Monday, July 28, 2014

Khajuraho - Mystic Land Of Kamasutra

Day 20 Panna to Khajuraho

Distance: 40 km

Road condition: Very good.

Khajuraho is a wonderland of 85 magnanimous temples built by Chandela Rajputs in a short span of 100 years. Modern buildings built by highly qualified engineers with concrete and steel are unable to withstand natural calamities and crumble down like a house of cards. However, these ancient monuments have stood the test of time, the plunder, ravage and attack and continue to amaze us till date, attracting hoards of tourists from across the globe. These monuments have put India on the world map.

Monumental Architecture
These marvels were built with sandstone without using water. Each block is meticulously hand-placed in a way that nothing but gravity holds them together for all these centuries and many more to come. Undoubtedly, the architect must have been a math wizard and an engineer's engineer. The monuments stand tall today showcasing the skilled labor and hard-work of several thousand sculptors.

Life in every form and mood has been captured in stone. The much talked about erotic art comprises only 10% of all the sculptures. The primary focus of the temple art is day to day events, women admiring their body, applying sindoor, droplets of water on sur sundaries, people merry making, men marching to war, love marks left behind post an intense love making session.

Some of the intricate carvings have not only depicted various intense lovemaking sessions, but have also gone to the extent of portraying bold concepts such as bestiality.

Be sure to pay close attention to the carvings as they all have a story to tell. One such story is of a naughty elephant among a group of elephants who is not able to keep his eyes off a couple indulged in an act of love.

Of the original 85 temples only 22 have endured the ravage. They are divided into 3 groups, Western, Eastern and Southern.

Western group is the largest and most iconic among the 3. There are 10 temples within the compound, of which 'Kandariya Mahadeo' dedicated to lord Shiva is the tallest and most magnanimous. The peaks towering 31m high resemble the mighty Himalayas, the sculptors have gone to great length to bring life to these stones. Every inch of the temple compound is a treat to your eyes, the architecture is mesmerizing.

Audio tours are made available in multiple languages by Audio Compass. The quality of the products are good. There are guides available. However, taking an audio tour is best as you can be lost in that era for as long as you wish. It takes good 3 hours to cover the complete tour. The temples are open from 6 am to 6 pm.

The sound and light show is conducted here. There are 2 shows - one in English (7.30pm) and one in Hindi (8.40pm.) The show takes you back to the Chandela dynasty. It paints a live picture of the rise, fall and reinvention of the mystic Khajuraho temples.

Eastern & Southern Group: These are not as massive as the Western group but there has been no compromise made when it comes to the exquisite and brilliant carvings. Eastern group comprises of  3 temples - Brahma, Vamana & Javari.

Southern temple is dedicated to Shiva (Duladeo) and Vishnu (Chaturbhuj.) The Chaturbhuj temple is famous for its 15 ft high Vishnu Idol in the sanctum.

Eastern & Southern Group are usually missed out by the tourists, finding these groups can also be quite challenging as there is no proper signage. Ask for Gandhi chowk and the monuments are only a kilometer away. There is no entry fee to visit these monuments.

Do not miss out on the other hidden treasures, en route Chaturbhuj temple we stumbled upon a sign board mentioning a recently excavated Shiva temple - Bijamandal temple. An unpaved and narrow road lead us to a hillock and there stood the remains of a 10th century Shivling. It was quite a sight and is believed that Khajuraho has hundreds of other temples dated prior to the 10th century, that are waiting to be excavated.

Folk dance and cultural events are organized by MPTDC everyday at 7 & 8.15 pm at their regional office. They showcase the culture of MP, the music is good, sound system is OK. The performers do a fabulous job, the acrobatic performance is commendable. The colorful clothing & lights are a treat to your eyes.

UNESCO heritage monument Khajuraho is truly a treasure trove and filled with hidden mysteries. One of the temples depict the peaceful coexistence of various religions.

We checked into Tourist village run by MPTDC. Service and food is very good, the property is centrally located with all attractions within 2 km radius.

Khajuraho deserves an exclusive photo blog!

Leaving the mystic land behind we head to Orccha.