Khajuraho! - Kinky With Hassle.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Flag of India  , Madhya Pradesh,
Thursday, November 10, 2005

We decided that rather than a 15 hour bumpy bus ride to the next place we wanted to visit we would take a flight. Our first impressions of Khajuraho were not good! We had booked a hotel and airport pickup from our previous hotel and whilst there was a man to pick us up a massive argument amongst taxi drivers broke out with us in the middle. Apparently the driver who was picking us up did not belong to the taxi drivers union. We sought help from a policeman who said we had to go with the union taxi. We were not happy!

On arrival at our hotel (Hotel Marble Palace $12A complete with in house touts and cows outside!)we were besieged by the "drag into the shop" type touts. You have to catch your breath and steel yourself to go outside your room!

What was good was that we were in walking distance of the amazing Hindu temples we had come to see and to the train booking office and bus station. Out first job was to try and book some more journeys but we only achieved being wait listed on 2 trips. While it had not occurred to us that we would have such difficulty in getting seats, the fact is some 11 million Indians a day use the rail system!

We had a lovely rooftop early dinner overlooking the temples then when it got dark we went to a light and sound show describing the history of the temples and the people who built them.

The temples of Khajuraho are stunningly beautiful, architecturally, and also for the 1,000's of exquisite sculptures that adorn them inside and out. There are sculptures depicting everyday life (see photo of women removing a thorn from her foot) but many are of an erotic nature. A sort of Kama Sutra in stone. Most of the temples date from between 950AD and 1050AD and because they are in a fairly isolated spot were able to survive the desecration Muslim invaders inflicted on temples elsewhere. The jungle took over and hid them from view after the Chandela Dynasty fled from Afghan invasion. They were not discovered again until 1838 by a British army officer. This Victorian era soldier was rather shocked by what he saw and described the erotic sculptures as "a little warmer than was any absolute necessity for"!

Little is understood as to why many of the sculptures are of an explicit nature but perhaps it was just a celebration of love and life. One temple alone has 872 statues most of them nearly a metre high and they are carved in such a way that they seem to be jumping off the building.

Khajuraho, however, is very much a hassle place. Sometimes the touts felt like a cloud of blowflies descending on us as we walked out of the hotel building. On our last night we had our evening meal up high in a tree house where there was just one table and the waiter brought our food by way of a swing bridge. All was going wonderfully until the waiter turned into a tout wanting us to engage his services as a driver! Oh the joys of the hassle that is India. Not even in our tree house were we immune.

Footnote: Khajuraho Group of Monuments are UNESCO World Heritage lister.
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