Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Weathered by our senses...


Sorry we haven’t been posting for the past day or two; I have been a bit busy “on deadline” I like to call it, attempting to assemble the next article for the Daily Reflector. It will run on Saturday, so keep an eye out for it!

We are in Khajuraho in the off season. We toured the temples of the Chandela Dynasty, melting in the heat. The temples were built in the 10th through 13th centuries and there are 32 still remaining. Each temple honors a Hindu God or Goddess (Vishnu, Siva, Kali) and its exterior is inlaid with sandstone sculptures. The day grew hotter and hotter and many of us felt completely fatigued, baking in the sun, listening to our docent talk about the sculpture. One of the last temples was in honor of the god, Surya, also known as the sun god. As we headed for the temple, the sky suddenly paled and became overcast and thunder rumbled in the air. We ran toward the temple (removing our shoes) as a strong wind blew over us and the rain began to fall. So grateful for the rain, I handed my bag and shoes to Lynda and ran out into the storm, taking in the drops as they stung and slapped my face. I was soon joined by Dani and a few others. The wind was so powerful, it might have swept both Dani and me away if we hadn’t been clinging to each other.
“The rain yesterday was liberating,” Dani said afterwards. “I mean, that was on the list: get caught in a rainstorm in an exotic location. I can cross it off the list.”

For me, I felt like the entire day worked to pound out aspects of my senses in extreme ways: the sun nearly dried me out. The rain soaked me thoroughly and the wind nearly blew me away. A gathering of lime green parrots convened in a tree at dusk as we walked toward the Siva temple. Upon entering the temple, each person had to ring a bell at the threshold overhead, and we stood on the stone mound around a huge lingam (a stone cylinder) and the men began to chant and clang gongs in rhythmic pattern. It grew louder and the vibration of the chanting rang through my body and rattled my eardrums. The extremes of the day left me peaceful. I felt weather-beaten: baked by the sun, blown by the wind, doused by the rain, and moved by the sounds of people as they pray to god.

Comments:
I really enjoy your writing and the photos! Thanks,

Megan Jackson
 
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