Love and the Kama Sutra in Khajuraho, India
Mandi asked me if there was anywhere in India I really wanted to go. When I joined the trip, the itinerary was already planned, but there was still room for some changes. “Um… yes”, I said. “I want to go to that place with all the erotic carvings on the temples.” Because, is there any cooler historical site than 1,000-year-old naughty carvings?
Getting to Khajuraho
Khajuraho is kind of out of the way. It’s not really near anything else in India and not on any of the normal tourist paths. Once you get there though, you’re rewarded for going out of your way. Khajuraho is small. It’s not crowded. It’s relaxed, and there aren’t many tourists to fight for viewing space with.
We flew on a short flight from Agra on Air India, and left on an overnight train to Varanasi 2 days later. Our travel agent warned us that there was only 1 flight a day and it was very unreliable.
The airport in Agra was a military airport with only 1 civilian flight per day. Our flight was delayed many hours (and the airport even lost power a few times!) but in the end we still made it. Whew!
Khajurao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful, and it definitely felt like a break from the more lively parts of India.
There are two groups of temples (The Western group much nicer and more interesting than the Eastern group) that were built about 1,000 years ago. After a couple hundred years during Muslim rule they were left in neglect. Because Khajurao is so remote, they were not destroyed by the Muslims but instead were covered by forests over time.
While locals still knew about the temples, they were “rediscovered” in the 1830s.
Many of the carvings on the temple depict scenes from the Kama Sutra. In addition to heterosexual couples, there are also carvings of homosexual and group activities.
The Kama Sutra is not just a sex manual, but a “a guide to a virtuous and gracious living” according to Wikipedia and “instructions for being a loving and respectful spouse” according to our guide at the temples. It is understandable then, that the Kama Sutra was incorporated into the temple carvings. In addition, there are also carvings that depict what not to do. (These involve animals)
Khajuraho was one of my favorite parts of our month-long trip to India and Nepal!
Also, I think I’m switching religions.