Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temple complex

Trip Start Feb 07, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, March 26, 2007

We somehow survive the ridiculously narrow roads and make it to Khajaraho - famous for it's World Heritage Hindu and Jain temple complexes with a twist. The carved images adorning the cob or corn shaped temples (dating from 950AD) represent an array of erotic sexual positions - kind of like medieval porn.

Unfortunately the town lacks any atmosphere and is riddled with touts fueled into creating complex scams to extract money from the many wealthy tourists who fly in and out from the nearby airport which serves the temples alone. It's just one of those places where the scammers zone in and intercept you en masse as soon as you step out of the safety of your hotel (actually, there were a few in the hotel as well!!). However, we saw the sights (got an eye full!) and even hired bicycles on the second day for a dawn ride to the Jain temples. Nobody knows why the temples were built or why the images are so sexualised. One theory is that it was a Kama Sutra cult that believed that nirvana could be reached through bodily pleasure! This place was also abandoned and luckily not found by the Muslim Mughal invaders, who surely wouldn't have approved! The temples were again 're-discovered' by an English officer in 1838, prior to this they were hidden in jungle. We're pretty glad to get out of this place, but unfortunately our next destination is also flooded with scammers and touts! Some guy even managed to nearly choke Tim by tipping in a pile of salt instead of sugar into his masala chai!!

We again opted for a car to get out of Khajaraho, sharing the cost with a French guy. The bus we intended to take has been run off the road by two trucks and we see the evidence of this as we speed past. So much for National Highway 75 (leading to a World Heritage site) - what a joke! In parts it's only about 3 metres wide with trucks hammering towards us and our car having to repetitively dive down onto the rocky road edge at the last minute. We thought this was bad and then the road disappeared and the car bumped over the rocks while trucks bounced perilously close. To top it all off Tim and I ended up with major deja vu - the guy played the Venga Boys tape TWICE (we've suffered this indignity before in Libya where our driver Osama couldn't get enough of the Venga Bus). Anyway, obviously we survived and made it to another fly blown town called Satna where we had a 4 1/2 hour wait for our train, which was running late. This time we luxuriate in '2 tier Air Conditioned Class' and even get a pillow and some sheets - BLISS! We're off to Varanasi, the homeland of Indian touts.
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