History of Khajuraho - खजुराहो
The Khajuraho temples were built during the reign of the Chandelas who trace their origin to the mythical sage Chandratreya born of the moon. According to the different versions of the origin of the city, Khajuraho owes its existence to an enchanting maiden named Hemvati. The legend that describes the origin of the great dynasty of Khajuraho is a fascinating one: Hemavati, was a beautiful young daughter of a Brahmin priest and was a child widow. One day while bathing in the river Rati she was seduced by the moon god who was mesmerized by her beauty. The Moon god, awestruck by her beauty descended to the earth in the form of a human and ravished her. A son was born of this union between a human and a god. He was named Chandravarman by his mother. As she was a widow who had given birth to a child she feared being harassed by society. To save herself and her child she took refuge in the dense forest of Central India. Here she trained her son both as a mother and a mentor or guru. The boy grew up to become a brave king who went on to establish the great Chandela dynasty. When he was established as a ruler, he had a dream-where his mother implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions and thus would bring hidden human desires into open. Soon Chandravarman began the construction of the first of the temples, which saw the successive rulers adding to the fast growing shrine complex. The temples of Khajuraho are a fine example of religion laced with erotica and the visitor to Khajuraho cannot but be attracted to the vivid erotic sculptures on the temples walls. Though highly sensual and erotic, the engravings on these temples have a symbolic importance and there have been many interpretations of their existence. One theory connects them with Indian sects who invest sex with a ritual symbolism and considered Yoga (spiritual exercise) and bhoga (physical pleasure) as two different paths leading to the same goal, that is moksha, self-deliverance. According to these sects, in the enjoyment of sex one can transcend into a samadhi thereby attaining nirvana (salvation). While another thoery view them as representing tantric rituals. Tantricism and the Shakti cult, where the pancha makaras (five tenets), namely, matsya (fish), madira (wine), maithuna (sexual activity), mamsa (meat), and mudra (gesture) were to release the human spirit from the bondage of the flesh, have been described as the possible explanations for the sensuality of Khajuraho sculpture. These sculptures, they say, serve as a test for the devotees self control in order to achieve the goal that is to reach the deity placed in the sanctum. In other words it means that if a person wants to achieve God, he has to forget all this at the outset.
Furthermore, the presence of these erotic sculptures shows that there were no taboos or inhibitions against sex as we have now. The people of that time took a healthy view of things and gave sex its requisite place in its life. Kama or pursuit of pleasure was deemed to be one of the four purusharthas or legitimate aims of life of a Grahast (householder) and was regarded as a stepping-stone to moksha, or deliverance. Therefore, these erotic scenes were not regarded as abnormal or unnatural.