Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey

North India: Gallery 24
(Part I from Canon Camera 1)

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 April 18th: Breakfast by 7 and left at 8 am for Khajuraho: Name means Date Palm Path. In the past, the entire area was coveed by thousands of date palms. These have mainly disappeared because people have cut the trees for fuel. It was a 2.5 hour drive to this location, which is famous for its temples with Kama Sutra-style carvings. It washot when we arrived to meet up with our local guide. Parakrum gave us some information which was augmented by the guide. These are a few of the temples that survived destruction by invaders. They are listed as a UNESCO site - The Western Temples. 

The main temple, on the first platform, has the erotic carvings, depiciting various poses, (and the guide had some funny terms for the poses - buy one get one free for the 3-some, Monkey Business, etc.) some are about 3 feet tall, while others are small as “divider rows” which depicted mainly other characters, elephants in training, etc. With the larger characters, there are smaller ones beside them. These are the servants.

After climbing to the first platform we had to take out shoes off as it is a temple. The ground was quite warm on bare feet! The first part is called the Entrance Hall, which is a narrow hallway to the "dancing platform". It’s about 8'x 8' . The next is the prayer / contemplation Area, smaller than the dancing platform. 

Finally, stepping into a small room with an idol is the Inner Sanctum. Around the first platform is erotic life - filled with desire, passion, orgasm. The inner sanctum is Spiritual Enlightment - fulfillment without orgasm... LOL! The guide had a mirror that refelcted the sun - as a laser pointer to highlight the specific carving he wanted to talk about.

After his talk, we had free time to check out the other two smaller temples. It was so hot, and these two were quite similar, so we did a walk about the base of the larger one without climbing. The highlight was the huge bouganvilla on the grounds. We walked back to the cafeteria and bought some souvenirs, drinks and cashews. The cash guy was not happy to take the bill with a slight tear at the crease. But Sue-On insisted that she didn’t have any other, so it was either that or no sale. He mumbled to his cohorts and finally took the money.

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres southeast of Jhansi. They are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures. The temple site is within Vindhya mountain range in central India. An ancient local legend held that Hindu deity Shiva and other gods enjoyed visiting the dramatic hill formation in Kalinjar area.The temple complex reflects the ancient Hindu tradition of building temples where gods love to play.

The temples are clustered near water, another typical feature of Hindu temples.

Khajuraho is one of the four holy sites linked to deity Shiva.

The Khajuraho temples feature a variety of art work, of which 10% is sexual or erotic art.

James McConnachie, in his history of the Kamasutra, describes the sexual-themed Khajuraho sculptures as "the apogee of erotic art":
    "Twisting, broad-hipped and high breasted nymphs display their generously contoured and bejewelled bodies on exquisitely worked exterior wall panels. These fleshy apsaras run riot across the surface of the stone, putting on make-up, washing their hair, playing games, dancing, and endlessly knotting and unknotting their girdles.... Beside the heavenly nymphs are serried ranks of griffins, guardian deities and, most notoriously, extravagantly interlocked maithunas, or lovemaking couples."

The temples have several thousand statues and art works.

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Arrival at the Temple Complex



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