Whooaaa there! I know what you’re thinking…… you dirt birds! When I say Kama Sutra, I mean to tell you about my trip to visit the temples of Khajuraho of course! The Complex is home to about 20 temples adorned with erotic sandstone sculptures. Built by both the Hindu and Jain religions, it is an example of the mutual respect and tolerance for alternative faiths in India. It is believed that there were once 85 temples on the site all carved with what can only be described as “inventive” positions. Every inch of every temple is etched with playful and creative art, some amusing, some enticing and some downright seedy! Whatever your take, you simply can’t deny that the skill and the art work is brilliant.
I would argue that it is among the greatest art that I have ever seen, especially considering that it dates back to 950AD. As you wander through the temples we were advised to walk with our right shoulder facing the temples as this is considered divine. I wandered around amazed by the carvings and was surprised to be told that only 10% of the sculptures contained erotic art. However it was the 10% that stood out. Extravagant, lovemaking couples, interlocked in inventive sexual positions, mischievous characters playing seductively and even some statues of helpers, assisting their masters into adventurous poses. There were even onlookers and naughty elephants peeking in on the scenes.
Our guide at the temple explained the builders of the temples believe that heaven could be reached through bodily enjoyment. The iconic symbolism throughout the complex are said to have inspired the Kama Sutra. They say on entering the temples you should leave all desires behind and it is true that it was a sense of curiosity that took over. A man standing with a tiny fold up table was selling various paraphernalia and copies of the Kama Sutra in multiple languages. Naturally I picked up a copy as a souvenir and left very intrigued by the idea that the people of Khajuraho were so liberal in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Panna Tiger Reserve
The next adventure was a Tiger Safari. This was a little bit of a luxury, in that it cost twice my daily spending budget but it was so worth it. In fact the lunch at the reserve would have been worth it! We arrived at the reserve and were asked for our passports before entry. This process felt like it took a very long time but we were eventually granted entrance and guided to a beautiful lakeside location to eat. A splendid feast was laid out and I am only sorry that I couldn’t eat more of it!
After lunch we were separated into open-top jeeps along with a driver and a guide and set of in search of tigers! At first, it seemed like seeing a tiger was unlikely. We saw owls, wild boar, deer and other animals. We stopped to see a crocodile from a distance and generally enjoyed driving around the national park at speed.
Suddenly two of the park employees wizzed past us and shouted something in Hindi. Our driver turned the vehicle and followed closely. We could sense the excitement and knew that there must be a tiger nearby. As we sat patiently waiting, I almost felt sick. I was terrified but so excited! Our guide stood on the seat of the jeep and grabbed me by the arm. A tiger!
The next thing I knew I was standing up holding onto the bar as the jeep bounced along the rough terrain. We saw not one, not two, but three tigers! I couldn’t believe our luck. We had not even been guaranteed to see one.
We were ecstatic heading back shouting “We saw three tigers!” at random intervals all the way back. I was so happy and exhausted that I barely noticed being eaten alive by mosquitoes that night and I forgot that we were heading for some 5 star luxury the next day!