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PRIYADARSHI DATTA

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 8/15/2016 |




 Trip to Khajuraho via Mathura Museum-- New Delhi to Khajuraho and back

Well one evening in New Delhi 1971 three friends, two  from Santiniketan, and one an engineer, decided they would take three cars, my father took his black Fiat and go to Khajuraho and back. Unfortunately, they chose the monsoons, just after it had cooled down but on the other hand they all landed up with broken bridges over Jamuna and elsewhere and got stuck in the evening on a bypass road filled with Indian trucks/lorrys and of course the local being from Chambal, ‘robbed’ the poor truck drivers, one ‘roti’/flat bread sold for Rs1 and ‘daal’/lentil soup. We did stay at Agra on the way back and arrived a day late, I missed a day of school so had to go to a friends/classmates’ house to get homework.

Now about the first leg of the trip, we reached Agra and heard that a bridge was broken so better stay in Agra till it was repaired. My father like a true army officer got us a huge ‘dak’ bungalow in Agra so we were going to have a comfortable stay. Later, after the rain died down a little us, father, mother, Shompa and me we drove to Mathura across the Yamuna river and found they had a thing called Mathura Museum –so we went in ----to our surprise it had lots and lots of statues of Buddha in various stages including his fasting period to attain ‘mokhsha’/enlightenment, where you could see the ribs of his body.

The most funny statue was that of Kanishka—now Kanishka were from the cold climes and in India you never see a statue with bare feet, but Kanishka had his boots, and a sword, and the statue did not have a head. Now in our history books after the Monhenjo Daro and Harapan civilizations you see the Kanishka’s statue with his boots( we kids fouund it funny).

Well so we chanced upon this museum and wonder now how Modi’s government is dealing with so many Buddhas and a Kanishka (furriner)!!!!

Well our trip was for 4 nights. So the next day we were in Gwalior. Now Gwalior had a very rich private school named after the rich family Scindhia’s. It was still summer so the students who were left back in the dorms now took it upon themselves to earn a little money to tell us about Sindhiya and hills nearby. Right after Gwalior we would be going through a miniature of America’s /USAs Grand Canyon and their in the midst lived the warrior queen, quite like Robin Hood of united Kingdom.

Well the next day we arrived at our hotel in Khajuraho.

Now Khajuraho in our 5000 year old history was in the Gupta period, a period of trade and wealth. The temple walls reflect the prosperity of the Gupta period were ‘anything goes’ due to the wealth of people. So nowadays repressed, robbed by 200 years of British Rule, indans  now find these temple walls carved out in intricate sexual positions as ‘our ancestors never sculpted those!!!’---unfortunately yes it was, and now Indians find it offensive but the already repressed ‘western’ audiences find these Indian guides explaining all these carvings with mirth, and a wry smile. I was twelve then, so was old enough to not stick with my parents, but follow a guide paid for by these foreign visitors.

It is carvings worth seeing , so trip was fulfilled for me having seen statues that I saw in history in my text books.

Well on the way back got stuck in the Chambal valley so were frightened when the sun went down, usually people do not stop in Chambal valley for fear of being robbed, but here there were lines and lines of trucks stuck on the side of the highway, these are just a road, no divider, no two or three lane slick highways you now see in the west and India.



[PRIYADARSHI DATTA]

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