Located just outside the western gates of Bhaktapur Durbar square these twin temples to Shiva have a lot going on in their carvings. 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.
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.
Other animal carvings here include tortoises, horses and what looks like two llamas. In case you were wondering the temple beside it has depictions of everyday life.
These temples did receive some minor damage in the 2015 earthquake but are still very much still standing. In 2019 there is some debris around them as they were used as a collection point for artifacts after the earthquake. It's still easy to see the carvings.
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!
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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