Solo Trip to Khajuraho (Part I)

Solo Trip to Khajuraho (Part I)

Khajuraho Shiva Temple, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
Many people ask me don’t you feel lonely while travelling solo? There are many things I feel when travelling solo, but loneliness is not one of them. Even when I am sightseeing or eating alone, I do not feel lonely. However, when you are travelling solo there is higher probability of meeting new and interesting people which is usually not the case when you are travelling with someone. I am not saying that travelling with family and friends is not fun but solo travel has its own experiences.
 
I took a solo trip to the temple town of Khajuraho in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh for 3 days and it added yet another memorable trip to my list. I met some wonderful people on each of those 3 days. I will take you through my stories from this trip in just a bit, but first let me tell you something about this town. 
Erotic Statues on Khajuraho Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

Known mostly as home to Kamasutra temples, Khajuraho is much more than just that. Infact erotic statues on temples account for hardly 5% of total statues, but our sex obsessed world and internet made me believe that it would sex positions on temple walls. Although, that was not my reason to visit Khajuraho, I wanted see this so much talked about town. Kahjuraho temples made between AD 900 and 1130 were far more progressive than our thinking today. May be we regressed as humans over time, I am not sure. I don’t know the exact meaning of having these statues on the walls but looking at all the statues collectively, they fit in very well as everyday life – Just like going to work every day, eating food, taking shower, and more.

Kandariya Mahadev, Temple at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
Khajuraho is among top 5 most visited sites in India, and it truly deserve the attention it gets. So let’s just stop propagating Khajuraho as Kamasutra Temples and experience them for art and architecture created by Chandela Kings centuries ago. And just as information, Kamasutra was written far from Madhya Pradesh in place called Patliputra (now known as Patna) in East of India.
 
These massive temple complexes are made with such finesse. One can only imagine the amount of wealth, creativity, engineering, mathematics, and labor that must have gone in building these expansive structures. One thing is for sure, India of that time was definitely a Golden Bird. And now I can vouch for Incredible India’s Madhya Pradesh campaign of Hindustan ka Dil Dekho (see the heart of India).
 
During Chandela dynasty, total of about 85 temples were built in the city of Khajuraho, of which only 22 survived over time – some were destroyed during Mughal rule and remaining stayed neglected till 19th century. These were taken over by forests and vegetation, over the period of time. They were re-discovered by a British traveler T.S. Burt in 1830s. 
Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
Temples in Khajuraho are divided in 3 groups – Western (largest cluster), Eastern and Southern group of temples. Western group of Temples are registered as UNESCO world heritage site (in 1986). These groups consist of Hindu and Jain Temples. You can find more information about each of these temples online, so I won’t get into more history here. I would write a separate post for temples of Khajuraho.
 
Now, I would share my stories from each day and people I met on this trip.

Day 1 – Hallo from Germany

Sharon, at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
I arrived in Khajuraho on the night of 16th August and reached my hostel at around 9:30pm. After all the formalities I entered my dorm and was greeted by Manpreet and Sharon. Manpreet asked me about my trip, purpose and if I was travelling solo. She then spoke to Sharon:
 
“Sharon, now you can tell your friend that you met not one but two Indian solo female travelers.”
 
“Yes yes, I will message him.” She replied.
 
Confused, I asked about the context to which Sharon told me about an Indian friend of hers who said that it’s not very often that you meet Indian solo female travelers. I went out to Raja Café for quick dinner before I dozed off for the night. Food was not too great but in following days I realized that it was the only place for some decent food in Khajuraho as many others were not operating – it apparently was off season.
Raja Cafe, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
I woke up next morning took a shower and started to put things in my day bag when Sharon came over and asked me:
 
“I am visiting the eastern temples, I have a cab. You can join if you want to.”
 
I was not aware that Khajuraho temples usually do not take too long to visit, so I had planned to visit the western temples only that day. She said I have just today in Khajuraho; I leave for Orchha tomorrow, so will be visiting western temples too in the afternoon. With this additional information, I joined her.
 
“Oh but I haven’t had breakfast yet, that might make you late.” I said
 
“It’s fine, you can have a quick bite somewhere and then we can go.” She replied.
 
We had breakfast and went around eastern temples clicking pictures and discussing about India and Germany. I did not even realize how this amazing day was passing by.
Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
Sharon is a student who after studying finance till masters’ level realized that she wants to learn about human psychology. She will now be studying exactly that in Dusseldorf. I was really impressed by her decisions. I am not sure if I told her that. She was in India to attend Yoga Instructor course in Rishikesh and travel to some other parts of the country. I totally loved her stories and the time I spent with her.
 
We had our lunch at Lassi Corner. Parathas and lassi both were good.
 
“Don’t look at the kitchen. Don’t look at the kitchen.” Sharon insisted.
 
She was just making sure that we ate at-least there.  It wasn’t her fault, I didn’t let her eat at another place earlier because I looked at the kitchen and changed my mind to order anything. After lunch I helped her buy some Indian sweets from a nearby shop. We then rested for some time in our hostel and then visited the western group of temples late in the afternoon. We clicked some amazing pictures and had more awesome conversations. 



Shiva Arti at Khajuraho Temples, Madhya Pradesh, India
We then attended Aarti at Shiva temple, only temple which is used for prayers even today. It was a nice ambience with all intruments played by various pleople . till we decided to eat dinner at Raja Café with backdrop of temples and retired for the night.
 
Auf Wiedersehen – we said our goodbyes the next morning and Sharon left for Orchha along with Manpreet.
 
Part II to come soon…

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