Item Details

Monstrous Animals on Hindu Temples, with Special Reference to Khajuraho

Issue: Vol 7 No. 1-3 (2013) Vol. 7, No. 1/No. 2 (Double) 2013

Journal: Religions of South Asia

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Buddhist Studies Islamic Studies

DOI: 10.1558/rosa.v7i1-3.27


This article discusses the role of imaginary composite animals on medieval Hindu temples, with special reference to the vyālas at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh. These monsters are frequently sculpted on temples in the company of women, but are scarcely mentioned in texts. They are subsequently replaced in other parts of India by images of ascetics. An attempt is made to elucidate their role and meaning, within the wider context of Indian religion and culture, by positing that they may express a so to speak subterranean power of sexuality.

Author: David Smith

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