Erotica in Nepali Temples

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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Erotic Tunala at Kantipur Temple House - note the bottom part

All over Nepal on the roof struts of temples are richly detailed carvings, sometimes plain wood, sometimes colorfully painted and often of what westerners would consider an erotic nature. The text below is copyrighted material from the Nepal Lonely Planet and is not my own but provided for educational purposes only. As far as the pictures, Cindy said I should only upload a few of the tamer ones so you will have to come visit if your tastes lean more towards the exotic and erotic…

Erotic Art in Nepal
“The most interesting wood carving on Nepali temples is on the roof struts, or tunala, and on many temples these carvings include erotic scenes.

Tunala in Durbar Square
These scenes are rarely the central carving on the strut, they are usually the smaller carving at the bottom of the strut, like a footnote to the larger image. Nor are the carvings sensuous and finely sculptured like those at Khajuraho and Konark in India. In Nepal, the figures are often smaller and cruder even cartoon like.

The themes of the Tantric element, a clear connection to the intermingling of Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu beliefs in Nepal, but their real purpose is unclear. Are they simply a celebration of an important part of the lifecycle? Are they a more explicit reference to Shiva’s and Parvati’s creative roles than the enigmatic linghams and yonis scattered around so many temples? Or are they supposed to play some sort of protective role for the temple? Its popularly rumored that the goddess of lightning is a shy virgin who wouldn’t dream of striking a temple with such goings on, although that is probably more tourist guide tale than anything else.

A couple on a mission in Durbar Square

Whatever the reason for their existence, these Tantric elements can be found on temples throughout the valley. Some temples reveal just the odd sly image while others are covered in the stuff. The activities range from straight forward exhibitionism to scenes of couples engaged in impressively athletic acts of intercourse. More exotic carvings include medieval menage a trois, scenes of oral or anal intercourse or couplings with demons or animals.

--Lonely Planet Nepal

Now back to the real blog...
A couple days ago, we managed to eventually catch the bus from Dumre for the ride back to Kathmandu which was uneventful except for the guy in front of me, affectionately now and forever known as “B.D.F.” which stands for Big Doofy… since he was one and insisted on leaning his seat all the way back, even though we were in the back row and our seats wouldn’t’ go back. After a while, I just pushed his seat up and held it there the entire ride back in an effort to piss him off as much as he was pissing me off. Not sure if it worked but it made me feel better.

We checked back into the Kantipur Temple House in Kathmandu and spent a couple of days shopping, doing email, doing laundry, eating and drinking well, figuring out Tibet and trying to determine where to head after Tibet. Razzu, the guy who facilitated the Tibet trip, met with us and gave us a briefing which was essentially focus on the sights and not the food or accomodations - eat vegetarian - don’t drink much. We shall see - Cindy is a bit worried…

Now it is off to Tibet!

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Erotic Tunala at Kantipur Temple H…
Erotic Tunala at Kantipur Temple …
Tunala in Durbar Square
Tunala in Durbar Square
A couple on a mission in Durbar Sq…
A couple on a mission in Durbar S…
photo by: sharonburgher