopāmudrā says to her ascetically inclined husband that this way of invoking hardship on her by staying away from her doesn't make Agastya complete. He has to fulfill his life before thinking of achieving success in spiritual journey. Passion is responsible for synthesis and guilt is responsible for deconstruction. One who has understood the way to deconstruct and construct achieve the right plane of existence.

Agastya, on hearing the wise words of his wife, rebuilds the kāma in him and returns to his life, his duties.

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