Jul '12 - Jan '13
India is riddled with temples. Their locations are recurrently amidst dwindling towns and cities, the remnants of ancient empires. Khajuraho is as unequivocal an example as any of this trifling phenomenon. She rests in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the geographical center of India, and was abandoned for 700 years until rediscovered in 1838. It would not be a temple in India if it were not known for one peculiarity or another, or for enshrining the incarnation of the same deity in its atypical form. Khajuraho is renowned for her superiority in craftsmanship of flagrantly erotic sculptures.
There are three groups of temples in Kahjuraho: the West, East and South groups respectively. Although, after surveying the bounties of what this majestic India has to offer, the West group is all that requires one’s attention. Once veiled in dense woods, it now lies unveiled to the heavens with lustrous lawns of green. It is India's Parc de la Villette in depths of its pavilions only. And from the conjured images of legends and guidebooks, I half expected the temples themselves to be a 30 meter amorous couple. It would seem fitting to at least have the majority of figures in a playful state, for the sake of the guidebooks. It would come to be, however, that no more than one in every thirty effigies on every temple was of erotic nature; a number which concerns me, coming from the land of Karma Sutra.
There is a sort of symbiosis in balance in Khajuraho, and all municipalities of the like economic DNA. The temples long for proper maintenance and preservation; the city requires tourism. But they are a pair of lungs together, their respiration fluctuating with the two seasons of India, tourist season and off-season. The city dwindles in a desolate and semiconscious state, slowly awaking from its musty, glutinous hibernation as tourists begin to trickle from the train. An economic downturn in the world begets abatement in tourism and thus, a crisis within the city.
The infamous effigies of Khajuraho
The spacious lawns of Parc de la Khajuraho
The Eastern Group- meek in comparison to her westwardly counterpart
An Indo Inquisition is a thirteen-week train expedition across India. The journey will document the influences of international modernism and British occupation, as well as compare the effects of wealth accumulation, culture, religion, and poverty with economic growth and their effect on the built environment.