A view of one of the temples from afar.
On our Indian safari.
October 30, 2007
I can’t help but laugh at the one thing many o’ rickshaw-wallahs have said to us upon seeing two girls traveling together…
“Khajuraho no good place without boyfriend.”
For those who know about Khajuraho, this will need no explanation. For those who don’t, you will just need to read further to
We arrived here late this morning after…and I never thought I would be saying this…a great night’s sleep on the overnight
train. Miracles do happen. We decided to just hire a driver to take us directly to Khajuraho rather than waiting around for the
bus (which ended up getting into town at 1pm vs. our 10am arrival). Ten dollars well spent for each of us.
It was easy to justify getting a taxi to take us to Khajuraho since we spent far less taking the train than we would have taking a
flight (something that we were very much considering while in Varanasi). This also eased my guilt with my many purchases in
Varanasi – all of them plus my train ticket and taxi ride out here still cost less than that plane ticket would have!
We arrived. And now it was all about heading to go check out the temples we came to see.
One would think at this point, ‘Another temple? I mean don’t they all look the same at this point?’
The answer is no. Not in the case of Khajuraho.
What makes this place unique? What makes this place worth all of the effort to get to the remote out-of-the-way location?
Two words: Kama Sutra.
The group of western temples in this city is best known for its ‘erotic carvings’. To be honest, I thought every carving was
going to be erotic…but it wasn’t that way. It was much more subtle yet there were still countless men and women in different
The temples are about 1000 years old and from the time of the Chandelas – a Hindu dynasty. Originally there were about 80
temples; now there are only about 22. These were only rediscovered in the 19th century underneath tons of jungle by a Brit.
The area that the western temples are in doubles as a beautiful park. A person could truly just idle the day away on the
Most of the temples are dedicated to three Hindu deities: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. And the wonderful Ganesh makes
several appearances in the form of carvings at different temples. But for the most part, only about 10% of the carvings are of
erotic, tantric sexual poses – the rest depict daily life in the time that they were carved (women putting on make-up, women
writing, musicians, farmers, etc.). Apparently the Chandela monarchs were followers of the tantric traditions, hence the reason
for the Kama Sutra carvings (they believed gratification of earthly desires led to nirvana).
I kept wondering ‘Where are all of the tourists?’ Not that I’m complaining that there weren’t many. I just thought it was a
much more common destination to come to. It is probably a good thing that I practically had this place to myself. I turned into
a pervert out here. I was zooming in on just about every position that was down-and-dirty. It was probably also my
pervertedness that made these temples surpass Angkor Wat in my mind.
I thought I might have hyped this place up in my mind before coming here but that proved to not be the case. I enjoyed every
minute of looking at these structures and could have spent even longer doing so. Talk about temples with a certain kind of
appeal (really, who would ever think temples could have such ‘sex appeal’?).
And this would be why every rickshaw-wallah has been saying “Khajuraho no good place without boyfriend.”
But I disagree. Khajuraho can still be good without a boyfriend. Just not as good…
October 31, 2007
We are up. And ohhhhhhh….is it early! It’s all in the name of hopefully seeing tigers this morning at the Panna National Park.
Truthfully, I’m not feeling very hopeful about this. But that’s not very ‘Buddha-like’, is it? I think he would be thinking
positively. And if he didn’t see them? He would probably just be thankful that he had the opportunity to possibly see them.
And so this will be the attitude I adopt if we leave empty-handed.
Zip. Zilch. Zero.
That’s how many signs of hope we had for tigers while out today.
We would learn that there are only a couple handfuls of tigers out here…and there’s green grass right now…tall green grass.
Very, very non-ideal conditions.
I was okay with this. I accepted it in stride. I actually thought it was fun to more or less be on a safari while in India in our
open-topped Land Rover type of vehicle. We saw many different kinds of deer (even though deer are quite common at home, I
was still telling myself how beautiful it was to see them in their domain in India) and great monkeys (not the disgusting rat-like
Rhesus monkeys that are way too common in Varanasi) who swung from tree to tree. We saw different birds – and, believe it
or not, I actually could get into some of these. Especially the adorable kingfisher. But then again, maybe I loved seeing that so
much because of India’s very own Kingfisher beer and Kingfisher airlines. We went to a river and I saw the top of a crocodile’s
head and then when leaving, our guide showed us a dead deer that got killed while fighting with another deer. It wasn’t
disgusting – it basically looked like a stuffed deer. Almost didn’t look real. Christine and I thought it was probably a good time
to go – scenery was getting a bit monotonous and the time was no longer ideal for spotting tigers. I was happy to have made
the trip out there; Christine said she would have preferred the extra sleep.
On our way back to Khajuraho we stopped off at some waterfalls. I guess that’s a bit of an incorrect term since there was no
sign of a waterfall. Guess it’s the wrong time of year for that stuff.
The entire drive home consisted of us waving back to little kiddies who came out to wave and say ‘Hello! Hello!’ to the white
girls in the back of the truck. The genuine sweetness and happiness of these kids was truly beautiful and couldn’t help but put
a smile on my face every time I was waving.
Our time here ended with a last glimpse of the Khajuraho temples while eating breakfast.
It is now time to hop into our taxi for the drive out to Orchha. Not really sure what is out there. Ohhh, the mystery!
Some of the details of the temples..