Just got back to my room after the most incredibly bone meltingly relaxing ayurvedic massage. Quite the thorough process and not for the shy (not much is covered). It started with an intense scalp massage with oil and then moved to an incredible facial massage with another type of oil (I never did find out what oils they were using). It felt so amazing. Finally the full body massage. I love how the oil is drizzled onto your body from foot to shoulder before the practitioner starts plying her magic. It was probably the most relaxing massage I’ve experienced, I felt so wonderful afterwards. The tea they served while we were waiting for the last members of our group was a spicy concoction of deliciousness. Ginger, cardamom, pepper, saffron, cinnamon and cloves. Mmmm…. terrific end to the experience.
Our day started with a visit to the temples of Khajuraho which are covered in elaborate carvings including some with poses from the Kama Sutra. Let’s just say they were very flexible and creative. Other than the more amorous carvings there are depictions of many aspects of day to day life as well as several Gods and Goddesses. There were 85 temples in the area… each subsequent Maharaja built a new temple after coming to power. Only 25 temples remain, the rest having been destroyed by time, nature and animals. The ones that do remain are stunning. It’s hard to believe they are over 1000 years old. They were covered in vegetation for many many years which protected the sandstone so the carvings remain remarkably intact. The intricate details of the carvings are fantastic, the facial expressions, body language, poses…. So much information about their lives conveyed on the walls of these temples.
So far these temples are the highlight of my trip. Not to downplay the impressiveness of the Taj Mahal!! It’s an incredible wonder and an absolute must see in India. I wouldn’t have missed it! I think the fact that I had no expectations at all for these particular temples and they are so incredible just puts them over the top for me.
A few of us went to a local theatre for a performance of various regional dances. I had been expecting authentic folk dancers and musicians but was treated to a theatrical interpretation of folk dancing, complete with lip synching and pretend instrument playing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the performance. It was high energy and fun. The dancers were quite good and the sparkly, colourful costumes were wonderful. Black light paint was used on the backdrops and in parts of the costuming which was really interesting. The best part of the show though was the marvellous introductions to each number. Whoever wrote the script certainly had an unparalleled grasp of the english language and high expectations for each dance. From energetic ditties to naughty melodies and mellifluous and sonorous sounds, we were waiting each introduction with great anticipation. I absolutely love the unadulterated theatricality of the folks here!!
Just a note: At this point, with limited time and limited wi-fi these posts are definitely coming a little out of order and I know I’m really behind in my writing. I’ll keep working on getting caught up!!
I still have to talk about the Taj Mahal, Varanasi….. so many amazing and unique experiences!!