September 21, 2020

Khajuraho, the kama-sutra in stone – The Province

That Indian was sweating the fat drop, but he was not complaining. We had paid him just a few rupees to take us to the temple area. The heat was stifling. More than forty-five degrees and a humidity that made the atmosphere unbreathable. There were no more tuc-tucs available and a man with an orange mustache and a straight body offered to lead us by hand. It was a wheeled vehicle where its legs served as a motor. A bicycle with tourist load. There is no possible justification in memory and that race on rocky roads weighs on me, but the driver insisted that it was his job. And so the eternal wheel of India keeps turning. With the permission of the Indians and Western visitors, of course.

Khajuraho is a drop of water in the middle of the country. A footprint left by a god in primitive times and that remains hidden from the eyes of the millions of people who pass through every day. Away from any possible route, deep in the Madhya Pradesh region, the city has seen better times. Now it is a group of semi-abandoned houses with a passing train station where monkeys have occupied the platforms and steal money from the few travelers who arrive. Although its status is nothing more than an added attraction. The true pulse of rural India is evident in its farms and live animal markets.

But there is another city that transcends the limits temples of Khajuraho and found inside it. I mean the one built in stone, the one that changes color depending on the inclination of the sun and the monsoon rain. The one that has survived all natural and human disasters and has imposed itself on Khajuraho itself, that of the streets and markets. I am referring to the temples of love, a sacred spelling composed of an original balance between reconciled flesh and a desire for eternity.

In the 10th century its imposing cathedral was built in Mainz. Romanesque and Gothic were nothing more than dreams in the eyes of the architects, but in Khajuraho there were already some temples of such decorative aesthetics that it would take the arrival of the Baroque for Western eyes to see them in Sevillian churches. The city was the capital of the Chandella dynasty, which felt the need to build a set of more than 80 temples dedicated to the Hindu pantheon, but with the peculiarity that most of them are decorated with reliefs and sculptures that allude to scenes from El Kama-sutra. The desolation of the place and its isolation with the great geographic centers allowed it to go unnoticed by the Mughal destruction, which devastated any trace of Hindu religion in the 16th century, in pursuit of the Islamic crescent.

The result is a multitude of sexual positions. Men and women in stone who love each other and move their modesty in positions never imagined. There are fellatio, cunnilingus, frontal, lateral, rear, aerial and earthly sex. There is sex with affection and aggression. With hug and distance. Penetrations to the taste of stone, in relief and sculpture, fifteen meters high and a few centimeters from the eyes of the travelers. International sex, of different races, between men and men and women and women. Modernity in its purest form, in the 10th century and in India. What paradoxes. For having there is even sex with horses, elephants and tigers. Everything is a constellation of love. A permanent orgy that overwhelms the traveler and excites him intellectually, of course.

The sculptures are realistic and sensual. The breasts of women are sometimes hidden in fine wet clothes, which further mark their silhouette. The phallus of men is erect, in the power of its creative endeavor. The best examples are found in the Lakshmana Temple. There is a procession of dancers towards the god Vishnu, represented with four arms and reaching out to the procession of dancers. With the four hands, it is understood. The Visvanatha temple is a few steps from that one. It is the best preserved in the entire complex. Inside, the orgy intensifies, reaching levels of flexibility in the bodies that make us doubt that they are carved in stone. Also, after a pleasant walk under banyan trees, we find the Duladeo temple, whose tower ascends towards the sky as if it were an Indian Babel.

The outside world does not exist in the sacred precinct that preserves some twenty temples. It is what the stone offers humanity. Behind the walls, the city rehearses a kind of rhythm similar to that of the temples. There is a market that has its translation in stone. A spice seller. A beggar woman who begs at the door of the Jain temple. The entire life of the modern Khajuraho has already been faithfully depicted in stone a millennium earlier. But the traveler knows that in the stone there is more freedom. The bodies are naked and should not cover their skin and faces out of modesty. The sculptures gain eloquence without the need to speak. There is no richer than orgasm, momentary and intense. But our world is that of the flesh and with the fall of the sun, the stone returns to the interior of The pits. The traveler is then satisfied with discovering the beauty of the markets. He knows that the sun never sets on bodies of flesh and blood.


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