Khajuraho (XXX)

WARNING: Some of the following content may be too explicit for children under 17, those over 60 (especially with heart conditions), or Rick Santorum. Proceed with caution.

Another World Heritage Site

These spectacular temples were built by the Chandela kings between the 9th & 13th centuries. They are uniquely and exquisitely carved with figures and friezes of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

The First View

An astounding resemblance to Angkor Wat in Cambodia in a smaller, but no less impressive version.

And for those of you more worldly, you may recognize it as the background for the movie, “Kama Sutra.”

Removing a Painful Thorn from Her Foot

This graceful carving of a young woman removing a thorn even provides a facial grimace. The figures and friezes tell stories of the Gods in life, in war and in love. Only about 10% are treatises on love-making (presumably based on the Sanskrit Kama Sutra, written many centuries earlier), but of course the most documented.

Getting “Instructive”

Notice the lovers and their musicians, and how their bodies and eyes tell a real story. The small figures are common people. The large are the Hindu Gods (some of 9 million+ of them…. True).

A Bit More Instructive

The lovers, each on one foot defy gravity (they are Gods) and provide some extra stimulation for their aides who seem a bit more interested in themselves. One really wonders about the designers’ and sculptors’ “motivation”.

Remember that these were created well before the Muslim conquests. Apparently the Hindu outlook on life and love became much, much more conservative after that. Today, any public display of intimacy (even holding hands) is strictly frowned upon. Marriages are still arranged by the family. Dress covers most of the woman, with the exception of the bare midriff, exposing the navel; the deeper the navel the sexier according to our guide. Muffin-Tops predominate.

"Get a Load of That"

Check out the hysterical elephant. The oblivious four other elephants on his left look straight ahead while this dude gets a glimpse of the nearby action. A great sense of humor really comes forward as part of the joy of life these temples exude.

There are even tales of what shouldn’t be done, e.g. bestiality. And, there are loving depictions of homosexuality, obviously accepted in their communities.

Several of These Beautiful Temples are Actively Used

At the Next Hotel

On the way back from the temples we stopped at a state-run shop that specialized in marble sculpture. Some nice pieces, but none worth the shipping home of a piece weighing close to a ton.

Our hotels, mostly Radisson have been luxurious-ish. They are new, beautiful, clean, spacious, with every amenity including gyms and spas and pools and upscale shops and delicious restaurants. We give them the “-ish” rating because they just try, and go too far! Examples: The rooms have so many lights and switches it could take a half hour to get them off for bed. The waiters give you an extensive menu, take your drink order, and remain hovering continually asking if you’re ready to place your food order while you haven’t yet opened to page one! The property is usually located well out of the center of town, preventing the free-time strolls through the ‘hood we so much love to do. Small things, but very different from most other places in the world.

An ad hoc note on hotel maintenance you’ll enjoy:

Our hot water kettle was not working (the plug was loose in the outlet so contact was not there). I called for a repair. An older, mustachioed man (with no English) came immediately and played with the switch for two or three minutes while I tried to explain it was either the plug or the outlet that were bad. He finally started moving the plug in the outlet which made the on light come on sporadically. He took the kettle away finally (I thought to replace) and returned five minutes later with the same kettle. He now plugged it into a floor outlet between the beds. It still only worked sporadically. He finally moved it back to its space, plugged it in, took the extra coffee mug and pressed it against the plug so the on light came on steadily, bowed to me and said, “fixed”, and left the room. We broke down!

We ended the day at a local cultural center where a traveling dance school and troupe performed regional folk dances. You might think it would be hokey, but they were graceful professionals (and students) in spectacular, authentic costumes. A great way to end another full day. Tomorrow to the oldest continuous living city in the world.

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1 Response to Khajuraho (XXX)

  1. rhoda altman says:

    want to see ALL your pictures & hear ALL when you return! blown away with your reportage. love, Rhoda

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