Khajuraho, India - Kama Sutra Temples

Khajuraho Travel Blog

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Panna & Khajuraho, India - All forms of transport accepted, even with a dump truck!!

Khajuraho, quite a change from Varanasi.  Boy what a change!! 

But before recounting our adventures in this unique town, a little about what happened beforehand . . .

We managed to catch a ride out of Varanasi, without any real problems; however once again as the distances are pretty great in India, we only managed to get as far as Panna.

Panna, is a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and has a tiger reserve which is called Panna National Park.

We really hadn’t planned on visiting this park, but then we figured why not, since we’re already here?  Unfortunately things didn’t work out the way we would have liked .

Panna & Khajuraho, India - The best of buddies
. . well, how I would’ve liked!  :(

I would have LOVED to catch a glimpse at India’s tigers in the wild, but we were quickly turned off with the idea, once we heard how pricey the entrance into the park was, and then on top of that, the fact that it wasn’t really the best season for doing so.  Oh well!!

So instead, we decided to chill in Panna for the night, and continue our journey to Khajuraho the following day. 

Can’t forget to make a shout out to the Park Rangers for their help in finding us a place to crash for the night!!  Dhanyavad FRRRRIENDS!!

How sweet is this? . . . After very little negotiation, the owners of the farm across the road kindly accepted that we pitch our tent on their property!  Great!  It was almost as if we were sleeping in Panna National Park itself!! 

Well not quite, but hey thinking back at the conditions of our sleeping arrangements, it was as if we were camping out in the wild!

Got a taste of that, as soon as we asked if we could take a shower!!!  Confused?  Further explanation is required, no doubt!!

There we were thinking that the family was going to lead us into their modest home, but we were hugely mistaken.

Panna & Khajuraho, India - En route vers Khajuraho - Juanny & notre chauffeur, un sikh
  Instead the owner’s son lead us to an open-air pump, just a short distance (but a distance quand-même!!) from their home.

Good thing we’d already had experiences with bathing in rivers and all!!  So we weren’t really surprised to find out that the pump would be where we’d be showering that evening!!!

Thinking back, what bothered me most was that there was no privacy, and the circumstances were a bit different compared to those when we bathed in rivers elsewhere (ie. The presence of women only was the norm, and using a traditional sarong which served the purpose of a sort of bathing suit was practised).

Oh well, tant pis!!  There’s always a solution to everything, right?!  Mine would be Arnaud!!  After quickly showering, himself, he made sure to shield me as best he could.

Panna & Khajuraho, India - Camion-décapotable à l'indien
 

Still, a bit tough for me to get over, considering the pump was literally out in a flat, open-field, with the main road right there in front of us, amid constant traffic and passers-by that could easily see me showering!!! 

Yes, a little uncomfortable, but hey, again c’est la vie!!  We needed a shower, after the long day we’d just had, so . . . had to suck it up and voilà!!

After that little experience, it was chow-time, but where?!  We were kindly directed towards the local night market, just one little problem . . . it was a bit far from where we’d set up camp, and so we had a choice to make . . . we either walk or try to hitch a ride.

Up until now, we’d always played it safe and avoided hitchhiking by night.  This time, though, we decided to do the opposite . .

Panna, India - Our new FRRRIENDS!
. must’ve been how pooped we were that interfered with making a wise decision.

In any case, we took our chances, and thank God, we quickly and safely caught rides to and back.  Still a bit in amazement that Arnaud agreed to let me go off on my own with that moto!! 

Perhaps it’s because he road on another one just behind me.  In any case, not too much fear or anxiety felt on my part, as I trust his instincts and trust that I’m never alone.

Anyway, once we got to the night market, we noticed that it wasn’t really any sort of market at all!  Just a bunch of stands, or more-like food shacks, set up for the locals. 

Good enough for us, though!  We played it safe again, and just had one of the cooks whip us up a yummy omelette sandwich, and hold the chilli please!! 

How we managed to explain what we wanted? .

Panna, India - Village cook, preparing our meal
. . Still a mystery to me, considering NO ONE around spoke any English!!!  Guess the sign-language we’ve learned throughout our adventure came in handy again!!  ;)

So a nice tranquil evening with tasty food, nice company (we were the attraction of the town that night!!), and even a bit of cultural exchanges at that!!

The following day, it was time to get back on the road again, for us!!  And considering we were nearly at our destination, we got to Khajuraho in no time . . . well, just about.

After another adventurous and fun-filled day of traveling with our Indian speed-racers, we safely made it to the land of Kama Sutra.

Khajuraho is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, and commonly known for its temples and their displays of explicit sexual figures all about them.

And actually, the Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India.

Panna, India - One happy family

So how could we miss out on that?!!!  No way, had to see them for ourselves!!

In fact, Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their intricate sculptures and erotic carvings that are one of the outstanding achievements of Indian art.

Our time here, however, was short and sweet. 

First things first, though.  Upon arrival, again, my job was to find us accommodation for the night.  And meanwhile, Arnaud’s mission was to find a repair-guy/tailor to fix up our backpacks that desperately needed repairing, after being put through nearly 15 months of wear-n-tear.

OK!!  Accommodation found, A-OK!!  Backpacks touched-up as best possible, A-OK!!  Perfect!!

As the hustle and bustle of our day had left us pretty exhausted, we decided to just take it easy for the rest of the day and visit the temples the next day instead.

Panna, India - Water buffalo crossing
  We’d be in for a treat, indeed!!

After a nice and well-rested evening, we were ready for another day of excitement in the land of the Moon God!! 

And exciting it was!!  Unforgettable too!!  I think we experienced one of the greatest treats (out of entire adventure), here in Khajuraho.

Again the locals were celebrating one of the many festivities happening throughout the year, and we had the pleasure of witnessing it first-hand!!

The men of Khajuraho were all dolled-up and just dancing away, and with such fervour!!  Yes, there were only men, participating in this celebration. 

For some odd reason, it didn’t surprise us.  I guess we’re getting used to the fact that pretty much all about are predominantly filled with only men.  Where are the women hiding again, hmm?!

The thought of why there weren’t any women participating crossed my mind, but more importantly I was curious to know what these celebrations represented.

Khajuraho, India - Les fidèles entrant dans le temple à côté des temples de Kama Sutra de Khajuraho
 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the answer to either one or the other of my curiousities, because no one around spoke any English!!  :(

Oh well, instead I just watched in amazement as they danced away; and I even got to play manicurist a bit . . . yes for the guys doing their thing for us!!  Be sure to watch the videos below . . . just memorable!!

After getting our fair-share of that spectacle, we were ready to get some more eye-candy at the Kama-Sutra temples!!

Ah, and we were so bad!!!!  Embarrassed to admit it, but again I passed off as a local and avoided having to pay the entrance fee for the temples! 

Easily tempted to do so, ‘cause I’m constantly mistaken for a local, so how could I NOT try?!  Foreigners had to pay to get into the temple grounds, whereas the locals got in for free!!

So while Arnaud paid his ticket, I just passed on by the guard, just nodding away and not speaking a word.

Khajuraho, India - One of the many temples found in the Western group of temples
  And well, the guy didn’t say anything so I just hurried up on past him.

But I guess when he noticed that I joined Arnaud shortly afterwards, he got suspicious.  So he called Arnaud over, asking a bunch of questions . . . well, trying to make himself understood, as best he could. 

Ah we’re naughty!!  That’s when Arnaud claimed that I was deaf and mute!!  The guy just stood there, in disbelief, and just let us continue on with our visit.  Phew!  That was close!  :(

So, although feeling a bit guilty about our little lie, we went on to visit the temples, taking in the breathtaking works of art all about us. 

Wow!!  I was really left speechless, after that visit!!  A masterpiece not to be missed, really!

Khajuraho was really a place we highly enjoyed visiting, and not as touristy as we had expected so another plus for us!!  Be sure not to miss out on this town if ever in the area!

Pour sortir de Varanasi, on utilisa une moto taxi.

Khajuraho, India - Un autre temple, se trouvent parmi le groupe de l'ouest
Les routes étaient meilleures, sauf que l’on retrouvait le même problème qu’au Brésil ou en Chine, les distances infinissables.

Avant d’aller à Agra, on avait entendu parler de Temples du Kama Sutra, des statues étaient gravées directement sur les temples.

Avant d’arriver à destination, on passa devant un parc national ou les tigres étaient les maitres des lieux.

Nous étions alors en pleine réflexion, l’entrée était quand même assez chère. On nous a toujours dit que la nuit portait conseil.

Avant de se coucher, les gardiens du parc nous aidèrent à expliquer au voisin si on pouvait mettre notre tente dans le jardin.

Khajuraho, India - Another lovely temple found on the park grounds of Khajuraho

Ils nous expliquèrent aussi que ce n’était pas la saison pour voir les tigres.

C’est à dire que si on rentrait dans le parc, il n’était pas sur de les voir. Vu les circonstances, on décida à contre cœur de passer notre chemin.

Il fallait voir ça, on prit la direction de Khajuraho.

Par chance, encore une fois, c’était la période des célébrations. C’était la fête dans tout le village.

Arrivé sur place, le travail de Juanita était de trouver une chambre pas chère, le fait de me voir, le prix allait être multiplié.

Khajuraho, India - Les sculptures de Khajuraho

Je me contentais alors de faire réparer nos sacs et chaussures qui commençaient sérieusement de battre de l’aile.

Le cordonnier ambulant allait me remettre à neuf nos affaires pour 1 ou 2 dollars.

Pendant ce temps Juanita était toujours à la recherche d’une chambre. Et quand elle s’y met, elle fait une inspection totale de la chambre : drap propre, ventilateur en état de marche, bonne douche, fenêtre...

Attention à celui qui essaye de lui faire payer des extras, elle gardait toujours de secret sur mon identité, taxe international oblige !!

Elle trouva en plein centre ville, un petit hôtel.

Khajuraho, India - Templo en Khajuraho
En entrant, toujours les mêmes habitudes, on décharge les sacs, on enlève le linge sale.

J’utilise les tendeurs pour étendre le linge au milieu de la pièce, une bonne douche bien fraiche, et en avant la visite de la ville du Kama Sutra.

Dans la foulée, on observe où sont les différents cybercafés, pour comparer les prix et le matériel ! C’était une petite ville, il y avait le coin des temples et le reste.

C’était la fin de journée, on décida alors de profiter de la soirée pour se faire un petit restaurant et travailler sur notre blog.

Je décidais de me promener seul, durant la matinée, et quel bonheur, quelle chance j’ai eu !

Devant moi, des villageois en pleine euphorie, dansant sous les rythmes des « tam tam ».

Khajuraho, India - Lakshmana Temple

J’étais très fier de pouvoir librement contempler ce spectacle. C’était très spontané, je vous conseille de voir les vidéos, elles sont pour moi parmi les meilleures de notre voyage !!

Je profitais du moment puis allais chercher Juanita pour qu’elle voie cela. Le spectacle s’était rependu dans toute la ville, les gens dansaient, uniquement les hommes par contre. On commençait même à s’y habituer.

On se rende plus compte car les hommes aussi se maquillaient, s’habillaient aussi de milles couleurs. Il faut dire qu’il y avait tellement de monde. C’était difficile de les dissocier.

Tous les indiens se dirigeaient vers un temple en particulier (voir la photo).

Khajuraho, India - J&A at Kandariya Mahadev Temple

De notre coté, le temple du Kama Sutra ouvrait ses portes. Il y avait deux tarifs, celui pour les étrangers et la gratuite pour les locaux.

On se séparait donc pour que Juanita se fasse passer pour une Indienne, ce qui fonctionna la première demi-heure.

On n’allait quand même pas visiter les temples séparément, un gardien venait contrôler le billet et me demander qui était cette femme qui m’avait rejoint après être rentré.

Je lui répondais d’un ton très naïf : « ne vous inquiétez pas!! Elle est sourde et muette!! Elle ne vous causera pas de problème » !

Et je n’arrive toujours pas à croire que le monsieur s’est contenté de cela.

Khajuraho, India - Juanny en frente del templo Kandariya Mahadev
Il n’insista pas plus longtemps et nous laissa vaquer librement à nos occupations.

On pouvait alors apprécier les différentes positions du Kama Sutra qui étaient gravées sur les murs extérieurs des temples. C’était très impressionnant, « ils sont chauds ces Indiens ».

Il y avait plusieurs positions, à plusieurs, en couple, homme femme tout ensemble et ceci sur les flancs des temples. Les sculptures montaient jusqu’à 10 mètres de hauteur.

Je ne suis pas un grand spécialiste du Kama Sutra, mais il y avait une multitude de positions représentées sur ces temples.

Des plus loufoques au plus traditionnelles, en sortant les gardiens nous ont regardé d’un air étrange, peut être encore en train de se dire que le blanc lui avait vraiment dit que sa copine était sourde et muette.

Khajuraho, India - Kandariya Mahadev Temple
..

Ils nous avaient bien sûr vu communiquer de loin, mais elle avait laissé le doute sur son origine, c’est pour cela qu’ils nous ont rien dit.

On allait de toute façon avoir le revers de la médaille, à un moment ou un autre.

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Khajuraho
photo by: Marusya