Published: February 1st 2011February 1st 2011
DAY 24 1st February 2011
A short 5 minute drive took us to the temples in the centre of Khajuraho. They are laid out in lovely gardens and we wandered from one to the other, our guide filling us in on all the history and architecture. The Hindu temples date from the between the 9th and 10th Century and were built by the Chandela dynasty, who dominated central India at that time. They were abandoned in the 13th century and lay hidden in dense forest for 700 years and were rediscovered by Captain T S Burt from the Bengal Engineers in 1838 and are now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Over 800 sculptures cover the temples depicting gods, goddesses, beasts and warriors, sensuous maidens, dancers, musicians and erotic scenes for which the Temples are most famous.
Whilst we were there we witnessed an amazing sight – about four or five Indian Roller birds were soaring and swooping in some sort of mating ritual, dance, (appropriate for the setting!!!) – it was absolutely wonderful to see so much of that glorious florescent blue in their wings as they dived at each other! We were also lucky enough to see a couple of
Indian mongoose on the lawns as well.
A mile drive to Eastern Khujaraho to see the renovated 10th Century Jain temples, (where we also bumped into the Americans that were on our train yesterday!!) and then we asked our driver to drop us off in the centre of the village so we could have a wander around the market and the shops before going back to the hotel. We were immediately surrounded by people wanting to sell us erotic key rings and karma sutra packs of cards ( Chris declined all as he said he was too old!!) We did visit a few shops and still ended up buying a few bits and pieces before starting our walk back to the hotel, being followed by a couple of rickshaw drivers and two lads. The rickshaw driver (No 4) wanted us to book him for later but we didn’t want to make any definite arrangements and the two lads walked us back to the hotel, hoping that we could be persuaded to take a visit around their village and failing that would we give them 100 rupees!! Gave them 20 rupees and 2 pens – but I don’t think they were
Had a nice lunch in the hotel garden, and then walked around the extensive grounds, past the vegetable patch and the flower beds and along side the river. Sat on the hammock for the rest of the afternoon and relaxed as we are going to see a dance show later.
Our rep turned up at about ½ 4 for a last attempt to try and sell us tickets for tonights opening dance show at 600 rupees each but as the posters were showing tickets at 20, 50 or 100 rupees we decided to decline the offer!!
Thought we would try and get there a bit earlier than the start time of 19.00 so left the hotel about 17.30 where we were bombarded with rickshaw and tuk tuk drivers!! However, No 4 was there waiting for us, with his homemade rickshaw (he had been there all afternoon apparently!!) so we fixed a price of 150 rupee return and he set off. The rickshaw was homemade, not exactly comfortable but he set off at quite a pace and Chris only had to get off once to help him up a slope!!
When we reached the venue for the show
there were no tickets for sale as it had been sold out this afternoon....but there was a lot of Indian lads who had tickets for sale at 300 rupees each!! Anyway, there was a whole group of Koreans and a few other tourists, so we all stuck to our guns and refused to pay these prices. (We figured that the prices would go down once 19.00 had passed!!) There was a whole load of activity going on, with Government officials and the First Minister of the Region turning up, as well as the local fire engine!! A huge occasion for the village!!
The gates were heavily guarded, with armed Army Police so we just waited to see what would happen! One of the Koreans sussed it out and said that the Police would let us in about 19.15 for nothing and thats what happened....just a few at a time were allowed in...and eventually we both got in!! Then we got to another security barrier where they were asking for tickets and they definitely were not going to let us in for nothing so we ended bribing a ‘boy’ on the gate who was stood with more armed police and we
got in for 50 rupees each!!! What a palava!!! Watched the opening speeches and then about an hour of the classical Indian dancing before we had to go back to the hotel.
No 4 was waiting outside for us and off we went....about a 20 minute ride (Me and Chris both got our torches out and shone them behind us as the rickshaw had no lights!!) paid him 200 for his trouble.........and now sat waiting for a Rep to come and collect us to take us to the station for the overnight train to Varanasi!
There are more photos below