Monday, January 4th, 2016
We continued our journey towards the small town of Khajuraho, passing by peacocks and interesting rock formations along the way. Khajuraho is home to the Khajuraho Group of Monuments which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are temples there for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike, although tourists are most familiar with the Hindu “erotic” temples.
Our guide was super informative as he pointed out the significance of every small detail of the temples we witnessed. The first temple we went to had architectural influences from numerous religions, and some of the temples are still in use today. Those that are still in operation have flags on them, such as the one neighboring the Lakshmana Temple dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu.
He pointed out the meaning behind the various postures and positions of the sculptures carved into the temples. For example, a hand held low with the palm facing up is symbolic for preaching, a palm facing out is praising, and the “okay” hand gesture is for concentration. There appeared to be small children carved in the walls nearby larger figures. He informed us that the smaller figures weren’t children as we suspected, but servants.
Most of the figures told stories, such as soldiers at battle or of royals, but then things got weird. There were orgies decorating the temple, sometimes including animals as participants.
There was a couple doing the 69-position next to another couple doing the 71-position. The guide warned us about the dangers of position 71 as he pointed to the headless figure engaging in the act.
We all got a chuckle as he pointed out the “polished” body parts on some of the temple figures caused by too many hands caressing them. There were a lot of shiny boobs to say the least.
In order to find one of the many gods amongst the mess of figures, he said you only have to locate the ones with multiple sets of arms.
Most of tour was focused on Vishnu’s temple, but eventually we moved on to Shiva’s temple called the Kandariya Mahadeva temple.
The tour was great, but we had worked up an appetite, so we headed around the corner to Raja’s Cafe for lunch. My husband’s boss’s wife Heena, who is also Indian, makes the best egg curry, and I had a hankering. We convinced one of our new Aussie friends to give it a go as well. It wasn’t as good as Heena’s egg curry, but it was damn close! The banana lassis weren’t too shabby either.
Trevor got recognition for his beard as we walked off our meal. One of the shop owners was awfully insistent on getting us to buy things from his shop. “You must come in and check out the store! Come and look! You promised yesterday that you would return!” We had just gotten there today, but we were still very amused by his determination. We laughed and returned to the truck, and then Trevor was lit up by a wasp.
Upon our arrival, the truck had unintentionally parked under a wasp nest which we bumped into and disturbed as we parked. They were swarming everywhere, including the inside of the truck since the windows were partially opened. I scrambled to help the others get the windows shut and was fearful of getting stung. I’m not allergic enough that I’d go into anaphylactic shock, but a wasp sting would still make me swell enough to require antibiotics. Some of our crew got stung in the process, but I was fortunately unscathed.
I failed to nap on the way to Orchha, only catching a glimpse of a bloody cow skeleton as we reached our camping site in the “bush.” If you’ve ever been to northern India, you’d realize that there are limited places you can go to escape human civilization. We ended up camping on the property of a local math teacher named Manoj Kumar Yadev. This was hardly “roughing” it since we had toilet facilities nearby and pitched our tents on top of lush patches of grass.
After we pitched our A-frame tent with little difficulty, we joined the others by a small fire with beer in hand. Carmel shared a funny Aussie term she used back at home for getting up early, being to get up “at a sparrow’s fart.” Jules made it more comical when she misheard her say “asparagus fart”. With all the talk of flatulence, we were wondering what the unpleasant odor was lingering in the air. It was strong enough that it had us all checking the bottoms of our shoes.
I gave up on my beer after eating dinner. Of course the one time clean bathroom facilities were a small hike away was when my stomach started acting up. It was a cold night and I was absolutely restless. Between the frigid temperatures, frequent runs to the toilet, and the sound of what I believed to be gun shots resonating nearby, I would not be sleeping well.
Jump Ahead to Part 12: A Fender Bender, Blondes & Baby Taj
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Anxiety