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  • Erotic Scenes from the Koṇārka Temple

    June 2, 2020

    I visited the Koṇārka temple—nowadays referred to as the Konark temple—in Orissa at the end of 2019, on the recommandation of my PhD advisor. It is a magnificent and impressive temple built during the 13th century, under the reign of the king Narasiṃhadeva. It is dedicated to the Sun god, Sūrya, who is said to travel around the earth in a chariot pulled by horses. The temple itself is, as it were, mounted on a chariot: there are wheels and horses engraved around the building.

    This temple is known for its erotic imagery. I noticed that erotic scenes appear exclusively at the back of the temple; more specifically, on its West side and at the very back of its South-West side. In this same location, about a hundred feet further, there is a small temple attributed to the goddess Chāyā “Shadow”, the Sun’s wife. This last temple was supposedly built during the 12th century, and depicts many erotic scenes as well.

    I took photographs, some of which I include here. You can click on the pictures to see them in a higher resolution. It is most likely unnecessary to describe what is going on in these scenes, and I would rather not be flagged by Google, thus I will abstain from providing captions.

    Scenes from the Main Temple (West and South-West)

    Scenes from the Chāyā Temple (South-West)