Monday, 21 May 2012


Mmm Internet. How rare of a resource it is in India.

The road to Khajuraho turns off the main "highway" and becomes a 4 lane divided road, with the outside lane mostly containing potholes or trees (yes, they built the road around the trees...). Along this road you pass by the new train station and the new airport. At the new airport however a car infront of me suddenly stopped in the lane and as I went to go around I saw a policeman walk in front with his hand out. OK we had to stop here, but why? Well, I still have no idea, we asked but got nothing decipherable in the reply. We were stopped for about half an hour as more and more cars lined up behind, and then bikes filtered through to the front, and then after a while bikes, then cars, tractors, and busses started to use the opposite direction lanes to try and get past. But this one policeman was having none of it, and just stopping anyone that tried to go past. The crowd started to join in too, yelling for people to stop, and then laughing when people tried to ignore the policeman. We tried asking a few people around why we were actually stopped here but none of them spoke English. Everyone wanted to look at the bikes so we had a crowd around us for a while like usual.

Eventually, something happened, no idea what, but some of the bikes took off, so I started mine and I raced off, only to be stopped in the middle of a lane by a cow further up. After my cow detour I raced on ahead again. Once you get close to Khajuraho the touts start appearing by the roadside, I stopped away from some to wait for the little red vespa to catch up and I noticed one of the touts running towards my bike. He got up to me and started his spiel about the hotel he wanted me to go to, I told him I didn't want a hotel but he kept going... So I started my bike and moved forward another 20 meters or so. Eventually drew caught up, but then this tout had also casually walked up beside me and started his spiel again (wow, I rode away to stop you, yet you come back? Nice sales tactic...).

Once we got into the centre of the cheap hotels we had a look at one the lonely planet had mentioned: Hotel Suyra. It sounded OK, we went and saw a room, negotiated a price down, but then when we asked about wifi apparently they didn't have the password, or the boss was the only one with it and he was away. Well that was the deal breaker so Drew went off to look at another one while I hung around the bikes to fend off the crowd of touts that had gathered. While Drew was off looking at Hotel Harmony the army of Hotel Suyra touts tried again and again to get us to stay. They gave more offers like 600R with free breakfast or some such, I wasn't listening to a lot of it. Then the best sales tactic they used was ask if I was the wife because I couldn't make the decision to stay at their hotel... Awesome work there Hotel Suyra, aiming for insults to get me to stay. Is there something they don't understand about marketing here?

Hotel Harmony turned out to be the winner, 400R for a very clean fan room with bathroom, and they "had wifi". The rooms felt cool after a days riding, and they were cooler than outside, but they stayed that temperature through the night so it was quite hot. The fan only seemed to have two settings: hurricane, and butterfly wings. Then we found out the wifi didn't work in the rooms or even at all. And it was 50R/hour to use and if no one was using it they would turn it off. Some times I would be up in the restaurant using it for about 5 minutes and then someone downstairs would come and turn the wifi off, I gave up most of the time. On leaving they tried to charge me for 10 hours of use, I told them I may have attempted to use it 10 times but it only worked very minimally during the 7 days in total we spent there.

So onto the 7 days! The first, or second, I can't remember now, we went out to see some of the eastern group of temples. We needed some transport out there so we went out to find some... Well after we expressed interest in using their services we were mobbed by touts, there were three of us (we roped in someone else we met) so there was a group of touts each offering different deals to each of us. In all the mass confusion we managed to get an air conditioned taxi to take us around for a dollar more than spine crushing tuk tuks were offering.

First up the eastern temples, which are the Jain temples I believe. I'm not the expert on this though.

Patchwork tiles inside one of the temples.

These were all painted white. I didn't get a photo of the outside.
It was a shoe free zone of course, so you had to dart across the hot stone floor of this temple to the shadows. Most of this temple was painted too.

Indian power safety.

Painted nude statue.

Well... This is an interesting exhibit.

The next temple in this group.

Some of the carvings on this temple. The figure on the left holding her leg is Parvati I believe.

Showing the two rows of carvings, and the top of the temple.

The next temple, this one was in the south. some of the top is unrestored. Makes me suspicious of how much of this is actually restored...

The carvings along one side.

One side with carvings.

The view from the front.

The southernmost temple on this loop.

The northern temple. The light bricks on the top are clearly restored...

Cow faces!

Inside one temple these were shiney from everyone touching them.

Carvings on the outside.

Inside the last temple!
And that's it for this day... It was a Saturday and the Formula 1 was on this weekend so we asked around to see if there was a bar somewhere with a TV where we could watch the qualifing and drink. We'd gathered one extra person, Peter from London who was also a Formula 1 fan. We took a tuk tuk round to the Raddison which was the only place that was suggested and drank very expensive beer (yes, I've forgotten how much it is in Australia) and watched a storm gather outside. Right as the qualifying was starting the cable TV dropped out, and it wasn't until an hour later that it was turned back on and of course that was when the qualifying was over. We missed the entire thing...

Oh well. We would all attempt to gather the next day to watch the race at the same place.

However... Here's were Drew and I got sick. Bad food poisoning. I could hardly move the next day, and the day after. I kept drinking water but couldn't eat anything. I didn't eat for 48 hours, and then only had one small meal the day after. It took many more days to recover to a point were it might be possible to ride out of here. Nepal has been beaten.

On the last night there I went over to actually have a look at the temples which were just down the road, still feeling unwell though. I managed to last around an hour and then felt too sick and had to get our of there and back to the hotel room to lie down.

Here's what I managed to see anyway...

Panorama view of one temple!

The tall temple sort of in proportion, but stretched out from how it was processed I guess...

Another panorama view, but squished...

Some of the old temple blocks are used to make the bases around these temples.


Boar temple. There was a Nandi temple too but I didn't go in because I started to feel sick.

The explicit carvings...

It's like a fractal!

So that was the Khajuraho temples... They were OK but nothing too impressive (you know, after Ankor Wat). A lot of it has been restored/replaced, and most of the outside looks brand new which is odd given that it is supposed to be over 1000 years old and was apparently in ruins when found. I wonder how many of these carvings are authentic, or even if the whole Karma Sutra thing is authentic and the intended use for the temples or added on as a tourist attraction...

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