Most people arrive in this quiet little town with an inquisitive eye to try and spot the, ahem, ceramic pornography that’s etched onto the many monuments of the Khajuraho Temples.
In this conservative country, its a mind-boggling ode to the Karma Sutra which you wouldn’t expect to find, and maybe wouldn’t even spot, if you weren’t looking for them. Some tasteful in the way that their contorts twist and turn, others can only be described as laughable and rather crude as women are manipulated into…..gang bang scenerios👀😂.
But either way, the layers of figurines give an unusual architectural effect that is nothing less than spectacular. Entrance; 500₹
Once the touristy stuff is out of the way (you can also embark on a tiger Safari to Panna wildlife reserve from here) don’t go just yet…
Stay at Khajuraho Homestay and be welcomed into the family of 3 brothers and 4 sisters, where the middle brother, Farman takes you under his wing. Hop aboard the back of his motorbike and discover the history of the town he’s proud to call home; the age old fortress, the regal farmhouse (which has the colour scheme of my future kitchen 👀) and wishing well’s so deep, you exert a fearful breath as you peer over the edge!
But the part that meant the most to me and will stay with me long after I leave India, is being taken to one of the little villages that’s jotted on the outskirts of Khajuraho.
Yas and I hopped on the back of Farman’s bike and rode into the dusty sunset to go and visit the kids that play on the streets. One bag of toffees stowed away in my bag, we couldn’t quite believe how many kids we came across as we walked through. The moment the bag was ripped and we extending a kind hand towards them, more and more little faces popped up with a shy smile at our presence; kids dragged their younger siblings from behind shacks and closed doors and rusty bicycles, 3 times too big for their matchstick legs, rode hastily in our direction…
We soon realised that it wasn’t just children that were enjoying the sentiment. Old ladies wished us Namaste as they appreciated a sweet treat themselves, old men came forward with a nod, teenage girls giggled, babies cooed and even day-old cows were brought out to greet us.
One thing was certain, one bag of toffees just wasn’t enough…
I asked Farman to point me towards a little local shop (if they had one), and with a 100R note in hand, I bought the entire jar of Mango hard boiled sweets that they had.
Some kids would smile and shake their head if they had already been gifted with a sweet, making my heart melt that they expected so little – others would come back for more and more in a cheeky manner that still made my heart melt. I felt bad saying no to these little ones – but I had to ensure that the candies were shared equally amongst all. However, I’d often end up giving in to their desperate faces – my fear being that I’d accidentally miss a little hand that was never full in the first place 😩!!
The sad thing is that their little hands might never be full. This village is part of a caste system which determines the children’s future, with the social structure being very interesting in India…
The Brahmin is the highest caste, just like the head, the thinkers and changers of India. The arms are the army; the military men who protect the country. Below them is the labourers, the shoulders who work with strength. Then comes the farmers, who feed the stomach of the population with their grains and rice and vegetables. Lastly, you have the untouchables; the “arse of India” who clean up the shit that’s in every crack here. The untouchables are not regarded as people by most Indians (I know, it’s awful), being quite literally ‘untouchable’ – so they have to fend for themselves and endure the hardest, most unimaginable lives. I really wish these were the people we could help… but you have to respect the culture out here.
We were taken to the stomach of India, the farming caste, where men have hands that are brittle and torn and their wives leathered creases tell a story of a thousand days in the sun. One old chap, with a characteristic moustache that danced upon his upper lip, sang us a merry tune on his TWO flutes in celebration of our visit. He was grateful for the 20R we snuck him for some chewing tobacco – but boy did he deserve it with how he made us all laugh with his big lungs and merry little tune!
Some laughed a toothless laugh, others had teeth that were browning. Even the kids had a smile that was gray in comparison to ours. Honestly, we couldn’t be more different to these people, or live more different lives. My skin is fair and pink and my hands are soft and underworked…
…but at the same time, in that priceless moment, we all laughed the same!❤️