About the Erotic Elephants Temple

Located just outside the western gates of Bhaktapur Durbar square these twin temples to Shiva and Shiva Parvati have a lot going on in their carvings. The two temples are historicaly known as Anantalingeswar & Uma Maheshwar temples.

Erotic Elephant carving in Bhaktapur Nepal
Erotic Elephant carving in Bhaktapur Nepal - historically known as the Anantalingeswar & Uma Maheshwar temples
Though it should be noted these temples are really shrines and smaller than most people expect!

Take a look at the roof struts on the first temple and you'll see several animals depicted in various forms of copulation. The most famous are the elephants whose trunks are romantically intertwined.

Did you know?

It's not just this temple that has depictions of a sexual nature. Many temples within the Kathmandu valley show intimate scenes along the roof struts of temples.


Why are there erotic images on temples?

Anantalingeswar & Uma Maheshwar temples in Bhaktapur Nepal
Anantalingeswar & Uma Maheshwar temples

A good question that few truly know the real answer to. Many a local guide tell the story that it's to scare away the bashful god of lightning. The truth is more likely a little more down to earth.

Some historians have hypothesized that they were simply placed there to show the cycle of life.

The majority seem to feel it's much more likely erotic images where placed on temples as a form of artistic expression during the Malla reign which encouraged artists to be bold!

So read more about this with the story about the artist who lost his hands in Bhaktapur.

Entrance fee to the Erotic Elephant Temple

There is no fee to enter The Erotic Elephant Temple as it is outside Bhaktapur Durbar square and the ticket offices.

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