Monday, August 18, 2008

Unveiling the Mystery

"…blah blah blah.. and blah…"

The guide kept his mono-drone on as background music as we scrutinized the enrapturing sculptures of the western temples of Khajuraho.

The Chandela dynasty which originated in the 10th century and ruled for a little over 500 years, brought the temples of Khajuraho alive with their taste for erotic art. As our eyes roved from one sculpture to another, one thought predominantly made its existence (also a big thanks for this thought goes to Krimson himself for voicing it loud again and again) – What were the rulers and the sculptors and architects really thinking or aiming to achieve with these depictions?

One very interesting tidbit from Mr. Guide himself was the introduction of the concept of the Tantric Cult. Supposedly, some glorious ruler belonged to this cult and it was his ardent devotion that led him to drive his sculptors into creating these magnificent monuments in tribute to the art of making love. The Tantric Cult essentially believed (perhaps still believes) that sexual gratification was a part of the path towards self-knowledge.

I could almost see the guys taking mental notes of this, so that they could google it up and perhaps if it still exists be a part of this cult!

What made the trip even more interesting was the story of its discovery – Khajuraho was unearthed from the clutches of an overgrown wilderness by a British ENGINEER called T S Burt, not an archeologist, but an engineer!!! And guess what?? He was actually offended by what he saw!! I suppose in 1800 such open acceptance of the Kamasutra would have been rare indeed!!

Interestingly enough, though the sculptures are quite bold - There is nudity – both male and female, kissing and fondling are commonly depicted, group sex is depicted: twosomes and threesomes, foursomes and fivesomes and on to orgies with ten or more participants… There are acts of sexual intercourse that appear to resist gravity; and there is occasionally bestiality portrayed at the temples – but nine out of every ten sculptures have absolutely nothing to do with sex! Honest!

Though the temples are ancient, they are very well preserved. They retain the aura of mythology and transport you straight back into time, in the prime reign of the Chandela Dynasty. There is a reason for this too!! Apparently the temples thus built, appeased the erotic nature of lord Indra, who supposedly has a voyeuristic streak and he took it upon himself to preserve the authentic nature of these temples!!!

Myths, tales and a kingdom full of magic… that's where we spend the first half of our day!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Khajuraho - an Introduction ;)

Refreshed from the trip to the misty mountains, the Krazy Krimson pair decided to explore some archaeological masterpieces in the land of erotic sculpture, Khajuraho.

Khajuraho literally translates into roots of a Date. A tiny little village-town buried somewhere in the depths of Madhya Pradesh, hibernating... waiting.. for that one foreign explorer to delight in its many temptations and excavate from the bosom of the thickest of jungles, the true expressions of unblemished love-making.

There are a million explanations for the erotic sculpting which adds grandeur to the sublime temples of Khajuraho. Some say, its because of the King and his disposition towards the carnal needs of human beings. Yet others say, that it was an attempt by the wise ruler of the Chandela dynasty to increase the population of the then minuscule kingdom of Chandela.

Loaded with information of this kind, we picked our bags and headed to the the station...

The journey began with an unwelcome experience in the Dakshin express, to Jhansi from Hazrat Nizamuddin. For those planning a trip between these locations, please stay away from this train. Even the second AC was stinking like an uncleaned Indian male public urinal spot.

Adaptable that we are, we reached Jhansi alive by 6am next morning. A friend of ours was waiting there with his bike for himself and his girl, and a rented car for us. We decided to bike down some parts of the way up to Khajuraho. The road was unexpectedly very good and the landscape was amazing. And the fresh contrast from the mountain landscape made this all the more refreshing for us. We eased to Khajuraho within 2 and a half hours and checked into Usha Bundela. An unexpectedly luxurious hotel for a price of less than 1.5 grands per night.

And then started are exploration of the erotic art of the Khajuraho Temples. We first visited the Western group of temples. And apart from all the temple watching the one thing thats worth talking about due to its sheer laughable worthlessness was the guide!

"This is Khajuraho, located in Madhya Pradesh, India."
Ya right! And we were wondering if we had reached some Indonesian heritage spot!!
The monotonous tone in which our guide began the most boring description possible of erotic art, temples, archaeological monuments, Kundalini Shastra etc., never picked up its tempo inspite of the apparent excitement of the objects being described.
His incessant stess on the fact that eroticism has nothing to do with ejaculation, but is primarily to conserve the root energy to awaken the "Kundalini", wasn't met with as much awe as he probably expected. Thus, the great raju "eroticism" guide shifted to his evidently practiced one-liners and quips that were only as exciting as a tea spoon in a tea cup, and wouldn't amuse even the little finger of my left hand.

To put it mildly, he was BAD. After describing a sculpture of a women pleasuring two men at the same time, he goes, in that much practiced crammed up fashion that'd put a 1st standard student in awe of him,"Oh! What a generous woman!"

And the one that really took the cake, was his one liner after having described a position where a single man, upside down, is pleasuring 3 women in one go. Mr guide goes, with a beaming smile brighter than the afternoon sun, "One man show!"


Inspite of such invaluable guidance, I got hooked on to the temples and wanted to explore more. But Krazy had some bamboo saree shopping in mind and the temple visits were put on hold for the next day.

To be contd. ...

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Fairy Tale Day

Rains and their magic! I could try and describe it in a million words and yet I would leave the feeling unjustified. How does one even begin to describe the innocent splashes of water which awaken the child in you? The raindrops crash on the grounds and scatter into a thousand pearls, inviting, no tempting the mature mind to give in to the mindless ecstaacy of non-sensical pleasures, once again.

Mr.Ahuja and Vivek

So after a hearty meal, in the very populated Atta corner of Noida, imagine my surprise when we walked straight into gales of winds and noisy rain. As the two men with me (Vivek and Mr. Ahuja) stared at the rain with very minor misgivings, my heart had begun to sing a tune in sync with the pattering rain. I grabbed Vivek’s hand and said, “Lets walk to the car!”

He looked at me and looked at the forty feet distance which separated us from the car. He narrowed his eyes as he screened the crammed parking lot to locate the exact location of the car. Pouring rains blanketed his vision and increased my delight.

“You got to be kidding!” He said to me. He took one look at the childish delight on my face and knew I was very serious about going out in the rains. Mr. Ahuja looked at me and then looked at Vivek and shook his head in complete disbelief. He then wisely pointed to the laptop Vivek was holding, reminding us that we could not possibly subject the IBM thinkpad to my childish rain fantasies.

Me and Vivek

Where there is a will, there is a way, or so I believe. A quick dip into the adjoining provogue store and sweet smile to a helpful sales guy procured us a sturdy plastic bag, which was the solution to the dry needs of the laptop.

I looked pleadingly at Mr. Ahuja and Vivek .

“What the heck?” and Mr.Ahuja led the way through the rains towards where he figured he had parked his car.

It was pouring cats and dogs and despite the short distance to the car, we were dripping the monsoons onto the crisp dry seats of Mr. Ahuja’s car. He being the sport that he is, just turned up the volume of the car deck to a very mushy number and zoomed us off on the drive homewards.

Mr. Ahuja and I

But it was the first rains in Delhi! Correction Noida. So obviously I could not sit at home, while the rain beat in all its glory. I coerced Vivek into going on this magical ride through the rain-clad Noida on the enfield.

And what a ride it was! My arm snugly wound around the man I love, the winds tussling my hair and the mild raindrops caressing my face, we sliced through the cold winds of a pleasantly gray city. Traffic had reduced to a sparse thread, everybody diving for cover from the maddening rains. Only the two of us seemed to appreciate its unobtrusive presence and welcome the bliss that the rains brought alongwith.

Cruising cascading we reached the Greater Noida Expressway. And as we gained speed on the flawless tar of the expressway…Phat! We had a flat tyre. As it was raining both of us had left our wallets behind and Vivek was at least smart enough to carry his cell phone!

Murphy Strikes on the Greater Noida Expressway

He promptly dials our helpline- Mr. Ahuja. After a set of very confused directions, we settle down to await his arrival. I could no shake the feeling that Mr. Ahuja would indeed be very bugged with me for ruining his perfect Saturday! Not only do I drag him to a two and a half hour coffee session, I make him get wet in the rain, drip all over his car and when just about he is settling down to find some peace, I pull him out to help us again!!

I looked at Vivek. He was bone tired. This was supposed to be his day of relaxation too! And here he was indulging my childish fantasies about rains and bikes and not saying one word about it. Is it a wonder then that I love this guy so much?

It was drizzling mildly even now. We were parked to the side of the massive expressway. I was thinking of ways to get us out of this predicament, when a very helpful gentleman handed us the number of a guy who would come on the highway and fix the flat tyre for us. There followed another series of phone calls, underlined with relief.

We did call Mr. Ahuja, who was well on his way, but what do we do after he arrives? So the puncture-guy was actually a blessing in disguise. As we now awaited both MR. Ahuja and Mr. Puncture-guy I sat down on the low curb behind the bike. Darkness was slowly rolling in and horror stories of highway mishaps were rearing their ugly heads in my mind.

Vivek was always close by coordinating on the phone. Finally the puncture guys arrived. There seemed to be more than just a flat tyre to the bike, the tube of the bike had given up on us. I fervently awaited Mr. Ahuja’s arrival. I did not like the puncture guy and I did not want to scare Vivekby voicing my dislike. I mean there were these two guys in the middle of nowhere with us, who we knew nothing about, how much does one trust them?

My evil mind was even painting scenarios of a very malicious nature, with help from my imagination. Thank heavens Vivek is not privy to these thoughts of mine.

The Heroes of the day!
The arrival of Mr. Ahuja hence remains as the arrival of the ‘Knight in shining armor’ who came to the rescue of my prince and me. A quick fix to the tyre and we were back on the roads once again, only this time I was ensconced in the car, with Mr. Ahuja at the wheel.

Not about to let a flat tyre bog us down, we took a pit stop en route home, to fuel ourselves with mouth-watering gol gappas!

Rains…??? I love rains!!