Friday, August 21, 2009

Karma sutra in Khajuraho

Before I came back to Bhawanipatna I went on a quick jolly to Khajuraho in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The town is considered to be one of the “seven wonders of India” as it has some of the best examples of medieval temples which are particularly famous for the erotic sculptures. It’s a difficult place to get to – one train a day leaves Khajuraho Station but there are no scheduled in-bound ones – how the outward one gets there in the first place is anyone’s guess. I went with another volunteer, Judith and, as with Varanasi, Jharkand and Rajasthan last year, it was nice to be a tourist again. We ambled round the beautifully tended grounds that the temples are located in and I was grateful to Judith for pointing out the famed sculptures of the various karma sutra positions – they look huge in the pictures but in reality they are nestled amongst a multitude of other intricately-carved figures. There are many stories of why such explicit representations were incorporated, including showing the population what they shouldn’t do, but the story I was given, by my self-appointed personal guide, was that the local kings felt it was important for the population to understand how they could achieve spiritual enlightenment by incorporating such activity into their daily lives. There are various levels of difficulty portrayed - each one designed to bring you and your partner closer to achieving the perfect state of mind and body. My guide was keen that I also experienced such enlightenment. Maybe he could give me a hands-on, practical demonstration? I declined - not least because he couldn’t have been more than 18 - and, having extricated myself from that little proposition, we cruised round the touristy shops – I bought another carpet that I don’t need – and then had supper over-looking the floodlit temples in the main site. It was well worth the journey and as I proceeded to Orchha for a conference, I felt relaxed and … well … enlightened if not spiritually then at least personally. Click here to see where Khajuraho is. Click here for more photos

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