India is certainly known as the nation of temples. Being home to the largest Hindu population in the world, temples are not uncommon. But there do exist some temples which are quite unconventional in their theme. So, here goes the list of some whacked out temples, which have gone against the traditional wisdom and are home to some extraordinary deities and unconventional inscriptions / carvings.
Khajuraho Temple: Famous for eroticism etched on the walls
State: Madhya Pradesh
Built: Between 950 and 1050 AD by Chandela dynasty
Khajuraho temple is known for the depiction of erotic art on the walls than for the worship of the deities. Although, the walls do not show the actual erotic art inside the main sanctum, there are lots of depictions on the outer parts of the temple.
One of the reasons for this portrayal is to convey the message to all pilgrims that, they must discard their sexual propensities before keeping foot inside the holy temple. These inscriptions also show that a true worshipper of god doesn’t have any physical desires and refrains from any erotic acts. It has also been suggested that it may be a delineation of “Tantric sexual practices”. Other inscriptions show the life of an everyday Indian and the changes taking place in the human body during puberty.
Vaital Duel: Remarkable tantric association and fearsome encarvings
State: Orissa (Odisha)
District: Bindu Sarovar (Bhubaneswar)
Built: Late 8th century
Located in a serene environment, the Vaital Deul, houses some well kept secrets. From outside, the temple is covered with the inscriptions of innocent women (kanyas) trying to lure the passersby. What lies inside the temple is much more intimidating. The temple is marked by stupefying inscriptions which depict goddess ‘Durga’ as an eight armed deity ‘Chamunda’. This certainly is quite overwhelming.
The deity also referred to as ‘Mahishasuramardini’, sits on a carcass surrounded by a jackal and an owl. Exactly on the opposite of the ‘Chamunda’ is the ‘Bhairava’, who are like yin & yang. Complete opposites. The temple also has a stone post which was used to tether offerings. An artificial light source is required to see this stone post properly.
Dashanan Ravana temple: Worshipping the Lord of Lanka
State: Uttar Pradesh
Buit: 1890 by Maharaj Guruprasad Shukl
Being a one of its kind temple, the Dashanan Ravana temple located in the bustling city of Kanpur is unique. Ravana certainly has cemented his place as the demon king in the Ramayana epic. The doors of this temple are open for the general public only on the day of Dussehra. The idol of Ravana is decorated and worshiped by the devotees as a symbol of power. In the evening, the effigy of Ravana is incinerated completely and the temple closes its doors to everyone till the next year.
Dog temple: Worship of the ever-faithful one
District: Channapatna’s Ramanagar district
Built: 2010 by a community
This temple was built recently around 2010 with the sole aim to pay homage to one of the lesser recognized animal species- the canine. Dogs have historically been faithful creatures and this temple has been built keeping that in mind. The common dog has been raised to the status of God and the people are not only worshipping the idols but also conducting prayers to the dog-God.
Sahasrakshi Meru Temple: Nudity is a form of purity
State: Andhra Pradesh
District: Devipuram, Vishakapatnam
Built: 1985 by Dr. N. Prahalad Sastry
This temple, located on the outskirts of Vizag, follows the policy of open worship as any devotee can offer his worships to the goddess here. Most of the deities placed here are sky-clad or nude. This implies that they are pure shaktis.
Raja Rani Temple: Fascinating images of women; No deity placed in temple
Built: 11th century by Udayata Keshari
Raja Rani temple has fascinating images of men and women in stunning postures. The manner in which the women are depicted in various postures is absolutely jaw- dropping. The pillars of the temple are beautifully decorated.
The unconventional name of the temple has been probably derived from its past. It is believed that king Udayata Keshari built this temple to honor the wishes of his mother. The pillars of the temple are decorated superbly. The temple is a great example of dexterity in art and masterful architecture. Another point to be noted is that the temple doesn’t have a deity but only images of Gods ad Goddesses. But on the whole the temple is surely a sensuous affair.