Harish Nambiar – Beering and fearing in Khajuraho 

DECEMBER Volume Two 2012

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The temples are an exhilarating exhibition of sculpture and architecture rebutting the idea of medieval art being overburdened by formalism. It helped that the Chandela kings, who oversaw the construction of the temple complex, have a breathtakingly alternative history of being born of sin.

Legend says they are descendants of Hemvati, a fair maiden seduced by the Moon. The temples are the fulfillment of the Moon’s promise that the child born of the out-of-wedlock union and ITS descendants will be remembered by the world.

Khajuraho temples have that off-mainstream exuberance of the prodigal. The sculptures of breathtaking beauty in the art of living; curvaceous maidens caught in the act of self-worshipping make-up, coquettish behavior and the spiritual abandon of wild love-making and above all, dry wit and fun of monkeys watching men and women making out, or the slyness of the mocking sculptor who subverts a classical series of elephant heads with one that is distracted by the erotic act sculpted in the next panel.

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Harish Nambiar is a journalist with Reuters in Mumbai. He has been a mainstream English journalist in India since 1990, having begun his career with the Times of India group. He has worked with the Indian Express, the television channel CNBC, and The Telegraph, Kolkata. In the course of his career as a reporter he has covered the 1992–93 communal riots and the serial blasts in Bombay. He has been responsible for several exposés in his stint as an investigative reporter with the Indian Express, specializing in economic offences, including the union housing scam that the Supreme Court of India took up.   http://www.sagepub.in  

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