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Old 4th November 2011, 15:33   #46
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

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Originally Posted by bilalsyed View Post
Indeed sir. I am a lucknowite but here in chennai :( I'd have loved to show you around this magnificent city also called Shiraz-e-Hind.

Mayawati lucknow Is great ! but the old Lucknow food is ooh-la-la ! please Do visit my school La Martiniere College, Lucknow if you get time. Its the only school in India with battle honors given by the Queen herself.

and yes "Muskuraiye Kyunki aap lucknow mein hain"
Bilal bhai,

Lucknow is unfortuantely underrated on the tourist circuit. It is a place where one can spend a complete day seeing the sights, eating the avadhi/lucknowi food and buying Lucknowi stuff like Chikan. Add to that what Mayavati has built - debates apart - which is amazing, you need another day!! You need time to get soaked in "City of Adabs"

I like the river front garden done by Lucknow Muncipal corporation. I don't want to give away secrets now itself before i reach your city.
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Old 4th November 2011, 19:27   #47
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Default Sights of Sanchi......continued

The East Thorana

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Temple 17 - A rare temple of Gupta era

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Temple 17 and 18

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Sculpture of Nagi with Stupa 3 in the background

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Stupa 3

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Stupa 3 from close

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The broken pieces of Ashoka pillar. The polishing of the pillar is so good - looks like it is machine polished - it amazes me at the skills of these pepole in 3rd century BC. The Lion capital - national emblem -which was on top of the pillar is safely displayed in Sarnath Museum now.

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The staue of Buddha. The Afternoon lighting was perfect!

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Sanchi is very well maintained by ASI and is not to be missed. The museum is fantastic with rare sculptures of Buddha and Ashoka’s lion. We are not allowed to take pictures. The sculptural heritage of this country is so phenomenal it fills you with lot of pride. One can also see gradual the refinement of these sculptures from Gupta - Ashoka times of 3rd century BC to Chalukya/Pallavas of 6-7th century to medieval times of 12-15th century of which Khajuraho in the north, Belur-Halebidu-Hampi in the south along with Chola temples.

The Sanchi Musuem (picture downloded from Web)

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For people who want to stay in Sanchi, MPTDC has good hotels here. I happenned to see a charming British era circuit house opposite the museum which is worth checking out.

We depart Sanchi and as we reach Vidisha, the miserable road conditions start. We check the road conditions to Udaipur caves from locals and the answer is negative. We drop the idea of going there lest we would have lost an hour. We felt sad to miss the famous sculpture of Varaha in one of the caves.

From now onwards we are to experience worst drive of the whole trip. This is worse than the Manali – Leh road we had done last year. This is supposed to be a NH. We have to really search for the road on this stretch of NH. It takes us five and half hours for 120 KMs. The pathetic road also ensured that we don't dare visit monuments at Gyraspur.

I had to meet a friend - my army batch mate after 25 years - in Sagar. Earliest we could have left Sagar would have been 9 PM. We check with locals how the condition of NH after Sagar. We hear that it is as bad as the one we had driven from Sanchi. We decide against travelling at night on such road and decide to stay put in Sagar. Thus our plan to stay in Alipura Palace in Chattarpur becomes a casualty.

NH 86 also known as "Misery"

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Paradise looks to be the only decent hotel in this dusty/dirty town. The place from outside looked fine and we enter the hotel, we could see pan stains in the corners. We take “Deluxe room” which is very spacious and bath room OK. My friend joins us for a drink and we spend the evening talking about nostalgic memories.

We lose half a day to due to bad roads and we abandon the plan to stay in Chhattarpur. With this kind of roads, we did not want to take the risk of driving at night. We plan is to leave early next day – 6 AM – so that we can reach Khajuraho by lunch. We go to bed around 11 PM and hope to get some good sleep. That is not to be. We toss and twirl and catch some winks. In the morning I see some blood stains on the sheets My guess comes right and bed bugs had a ball in the night at the cost of our sleep!!

We check with the guy handling reception about alternate road and he suggests going via Lalitpur – Tikamgarh as the road is excellent though we had to an extra distance of 80 KMs. We did not want to experience yesterday’s misery of driving on bad roads.

And the journey continues……..

Next stop ......Spellbinding and Sensual KHAJURAHO.
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Old 4th November 2011, 21:36   #48
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Cool Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Bilal bhai,

Lucknow is unfortuantely underrated on the tourist circuit. It is a place where one can spend a complete day seeing the sights, eating the avadhi/lucknowi food and buying Lucknowi stuff like Chikan. Add to that what Mayavati has built - debates apart - which is amazing, you need another day!! You need time to get soaked in "City of Adabs"

I like the river front garden done by Lucknow Muncipal corporation. I don't want to give away secrets now itself before i reach your city.
Agreed. A week is the minimum But its a fab place and you are going to enjoy every bit of it. Mayawati Lucknow is worth seeing in the night. Lights, music fountains I can bet someone who lands up in that part of town now after being away for 15 years.. will go into shock !!

Lucknow walon ki taraf se, Lucknow ki sarzami pe, ham aapka tah-e-dil se Isteqbaal karte hain..

P.S: don't miss the 5 star Guard rooms Maya didi has made for her security guards.
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Old 8th November 2011, 16:29   #49
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Default Day 6 (29 Sep) - Khajuraho - Sensual Poetry in Stone!

Total Distance - 352 KMs
Departure time -6.30 AM (Sagar)
Arrival time - 1 PM (Khajuraho)
Road condition - Mixed
Breaks - Tikamgarh for tea (15 Mins)
Max speed - 130 KMPH on NH 26 (I never crossed this limit throughout the trip)
Best stretches - Sagar - Lalitpur (only on NH 26), Tikamgarh - Chattarpur
Worst - Few KMs after Sagar Town and Tikamgarh Town

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As planned we got up early and hit the road around 6.30 AM. We did not want to go through the hell known as NH 83 and followed the advice by the hotel guy to go via Lalitpur – Tikamgarh. Staying in Alipura Palace was ruled out as we did not want to take a chance of driving back and forth of 65 KMs – the distance between Khajuraho and the hotel. Our plan to stay in Alipura was with an assumption that the road condition will be good. Our experience of driving on NH 83 was good enough to not trust MP roads.

The road from the hotel to bye- pass – a distance of 15 KMs - was horrible. As we neared the bye pass, the small road connecting the high way was still worse. Thanks to Scorpio with good GC we were able to hit the high way.

From now onwards it was a pleasant drive till Lalitpur. The sun was coming out and the cattle were out of their sheds and on to the road. There were hundreds of them on the road and this invariably acted as speed breakers. Add to that the villagers virtually occupy one portion of the highway to dry their produce. I remember J Ravi writing about it in his TL – Leh in Linea – and I am not sure why the authorities have allowed this to happen. There is no traffic on this stretch of road but that does not mean that the villagers have to take over the road.

Cattle moving for their daily routine early in the morning

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Mounds of farm produce left for drying on the road

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We crossed Tikamgarh and now we were on a single lane road. Damaged in some parts due to rain, it was manageable as there wasn’t much traffic. After fifteen KMs, the road changed into a fantastic two lane road till Chattarpur. The landscape was green – thanks to rain – we crossed many rivers flowing full.

Betwa river

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On the way we noticed this beautiful fort in Baldevgarh. It looked lovely with cupolas open to sky reminding the architecture of Mandu. I was not sure what was inside the fort, who was taking care of it. The local said that the fort is still held by the Maharaja of Baldevgarh. I am sure that this would another place to visit in future.

Baldevgarh fort from a distance

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The road from Chattarpur to Khajuraho was getting re-laid and that slowed us down considerably as traffic also increased. We were now used to bad roads and after driving on NH 83, any road looked good. The last fifteen KMs before Khajuraho was an excellent double lane road.

On the previous day, we had called up Taj Chandela and had got good bargain – there seems to be heavy competition amongst the star hotels who want to catch the guests. All major brands except Oberoi and Leela are here. Being start of the season and a week day we were able to strike a good deal. As we checked in, the front office manager had pleasant news. They had upgraded us to a suite!!

The suite was fabulous. We freshened up and came over to the restaurant. Had real good lunch – we had not had breakfast – and the preparation was excellent. A bit of rest, we were ready to leave to see the western temples at 4 PM. It was pretty hot out there even in Oct.

The temple complex is at a distance of 1 KM from the hotel. Khajuraho is a small town. There are three temple complexes in Khajuraho.

a)Western group – the largest and most artistic

b) Eastern group

c) Southern group

Most of the visitors come to see Western group. If one has time one can also visit the other groups as well. We could only visit the western group of temples as it got dark.

When we speak about Khajuraho, first thing that comes to our mind are the erotic sculptures. No doubt, there are. But Khajuraho is much more than that. The temples are massive, sculptures are refined and graceful. I can say it is “Elegance personified”. The most beautiful sculptures in Khajuraho are those of “Sura Sundaris” or “Apsaras”, Gods and Goddesses including dikpalakas and the erotic ones. In between you will find sculptures – specailly around the plinth – depicting the general life of the time and also those of animals. It is just magnificent!!

The erotic sculptures are not gross and emit exuberant grace. The refinement is so good that you can actually see rare sensitivity and warmth of emotion on the face of the loving couples. Though there are many interpretations as to how these sculptures came into being. Whatever is the interpretation of the erotic scenes sculpted on the walls of temples of Khajuraho, there is certainly nothing sordid or coarse about them.

As one of the eminent art historian Krishna Deva says

“The sculptural art of Khajuraho surpasses the medieval school of Orissa in revealing sensuous charms of the human body. Inspired by an ecstatic joy of living and consuming passion for physical beauty, the artists of Khajuraho reveled in admiring human body, displaying it from the most fascinating angles – fine profiles, unusual three quarter profiles and back views.

These sculptures are justly famous for their remarkable vitality”

(Quoted in the excellent monograph published by ASI on Khajuraho in association with Eicher which we picked up in Sanchi. ASI has come out with an excellent series of monographs on World heritage sites in the country)

In the words of Louis Frederic, the eminent French historian who has authored an excellent book titled KHAJURAHO with Raghu Rai.

"One is overwhelmed by the number and beauty of the sculptures on the outer walls of the Khajuraho temples. It is curious to see how the artists have composed their works - humans as well as divinities, single or in couples....."

It also reminded me of the famous Kannada poem by the great poet KUVEMPU which he wrote after visiting the World heritage Site of Halebidu in Karnataka
(translated from Kannada by me)

Oh thy visitor
Step into this temple with folded hands
this is not just "stone"
but a fine web of art!

I will now take you through the spell binding spectacle called Khajuraho!!

Let us explore the temples in Western group.....the Grandest.

The layout of the complex

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Lakshmana Temple - The first temple in the complex

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Eastern elevation of Lakshmana temple - Notice the row of elephants at the plinth

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Sculpture on the walls of Lakshmana temple

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Entrance thorana of Lakshmana temple

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The staue of Ganesha on the walls of Lakshmana temple

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The shikara – tower – of Matangeshwara temple. This is the only living temple.

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Varaha temple with exquisitely carved massive Varaha

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Kandariya Mahadeva temple as seen from Lakshmana temple

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Kandariya Mahadeva and Jagadambika temple complex with a small ruined Shiva shrine in the middle

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Kandariya Mahadeva temple in full glory

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Khandariya Mahadeva temple – the grandest in Khajuraho. Notice the cascading shikaras.

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Shiva shrine

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Kandariya Mahadeva temple with Jagadambika temple
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Chitragupta temple

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Jagadambika temple with mythical beast in the foreground

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Vishwanatha temple as seen from Chitragupta temple

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Vishwanatha temple

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In front of Vishwanatha temple

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Nandi shrine in front of Vishwanatha temple

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Parvathi shrine

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New temple built during the last years

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to be continued.....Surasundaris, Apsaras and Kamasutra in stone!!!
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Old 8th November 2011, 17:01   #50
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

As is my wont, I had completely missed this superb thread earlier. Fantastic. Speechless with the photographs.
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Old 9th November 2011, 11:19   #51
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

Quote:
Originally Posted by bilalsyed View Post
Agreed. A week is the minimum But its a fab place and you are going to enjoy every bit of it. Mayawati Lucknow is worth seeing in the night. Lights, music fountains I can bet someone who lands up in that part of town now after being away for 15 years.. will go into shock !!

Lucknow walon ki taraf se, Lucknow ki sarzami pe, ham aapka tah-e-dil se Isteqbaal karte hain..

P.S: don't miss the 5 star Guard rooms Maya didi has made for her security guards.
So these guards are really lucky!! BTW what she has done to build those parks etc is phenomenal. It will become a tourist attaraction on its own. Hopefully they will be well maintained. In future. Someone in Lucknow should start a "Heritage walk" like we have in different cities today. I happenned to see many nice british bungalows in the citystill standing.
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Old 9th November 2011, 15:18   #52
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

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Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
So these guards are really lucky!! BTW what she has done to build those parks etc is phenomenal. It will become a tourist attaraction on its own. Hopefully they will be well maintained. In future. Someone in Lucknow should start a "Heritage walk" like we have in different cities today. I happenned to see many nice british bungalows in the citystill standing.
We have this heritage walk but its mostly through the older part of town. The Sad part is that builders are breaking down old british bunglows "Havelis" as we call and building apartment. One of our family frnds were asked to vacate their 100 year old well maintained mansion to make space for IIPM !!

There is a building called "Hawai jahaz wali kothi" it has the front end of an aircraft fixed to the top of it. will post pics once i get hold of em
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Old 11th November 2011, 08:04   #53
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Default Khajuraho - Surasundaris, Apsaras and Kamasutra in stone!!

Exploring Khajuraho is exciting indeed. As I mentioned, the frieze of sculptures on the walls of these temples are astonishing. The artists have not left any place blank and have filled them with exquisite work.

As a plan you normally see the depiction of village life on the plinth - it may be groups of people celebrating during festivals etc. However the main walls are resplendent with most beautiful sculptures of Surasundaris, Apsararas, Gods, Goddesses, Couples in love and of course the erotic sculptures. In short, each niche holds a sculpture or a group, women and lovers, or the figure of a divinity.

The beauty of these panels is the sculptures are all dispersed and if someone thinks that all “erotic” sculptures can be found on one wall, he will be dejected! In fact, you have to really look out for these erotic sculptures hidden amongst other forms. Only in Kandariya Mahadeva temple, left and right walls have three such sculptures in the centre. The refinement of these sculptures is so good that it seems like a precursor to the magnificent Hoysala Temples in Karnataka where the artistry reached the zenith.

“Amorous and erotic couples include some of the finest sculptural compositions of Khajuraho, vibrating with rare sensitiveness and warmth of human emotion. Most of these couples are distinguished by an expression of intense absorption and rapture, which transcends from physical to spiritual plane” – Quoted in the ASI monograph

Now over to the visual treat.......

Frieze of sculptures on the wall of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple – Notice different forms – Erotic, Surasundaris, Divinities and mythical beasts jostling for space

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Another example of artistic panel in Kandariya Mahadeva temple – Look at the left corner of first row from bottom to see beautiful Surasundari removing a thorn from her feet . Also notice the depiction of village life different forms in small size in a row at plinth

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The corner filled with different figurines – no blank space to waste!

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Eastern corner in Kandariya Mahadeva temple – Everyone gets their due. Notice pillars which are adorned by beautiful sculptures of Ganas lifting it as support

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A beautiful frieze in Vishwanatha temple - Notice the depiction of village life different forms in small size in a row at plinth

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A beautiful frieze in Kandariya Mahadeva temple – The mythical beast takes central place. Normally you find animal figures in the corner niches

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An array of sculptures at the entrance of ruined Shiva temple

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Shiva – Parvathi with Nandi

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Ganas supporting a pillar

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Mystical beast and maiden – what is she up to?

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Surasundaris and Apsaras

Surasundari – Kandariya Mahadeva temple

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Surasundari with mirror – notice the adornment and refinement of lines
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Surasundari removing thorn from her feet along with her child – Look at the concentration on her face!!

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Surasundari undressing - Notice the beautiful Mithuna sculpture next to her and read the quote from ASI monograph again. It is all beauty here!

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Surasundari undressing – Elegant! It can’t be more explicit than this!!

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to be continued....Kamasutra in stone!!
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Old 12th November 2011, 18:28   #54
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Default Kamasutra in stone - sensual erotic poetry!

Khajuraho temples are well known for their erotic sculptures. These sculptures are uninhibited. There are couples making love. Groups involved in sexual activity. Animals too become part of the ritual. Anything goes but it is never depicted in a coarse and ugly manner. For Indians in those ages, Kama was one of the "Purushartha" for attaining moksha.

As we were going around, an indian guide accompaying an aged English couple was explaining these sculptures. After giving all the details, he said

"Don't try to experiment these positions. It is not possible at your age!!!!"

The couple laughed it away.

Here is the sensual poetry in stone!!

A frieze in Kandariya Mahadeva temple

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Another array of sculptures in the same temple

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Another array of sculptures in the same temple

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Erotic sculptures from close quarters!!

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Mithuna sculptures - Couples in love

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Group rituals

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to be continued......more Surasundaris and Khajuraho @ Sun set!!
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Old 13th November 2011, 21:24   #55
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

aaaha !! This thing is going great with a lot of awesome pics Waiting for more sir..
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Old 14th November 2011, 14:13   #56
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Default More Surasundaris, Mithunas and Sunset @ Khajuraho

Surasundari disrobing!

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Surasundari applying Henna to her feet - Very beautiful. Look at the details in the sculpture!

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Surasundari painting the wall

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A beautiful sculpture of a Surasundari - look at the curves!!

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Two Surasundaris

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Couples in Love - Mithuna

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Sex among the same gender was not a taboo then!!

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Scenes on the plinth which generally depict day to day life in society

Horse riders

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Elephant taming

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A scene @ Gurukul

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Procession of Musicians

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Life in Khajuraho

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Apart from the sculptures of Surasundaris, couples, erotic postures and mythical beasts, you will also find those of hindu gods and tirthankaras. I was surpised to spot this beautiful Yama sculpture in Jagadambi temple

Yama - god of death!

Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh-youarehere..1169298600.yama1.jpg

Tirthankara

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The sun was playing hide and seek and getting set to go down the horizon. The silhouettes of the shikaras of Kandariya Mahadeva temple looked magical with sun setting behind.

Sun playing hide and seek - Jagadambi and Shiva temple forms silhoutte

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Setting sun with Shikharas of Kandariya Mahadeva and Jagadami forming perfect silhouettes

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It is now more than two hours in the sun and we were feeling a bit tired. The complex closes at sun set again to open at 8 PM for a Sound and light show. This means we had to hang around for another one and half hours or come back again which somehow did not enthuse us. We also wanted to explore the shops for any knick knacks. In fact we got some nice antique wooden dolls. We could strike a bargain as the season had not peaked.

We also could not see Eastern and Southern group of temples. We thought we will do that before breakfast provided we got up early next day!!

The next day was to be a long drive. Not from distance perspective but because of road conditions. HVK had forewarned road conditions from Khajuraho to Banaras. I called him up and asked him if i can take a detour via Allahabad. He said that would be good idea since i would be avoiding some bad roads and also gives me a chance to see Prayag. However, he cautioned me to be prepared for bad roads on this as well.

We went to sleep mentally prepared to rough it out the next day.

In the hind sight, Khajuraho requires two full days if one wants to do justice. This can be stretched by another day if one wants to see wild life in Panna. Ajaygarh and Kalinjar forts are also not to be missed and can be done as a day's outing.

Kalinjar Fort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ajaigarh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PS - I had not clicked some of the Surasundari and daily life images. But was amazed to see them when i zoomed into other pictures during post processing and cropped them into independant pictures as they look very elegant. That's why they may look smaller in size.

To be continued - Day 7 - Panna, Prayag and driving in UP!!
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Old 15th November 2011, 13:39   #57
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Default Some more nice pictures from Khajuaraho which i left out

Sorry folks.

I had left out some nice pictures of social life and surasundaris which i forgot to attach yesterday. Before we move on to Allahabad and Banaras, i thought of attaching them now.

Take a look.

Musicians

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Royal processions

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Dikpalaka

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A rishi - notice the figures surrounding him. Are they his disciples?

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Surasundari I

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Surasundari II

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Surasundari III

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Surasundari and the mirror - Notice the position of the mirror!!

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Surasundari scratching her back!!

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Last edited by Fauji : 15th November 2011 at 13:40.
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Old 15th November 2011, 16:51   #58
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

Fauji. Don't know how I missed this lovely thread earlier. Still in the first page. But when I saw the pics of Jhira Baug, I just stopped there admiring that place. What a wonderful place you guys stayed at. Way to go sir. Amazing log till what I've read! BTW, any trips planned to Mumbai in future? Samrat at churchgate is waiting!
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Old 17th November 2011, 15:12   #59
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Fauji. Don't know how I missed this lovely thread earlier. Still in the first page. But when I saw the pics of Jhira Baug, I just stopped there admiring that place. What a wonderful place you guys stayed at. Way to go sir. Amazing log till what I've read! BTW, any trips planned to Mumbai in future? Samrat at churchgate is waiting!
Thanks for your kind note MX6. The journey cutting across the country was a fascinating and learning experience for us. We really had good time in Banaras, Orcha, Lucknow etc. Yes. Jhira baug is a hidden gem. Lovingly restored by present owner. They are building a swimming pool which should be welcome. When I come to Bombay, will definitely ping you!
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Old 17th November 2011, 16:46   #60
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Default Re: Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

Fauji great photos of Khajureho temple complexes.
What a civilization. What a rich heritage we as indians inherited. What a open minded society then it was? What a public sex education method through temple sculputure display making sex holy. As knowing about sex and being open minded about sex are key for healthy individual/society.

Khajureho temples are A must place to visit for any educated /earning young indian couple to learn our rich heritage. Today unfortunately our society treats sex a taboo topic at Indian families and resultant society that has gradually decayed into hipocrisy.

Thanks for sharing the photos.

Last edited by harimakesh : 17th November 2011 at 16:51.
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