2  Khajuraho

-  This is India 



November 19, Sunday 

Murder bus for five hours where I saw “India.”

Breathtaking sculptures in Khajuraho. 

Kumiko, Thank you for your e-mail.  You had a nice time at the meeting with the friends on Saturday, hadn’t you.  After the terrible experience in Delhi, I have just begun such traveling as I expected.  I hope you would like the picture I took and uploaded.



                                               Sculptures in Khajuraho

  At 3:45 a.m. I got up, stepped down from the bed and prepared for leaving the night train for Chennai.  It was scheduled to stop at Jhansi at 4:00 a.m., but it did not show any sign to stop.  No passenger was seen out of bed I could talk with.  I don’t care if anything will happen.  At 4:26, the train stopped at Jhansi.  Got off the train.  No exit sign was seen in the dim platform.  I stopped by at an office to ask about a bus service.  Outside the station, I rode an autoricksha to drive to the bus terminal through the dark town for fifteen minutes.  At the terminal were there a bus for Khajuraho.  Strangely, a lot of passengers were already in the bus although the scheduled departure should have been at 6:00 a.m. or more than one hour later.  A conductor took my luggage up to the roof of the bus.  

I got into the bus and stood on the aisle because no seat was available.  All the passengers apparently looked Indians, not tourists.  The conductor came in, shouted something and took me to a seat toward the back.   I sat down there.  ‘What a relief!  But why can I have this seat though a lot of passengers are still standing???’ I said “Namasute” (Hello) to my neighbor, a thin, old man.  He did not respond to my compliment while the conductor said, “No Namasute and so on...”.  For a while the conductor took a young Indian businessman and talked with the thin, old man.  He stood up immediately and the businessman occupied the seat, my next seat.  Next, the conductor took a young tourist and began to argue with a man sitting in front of me.  Probably the conductor ordered the man to yield his seat for the passenger.  The man looked to refuse it.  Some other passengers shouted, too, though I could not understand what they were arguing.  Finally soon the conductor forced the man to stand.  There sat the tourist who looked a Chinese.  I talked with him.  He is Mr. Won Siu-Yuen from Hong Kong.  He said he had stayed in Jhansi last night.

  Jhansi and Khjuraho, both located on the northern end of the Deccan Plateau, are 400  km south east from Delhi and 175 km east from Jhansi, respectively.  Khajuraho is a remote town that has no train station although it has an airport.  This time I dared choose to take train and bus instead of by air.

  At 6:10, our crowded bus departed from the town of Jhansi in the dark.  I could not move at all.  For a while the sun rose from the horizon of the brown earth.  At the following towns, more passengers got on this crowded vehicle so that people standing were extremely squashed.

  I began to talked with the businessman sitting next to me.  On his forehead is a red round mark.  He and other passengers commutes everyday under the same conditions, surprisingly, according to him.  Most of standing passenger are working at construction areas in Khajuraho.  I felt strange when the businessman said without scruple, “These guys are working just for money.
They are like animals.”  I asked him a primitive question I had been keeping since this morning, “Is there any difference of fare between seating and standing?”  He dubiously said, “No. Just the same.”  Ah, got it.  I asked him again, “This morning you could get this seat that the other guy had already occupied.  Is it because your class is higher?”  He said, “Yes” flatly while smiling a bit.  I mumbled, “Understood..... This must be India.  This is India.”  He repeated my words, “This is India.....”       

                                                                            The murder bus.  Siu-Yuen on the right.

Although foreigners like me cannot know, Indian people can recognize the others’ social classes or castes easily.  Here is such a hard society where even seating must be obeyed the priority of the castes.  The conductor treated our foreigners as people of higher priority but the Indians who were forced to yield did not seem to agree that decision.

We are driving for more than four hours now.  At every bus stop, more people come in.  The bus is packed to bursting.  Some guys are riding on the roof of the bus.  I have had no food yet at all today.  I just drunk a small amount of water.  I have been afraid of having a call of nature but I have had no problem yet as a result, thanks to the adaptability to the environment.  Packed people, including small kids, do not seem to be afraid.  They must be used to this.  Everybody is quiet and does not care about anything.

The businessman took off at a bus stop on the way.  At 11:10 a.m. we arrived at Khajuraho and the murder five-hour bus tour has ended finally.  I took off the bus and received my luggage.  Next soon, several cyclericksha drivers and barkers made a fuss and sticked to me and Siu-Yuen persistently.  We were forced to ride a cyclericksha and to go to “Hotel Yogi.”  The manager said the rate was Rs 150 (about $ 4.5!) per night.  I accepted and checked in the room.  Siu-Yuen asked me to share one room together but I declined.

Siu-Yuen and I had a lunch of curry together at a restaurant on the roof.  Just in front of us are seen the old Hindu Temples that were constructed in 10 to 12th centuries (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). 

More than ten towers are in a spacious ground.  I walked around to see each.  Breathtakingly splendid sculptures of humans are seen on the wall outside the towers as well as inside them.  They look as if they are still alive and chatting there. 

Inside a tower, an object having the shape of a cylinder is located at the center surrounded by a lot of beautiful sculptures.  An Indian appeared and began to explain like a guide.  He says the centered object is “Linga” or a symbol of Shiva, a major Hindu God.  He next showed me some erotic sculptures and said they expressed Kama or love.  In Hinduisum, Kama is regarded as one of four goals of life: others are Altha (worldly status), Dharma (duty) and Moksha (inner freedom).  The indian ended his guide and asked me some fee.  I accepted it though I had thought it was his volunteer work when he began his guide.

I moveed to another tower, where were seen similar beautiful people on the wall including acrobatic poses of eros.  They were erotic but neither filthy nor provocative.  They were in harmony with other people who were dancing, chatting and playing.  i felt that they were giving us a message how life is filled with pleasure.

I had a dinner of chicken curry and naan or chapathy (Naan is thicker than chapaty. I do not know other differences).  I worked at an Internet shop to upload.  I went to bed at 11:00 p.m.

November 20, Monday 

Visiting the other temples in Khajuraho.  Moved to Satna to take a night train to Varanasi.

Kumiko, How are you? Is everything OK in your work at the office?  I am enjoying traveling.  Now I just arrived at Satna Railway Station to take a night train.  Tomorrow, I will be in Varanasi, the most important holy place for Hindus.


The second day in Khajuraho. 
After a breakfast together with Siu-Yuen, I walked alone to the east, the village of Khajuraho and other old Hindu temples in the east district.  Approaching the small village, boys were appearing one after another.  They followed me and talked a lot to me.   They seemed to want to be a guide for money.  I became so nervous of them to be exhausted though some naive kids asked me to take pictures.  I entered into the small village and found a small shrine holding a Linga and statues inside it (Right).  It reminded me similar shrines common in Japan.

I walked around the remote areas to visit two East Temples, one Jaina Temple and a Hindu South Temple where I saw similar beautiful sculptures. 

Boys gave up following me and very few tourists were in these areas. I met three women carrying luggage on their head.  I asked them by gestures to take a picture.  They posed for me (Left) and then requested money.

I returned to the hotel and  met a group of Indian family wearing colorful saris. I took a picture together against the background of the West Temple (Below).

At 2:00 p.m. I got on a bus to Satma, the city located in the east of Khajuraho.  I felt relief at about only ten passengers in the bus.  While driving I saw brown flat earth extended.

At 5:30 p. m. I arrived at Satna terminal.  I used a cyclericksha to the train station in the dusk of evening.  After I had a small dinner of curry and naan, I used an Internet cafe nearby.

At the platform of Satna Railway Station, I gave money to several beggars.  Impressive was a crippled woman who received my money and then sat in front of a dining car.  Shortly a worker appeared in the train and gave her a packed food.  I could not know how old she was due to her sari covering her face.  She looked small like a child, thin and angular.  It was painful to see her scrawling around by carrying herself with her thin arms.  I felt that the gentle figure could be called a “saint beggar” or a Buddhist ascetic in old Japan.

Such deep emotion was soon replaced by hurried and tense feeling when the train arrived in the platform at 7:50 p.m.  Ran around to find my car.  It departed at 8:10 p.m.  My bed is the upper of a double bunk placed parallel with the line of train.  It was scheduled to arrive at Varanasi around at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

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