Monday, 9 April 2012

World's most risqué sites

When archaeologists dug up volcano-hit Pompeii, they discovered a treasure trove of relics which showed that the ancient Romans had a more liberal sexual outlook than previously known.

Terracotta penises, a stone satyr making love to a goat were found, according to travel guide Lonely Planet.

But what could these 18th-century respectable men do with all these naughty finds? Tuck them away of course, which is why Naples’ Archaeological Museum houses the Gabinetto Segreto – the Secret Room.

Boxed up or out in the open, Lonely Planet reveals them all in its list of 10 most racy cultural sites from celebrated parades to gods enshrined in temples.

The world's most risqué sites
1. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
10 hours bus ride from Agra and 14 hours from Varanasi. The Chandellas dynasty were a discerning bunch, smart enough to house their temples of erotica in an inaccessible location like Khajuraho to keep them safe and away from the disapproving eyes of Muslim invaders.
Khajuraho’s temples have Karma Stura stone works carved in a frenzy of artistic aphrodisia from 950 to 1050 AD. There you'll find seductive heavenly nymphs, couples copulating in athletic poses and full-on orgies, said Lonely Planet.

The world's most risqué sites
2. Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset, England
55m tall and 400 years old, the naked giant stands proud (in every way) on a hillside in rural Dorset. He carries a 37-m-long club but that's clearly not the centre of attraction.
Best views from the National Trust car park.

The world's most risqué sites
3. Mardis Gras, Sydney, Australia
From scantily-clad showgirls to cowboys only armed with their trucks and boots, the annual February parade celebrates lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender liberation in Australia - and around the world at other time of the year.
Best vantage points are from the sidewalks and cafes on Oxford and Flinders Streets.

The world's most risqué sites
4. Chimi Lhakhang, near Punakha, Bhutan
Lama Drukpa Kunley, otherwise known as the Divine Madman, is not your ordinary saint. He drank and womanised until he died in 1529. But he had a method - he used his outrageousness to teach Buddhism, according to Lonely Planet. During his lifetime, he used his 'magical thunderbolt' to fend off a demoness and his act of valour has since captured the imagination of the Bhutanese. Many houses today are decorated with Kunley’s ‘flying phallus’ to ward off evil.
Chimi Lhakhang is the remote monastery dedicated to the saint. Barren women often visit in the hope that some of the Madman’s virility might rub off. Best time to visit is in spring or autumn months.

The world's most risqué sites
5. Moulin Rouge, Paris, France
The Moulin Rogue was once the epitome of Parisan way of having fun where courtesans would seduce with some acrobatic showmanship and by showing a bit of skin. Today, it is pretty much tamed down, and apparently Lonely Planet says Musée de l’erotisme next door is better.

The world's most risqué sites
6. Kanamara Matsuri, Kawasaki, Japan
Dating back to the 17th century, the annual Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) began when prostitutes would go to the Kanamara Shrine to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Nowadays, you'll find giant pink phallus paraded on the streets and auctions of vegetables are carved into suggestive shapes taking place.
The festival's main event is on the first Sunday in April.

The world's most risqué sites
7. The Secret Room, Naples, Italy
The secret collection is in rooms LXII and LXV on the mezzanine floor of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, said the travel guide.

The world's most risqué sites
8. Chinese Sex Culture Museum Garden, Tongli, China
This is where you'll learn about the history and culture of Eastern erotica, thanks to a sociology professor, Liu Dalin's work. The museum houses some 1200 artefacts and has a garden where sexuality and shrubbery combine.

The world's most risqué sites
9. Red Light District, Amsterdam, Netherlands
250 windows of women in nothing but their sexy lingerie on display. But other than that, the old town tall gabled buildings hugging narrow canals is a lovely sight. Lonely Planet said that is a 'curious mix of scenic and seedy' and probably the best place to learn about the world's oldest trade.
The Prostitution Information Centre runs an 1-hour walking tours every Saturday at 5pm for 12.50euros (S$20.60).

   The world's most risqué sites
10. Icelandic Phallological Museum, Húsavík, Iceland
From gigantic whale penises to speck-sized field mouse testicles and lampshades made from bull scrotums, Iceland's small Phallological Museum has it all - and recently put its first human member on display. A total 276 specimens from all of Iceland's 46 mammals, along with a few foreign contributions, are on show at what may be the world's only penis museum.

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