Village Sojourn–Khajuraho

The next morning we headed to the airport.  We took a few goodbye pictures of the ‘highway.’

Enroute to the Varanasi airport.

Enroute to the Varanasi airport.

We saw many basket shops, but didn't stop to buy.

We saw many basket shops, but didn’t stop to buy.

Morning tea.

Morning tea.

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A view of the 'highway.'

A view of the ‘highway.’

Open road!

Open road!

A lot of road construction means a lot of piles of construction materials.

A lot of road construction means a lot of piles of construction materials.

We were pleased to find the 45 minute flight to tiny Khajuraho was in a nearly empty 737. Our stay was just about exactly 24 hours, there being one flight in, arriving midday, that turns around and heads back to Varanasi as the one flight out.

We knew it was a small town, with the only thing to do there being to visit the famous 25 Hindu temples and the hundreds of temple carvings which decorate them. This is, for India, a hamlet of 20,000 people. The hotel is 5 minutes from the airport. The temples are a 15 minute walk from the hotel–in the center of the commercial area. We heard birds singing. We had the window open in our room and it was silent all night. A heavenly respite from the commotion of every other place we have visited.

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Laundry by the side of the road.

Laundry by the side of the road.

Directly across from the hotel, a woman with her goats.

Directly across from the hotel, a woman with her goats.

Bustling metropolis of Khajuraho.

Bustling metropolis of Khajuraho.

The weather was cool and foggy when we arrived. After a fast lunch in the hotel we met our guide and went into town. The driver went about 5 mph in order to give the guide enough time to give us the necessary background for our visit to the two clusters of temples, one on either side of the central square about 5 minutes drive apart. It would be two minutes if there were a semblance of a street grid and a bit of paving.

You pay a very small fee and walk into a vast, green, quiet, clean park dotted with ornately carved temples, dating from the early tenth century and some decades thereafter, with one built in the early 1900s. Our guide was so talkative that he drove David a bit nuts, and we tried to absorb the torrent of dates, descriptions, and names. In truth all the talking, though enlightening, was a distraction from the amazing site. Khajuraho is famous for the many erotic carvings on almost every temple. These are a small percentage, however, of the many, many representations of daily life of which sex is just one aspect, and that was the idea.

Entering the temple park--clean and serene.

Entering the temple park–clean and serene.

Temples separated by lovely lawns and walkways.

Temples separated by lovely lawns and walkways.

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Most visitors are Indian.

Most visitors are Indian.

We not only loved the buildings, but were treated to the sight of three spotted owls sitting on a temple in the eastern group, as well as what we were told is a blue jay but nothing like our version, being bright blue and golden brown– beautiful.

We saw 6 owls in total!  This one threw up for us--but I wasn't quick enough with the camera!

We saw 6 owls in total! This one threw up for us–but I wasn’t quick enough with the camera!

I can see why the temples appeal to owls.

I can see why the temples appeal to owls.

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This is an Indian blue jay, they told me.  Gorgeous, large, in flight the wings are stunning.

This is an Indian blue jay, they told me. Gorgeous, large, in flight the wings are stunning.

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This is in the eastern group--much smaller and without a surrounding park.

This is in the eastern group–much smaller and without a surrounding park.

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With our free morning the next day we walked into town to wander the temples on our own. What a great idea this was–the sun came out, we wandered for several hours, taking a gazillion pictures.

The side of a huge boar is totally carved.

The side of a huge boar is totally carved.

Life scenes, thousands of them it seemed.

Life scenes, thousands of them it seemed.

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This peaceful park is adjacent to the bustling town.

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Dodging the touts (hawkers), we walked over to the oldest ruin that is outside the park.

There are several remaining lakes in the town.

There are several remaining lakes in the town.

This temple ruin is outside the park, about a 15 minute walk.  It is the oldest.

This temple ruin is outside the park, about a 15 minute walk. It is the oldest.

From these oldest ruins the main temple park is visible.

From these oldest ruins the main temple park is visible.

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Then we walked the 15 minutes back to the hotel to pee and check out.

As we zipped up our bags in the room and made to leave, David suddenly realized he had lost his glasses. Lost IN THE ROOM as he had been wearing them all morning and had removed them just to change into a short sleeved t-shirt.  We turned the room upside down. Removed everything from every bag. Looked under the bed. Repacked and then unpacked again. They were gone gone gone. Since we had to leave for the airport we went to the desk, concluding they had to be somewhere in the luggage since they were clearly not in the room. At the desk the manager asked about our stay, and David said, it was great except I have lost my glasses…about to add “if you find them…” The manager opened a drawer behind the desk and handed them to David. A guest had found them. Outside. Near the pool. Where we had NOT gone.

We have no idea how this happened but glad it all turned out just fine.

On to Delhi for one last taste, and then home.

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