We didn’t realize that the small city of Khajuraho was so interesting to visit until we got there. Khajuraho hosts temples that have the same age as Angkor temples. They have been built between 950 and 1050 under the Chandela dynasty. There are much less temples than in Cambodia: only 25 temples are still there (among the 85 built at that time) but these remaining temples are still very impressive, and moreover well kept! Actually, they were forgotten quite a long time in the jungle before being discovered again. The particularity of these Hindus temple is that they are decorated with… erotic sculptures depicting scenes of the Kamasutra! I let you see by yourself.
We spent our time walking from temple to temple. We met an old and lovely couple of Indian tourists (photo above). But we also had less nice experiences. When walking near the old village of Khajuraho to visit a temple, young boys approached us and started to speak with us. At first we were happy to talk with them. They knew a bit of French because there was a French teacher in the village. But when they offered us to visit their village, we started to be suspicious. We had been warned it’s not a genuine invitation and it’s because they want us to buy things from them. When we told them we didn’t have time to go visit their village, they “flew away” quickly to meet other tourists. We also met some little children who asked us to give pens and then money to them. Money is a word we heard a lot in India. We found extremely difficult to make genuine connections with Indian people. Most of the time, we could see money was the main thing lighting the eyes of the people meeting us. We were seen as the guys with money, which is true compared to them. But it doesn’t mean we visited India to distribute dollar bills to everyone… When a nice guy would come to us, soon we’d realize he was actually doing his job. He spoke nicely with us just to make us buy something from his business.
However we tried not to focus too much about this and avoid the people treating us as money machines. Fortunately, as we went southward, we had less and less this feeling of being seen as the “rich” guys. But overall this resulted in us approaching India differently than the other countries we had crossed until then. We lived this Indian adventure more as tourists enjoying India from a passive point of view than as discoverers exchanging views with local people. For our first time in India I guess we were also eager to visit all the beautiful monuments we had seen so many times in pictures. Not having the human dimension we loved was frustrating but it made us want to come back again. And this time we would focus more on trying to meet Indian people!