We’re headed for Khajuraho today, the famous complex of 10th- and 11th-century Hindu temples about 600 km SE of Delhi. They constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are most renowned for their gorgeous and erotic sculptures. It’s amazing that such carvings are so well preserved after more than a thousand years. After the 13th century the temples fell into disuse and were overgrown with jungle, and were “rediscovered” by a British surveyor in the 1830s.
You can see a panoply of the sculptures, salacious and otherwise, here.
We’ll be taking the overnight train (leaves 8 pm, arrives 6 am), so I get the experience of a sleeper car, and perhaps a “western style” toilet (I forgot to include this in my previous “sign” post):
I still have a gazillion photos that must wait until my return to Chicago (the pictures of noms are great), so bear with me. To hold you in the meantime, here’s the good Professor in the Indian clothes I wore for my birthday dinner and in the Bengal Club in Calcutta:
I had an awesome birthday dinner prepared by my host, but didn’t want to disturb the company by taking photos of the delicious Bengali viands. I couldn’t, however, resist photographing the payesh, or Bengali rice pudding on the left, which is traditionally served on birthdays. It’s liberally doused with syrup made from concentrated palm sap, which resembles maple syrup, and can be further condensed to make palm jaggery or sugar. The sweets to the left are sandesh (a milk sweet, with the ones in the center, shaped like buttocks, filled with palm sap concentrate as well.
More solipsism that I couldn’t resist. Here’s a lovely birthday present from my hosts: a shirt made from pure, heavy raw silk in its natural color. It has a roughish texture and a beautiful golden sheen. We took the material to the local tailor about ten days ago, he measured me, and today delivered this beautifully-fitting garment. I was told the price for making the shirt (exclusive of material costs) was 150 rupees: roughly two dollars!
Professor Ceiling Cat likes his new shirt!
39 thoughts on “India: Off to Khajuraho”
Lookin’ good! Please explain what “Western Style” means with respect to toilets. And do you see the railway rushing by beneath you if you look into the bowl?
Indian style toilet : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Non_AC_toilet-Indian_Railways-India457.JPG
squat to use.
Western style toilet : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Toilet-chair_type-coach-Indian_Railways-India437.JPG
sit to use. Usually no toilet paper.
The toilet mostly is simply a hole that opens to the tracks below (though that is changing nowadays).
cheers! And Happy New Year from India.
And that explains the sign about not using it in front of a crowd of waiting passengers.
Happy New Year! 🙂
Passengers will please refrain
from flushing toilets while the train
is waiting in the station
I love youuuuuuuu
(another one my dear departed parents used to sing in the car…)
Your parents must have been of the same generation as mine, who also sang this ditty and recited the railroad crossing verse. This is the first thing I thought of when I saw that sign.
Sounds like it, Adam:-). Are you American? I think my maternal grandfather also sang/recited these, as well as The Bear went over the Mountain and My Name is Yon Yonson, I come from Wisconsin…My own kids would just roll their eyes ( except maybe for The Bear one…)
And we sang it in Australia as well – thanks for posting this!!!!!
How lovely that such a wonderful song was so widespread;-))
Happy New Year everyone!! (dinner guests departed, dishes/washing up will wait till morning.)
Yes, rithvik is correct. On both trains I’ve been on so far, the toilet opens directly onto the track, ergo the sign.
A commode that is not a hole in the ground that you squat over.
Cowboy boots probably would have been out of place. 😉
The Indian clothes look very comfortable.
Is that area not the origin of pajamss/pyjamas? At least the word and the loose pants. The Dude abides!
Love your outfit, and the new shirt! 🙂
Nice clothes! They look like just the thing for hot weather.
The sign on the door of the train’s bathroom looks like good advice. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas famously set a similar statement to the tune of Dvorak’s Humoresque.
Justice Douglas is the only Supreme Court Justice I’ve ever seen in person. He visited the Chinook Hotel in Yakima, Washington in August 1973 where I worked as a busboy when I was 18 years old. He made a futile attempt to bring a halt to what was left of the Vietnam war at the Yakima county courthouse on August 4, 1973.
He was apparently a real character:
He was the rock star of SCOTUS judges.
I believe western style means you have something to sit on. Whether it comes with plumbing ….I’m not sure.
Generally in Asia you will have a hole and a couple of places to put your feet. Good luck with that.
Love the Indian clothing. I think Indian clothes are superior to western for comfort and for Saris you can get the kind that are already wrapped so not as big a deal to get ready. The gold shirt is fabulous as well and my Indian friends often tell me about how inexpensive it is to get clothes tailor made in India. A lot of men go back home to get suits made.
I’m guessing the tailoring is as good as South Korea and the prices, even better.
Lovely silk, Dr Coyne, and of its natural / all – climate biología, will be wonderfully warm and strong in gusty, blustery Chicago wintertimes ! as well as cool, breath – taking / breathing and highly absorbent in its as well as the subcontinental summertimes !
He has a style! :))
I will be interested in your reaction to Khajuraho, which was one of the most amazing experiences in my visits to India. The detail on the temple carvings was exquisite (not just the many prurient parts, all of the sculpture). Also, the complex features a series of buildings featuring different styles of temple architecture. What a thrill that the temples were so well preserved! One other point – when I flew there, the airport had been fogged in for about 10 days so several tourists were stranded for over a week (essentially NOTHING to do there, apart from the temple site). We were lucky with the weather and I hope that you are fortunate as well. Please post a bunch of photos of Khajuraho!
Yowza. I am looking forward to seeing those erotic sculptures.
Cool duds, Dude!
Now you just need to get Hili embroidered on the pocket.
“…the Bengal Club in Calcutta…”
Man, my sybaritic mind just reels at the prospects of those exquisite words!
Looking good, Jerry.
Re: the toilet sign –
My mother, a native Glaswegian, told me that there were similar signs, by the toilets on British Rail cars, that regularly had “except in Portadown” (a Protestant stronghold in Northern Ireland) appended.
I’m wondering what is the purpose of the perpendicular stroke (capital “I” perhaps?) under “Western Style”
Looking good PCC…it’s hard to imagine a fitted silk shirt for “just over $3”. Next purchase, handcrafted cowboy boots?
Xlnt shirt! (Me, I wouldda ordered another pocket).
Wow, that shirt really looks nice on you! And those Indian clothes look SO comfy.
Looks to me as if more than just “some” of those sculptures are salacious. Apparently social preoccupations haven’t changed much in a millennium. 😉
Oh, so THAT’s the site where you find the famous group of the horse with two men …
That’s a gorgeous tailor-made shirt btw. Perfect fit, lovely fabric.
If you have the chance, do buy some (or at least get a taste of) rose syrup (made from roses, not artificial at all) and sandalwood syrup (not artificial either). They make a great drink with water, soda water and even milk, and can be poured onto rice pudding too. 🙂