India is overflowing with legendary sights. The erotic temples of Khajuraho are no exception. They appear like a mirage out of the scrub brush, dust, and stunted trees of the arid plane. The audacity and lewdness of what the carving depict the temples is offset by the incredible quality of their craftsmanship and starkly contrasted beauty against the desolate surroundings.
The town is quaint and by Indian destination standards as small a village as you will find. Given the local economy relies almost completely on tourism the pace of commerce is surprisingly laid back and the locals are genuine and friendly.
We almost skipped Khajuraho but one of Val´s former, and favorite, teachers wrote us and demanded that we not miss it. We planned on only staying for a day but lingered for three. Perhaps it was the warmth of the people, the need to process all that we had seen in Varanasi, the overwhelming detail of the temples, or maybe just the incredible tandoori at Chicken Corner but we were sad to leave Khajuraho, and very glad we came.
Background on the temples: The Khajuraho temples were built over a span of 200 years, from 950 to 1150. The erotic sculptures were crafted by Chandella artisans. They are built from beautiful pink sandstone. No mortar was used in their construction, but rather mortise and tenon joints, this requires very precise and difficult craftsmanship. No one is quite sure what the sexual content means, but theories run amuck ranging from tantric lessons to bringing fertility to the land. Regardless of their intended purpose they are a beautiful sight to behold, but perhaps one best left to the adults. 🙂