Situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is home to yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the famous temple complex. Build between 500 and 1300 CE out of Sandstone, there were originally 85 Hindu temples. Sadly only 22 remain. The area has temple ruins scattered everywhere but the ones inside the temple complex have been beautifully preserved.
The temple walls are covered in beautiful, intricate carvings representing everyday life (including sex), gods and goddesses and animals. Each temple roof rises steeply into the sky and is said to symbolise the cosmic mountain, Mount Kailasha.
After we visited the temple complex we made our way to the Jain temples. They look exactly the same from the outside except they have no Tantric carvings. We were allowed to go inside one of the temples still being used today and took some photos of the Tirthankaras (saints). The Tirthankaras look a lot like Buddha, except that they are completely naked.
We also stopped by a workshop where local men are creating replicas of the images found on the temples. They use traditional methods to make them. Sadly we couldn’t bring any of them with us as they were quite expensive (they’re entirely carved by hand) and quite heavy. Mostly it was a weight issue but I think hubby was relieved he wouldn’t have to hand over the credit card.
By the time we finished our visit it was early evening. At the hotel we made a beeline for the swimming pool. We were staying at one of the Taj hotels so it was quite luxurious. The dip in the pool was really nice and cool and we decided to enjoy the thunder and lightning show with a Kingfisher beer by the poolside.
The next morning we headed for the local village. We were lucky enough to get a guide to take us through the beautiful village. We were invited into one of the homes of a Brahman family.
Initially the different coloured houses depicted which caste you belonged to. Our guide, who lives in the village, told us that today the colours can be used by anyone. But the water pumps and some of the shrines and temples are still restricted to certain castes. Outside the doors we noticed some writing. Apparently it was a way to keep track of which kids had been vaccinated and when.
After our visit to the village it was time to head back, pack, get an early lunch and head out to the airport. We took a quick dip in the pool and took our sandwiches as takeaway to eat at the airport. They packed them in a cake box complete with condiments and chips!
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Pradeep. We had gotten used to having him with us every day and he really looked after us. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to survive without him. He found Hubby highly entertaining. Every morning while driving, Hubby would try and figure out which direction we were going in. Inevitably he would get it wrong and Pradeep would correct him politely, but with a smile.
Khajuraho airport is tiny, not well air-conditioned and not particularly clean. Our flight was delayed so we tucked into our sarmies from the Taj hotel. They were absolutely delicious and probably the best sandwich I’ve eaten.
After the standard extensive airport security screening, we finally boarded our flight for the shortest plane ride we’ve ever had. Before we knew it, we arrived in Varanasi, one of the most holiest cities in India…