Khajuraho is not like the Kajagoogoo song..Too shy

Trip Start Aug 26, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Where I stayed
Ken River Lodge Panna Tiger Reserve
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of India  , Madhya Pradesh,
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Leaving our campsite after breakfast in Tala, we had about an 8hr drive to our next accommodation just outside of Khajuraho.   The drive was going well until we reached Maihar Cement factory and was stopped by the police who told us there was an accident a bit further down and we couldn't get through. We pulled over and waited for about 15-20 mins and then saw a big huge crane and a bulldozer drive by down the road to the scene of the accident.  Some of us being curious and restless, including me decided to get off the truck to see what was going on.  Walking down about 300m we started to see a huge crowd of people and as we got closer we starting making sense of what a horrific accident it was.

From what we could tell and from the information we got from the locals, it was a head on collision between a lorry, having a driver and passenger, and what they call a jeep which was carrying many people.  There was also a pick-up truck and car in the ditch.  As we got closer we saw the people in lorry hanging out of the front windshield, and thought they were dead but then saw them move.  We watched as they got a rope around the lorry, hooking it on the crane and lifting the lorry up so that they could get to the bodies in the jeep. I saw them lifting a few bodies out of the jeep when I could get a peek through the massive crowds.  As we were leaving the scene they were starting to cut the cab of the lorry to get the people out.  We were told twenty-five people died (the newspaper the next day said 18) and I’m not sure if the driver and passenger of the lorry were going to make it. Making our way back to the truck and reporting on what we saw, Amanda decided to find an alternate route.  While she was doing that we watched in amazement as every single worker from the cement factory on their lunch break came running past our truck to see the accident.   This really brought home the reality of road travel in India and re-affirmed to all of us to wear our seat belts; though after seeing the carnage I’m not sure seat belts would help.

About an hour outside of Khajuraho we were met by the owner of Ken River Lodge and were escorted off road to a very seclude spot on the river.  Most of us decided to upgrade (at a very reasonable price) from camping to a room which really was like a palace.  A very wise decision as our stay here was probably the two coldest nights we’ve had to date.

Driving back into the town of Khajuraho the next day we had another small delay not two minutes from departing; a hissing soon to be flat tire on the truck.  The tire apparently got sliced by a sharp branch we drove by.  Passing time while the tire was getting changed (Clive was our hero), Tanya provide entertainment by way of teaching people how to make animal balloons.  Zoe and I tended to Flappy and tried to find her some ants but the ground was lifeless.

Finally getting into Khajuraho about an hour later we met our very formative guide, Anoo who give us a very informative tour of the western group of the temples (five of the twenty-five that remain), known as the erotic temples; the first of many world heritage sites we will be visiting.

Originally there were 85 Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho built during a century long burst of creativity from the Chandela dynasty from AD 950- 1050.  They were built in three geographic groups, western, eastern and southern.  Preservation of the temples was due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of Kharjuraho and the fact that Muslim invaders inflicted on temples elsewhere.  Eventually Khajuraho was abandoned and over taken by jungle and the temples weren’t found again until 1838 by British officer TS Burt.

The temples provide superb examples of Indo-Aryan architecture but it’s the liberally (read erotic) embellished (read life like) carvings that make them famous. The pictures I took don’t do the detail justice but the level of detail in the carvings is amazing; from muscles, to the detail of saris and bracelets on the women.

The first temple we visited was the Lakshmana temple completed in AD 954 took about t 20 yrs to build and is dedicated to the god Vishnu.  Anoo, our guide took a long time with us at this temple explaining the different parts of the temple and that all temples are built this way.  He also showed us around the temple explaining the meaning behind various sculptures; even the erotic ones.  He was so matter of fact about it that it made some of get the giggles.  Taking our shoes off we were allowed to go in and see the inside of the temple where Anoo further explained the architecture and how the temples are built to take advantage of daylight to provide light inside.

The second temple he guided us around was the Kandariya Mahadeva temple, built from 1025 to 1050 AD, and dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is the largest temple of Khajuraho.  Due to the temple’s mature plan and design, its dimensions and symmetrical proportions and it’s sculptural embellishment, this temple is marked as the most evolved of the central indian building style and one of the most sublime creations of Indian architecture.   I agree it was a very impressive looking temple.

Since the temples are all constructed similarly our guide let us have a wander on our own to look at the remaining three temples; though one was closed for preservation repairs.  Interesting to note is that because it is a world heritage site if they replace a piece of the temple with new sandstone they sand stone cannot be carved to match the surrounding sculptures. You will see this in some of the pictures.

My last visit was to the Nandi shrine a detached pavilion from the Vishwanatha temple, another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.  The shrine is a square pavilion that rests on twelve pillars and enshrines a massive image of nandi, the bull vehicle of Shiva which faces the main deity of the Vishwanatha temple.

After the visit to the temples and some lunch (Raj café) we had about an hour to explore around the town and hit the ATM.  Being hassled by the touts (people trying to get you to go to their shops or buy something) was constant and annoying when you are trying to just enjoy a bit of a walk but we made the best of it and towards the end I met a lovely little boy named Rahul who was trying to teach me Hindu.  He walked me to the truck and in return I let him get on the truck to check it out.  He was in awe and had a grin from ear to ear.  Other kids gathered around as we were getting ready to go and we ended up giving them out animal balloons we made in the morning and some gum.  I was offered to take Rahul home with me and god I would have loved to if I could. 

A peaceful afternoon by the river at the lodge was just what the doctor order for the entire group as we re-charged our batteries to get ready for the long drive to Agra.
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Hazel on

Hey Molly,

What wonderful experiences!!! I am so envious, but happy to have the opportunity to live vicariously through you. It is rather thrilling reading about all of your adventures and the fascinating people you have met along the way. How did you spend Christmas?
Here's hoping for continued safe travels into 2013.
Have a very happy new year!!!

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