Day 16 - Saturday, November 12, 2016 - View Erotic Carvings of the Chandelas; Fly to Varanasi
Our wake up call was at 6:30, we had breakfast and then met our group at 8:00. Ashwani was our local guide for the morning. He took us to visit the temples that the Chandela Dynasty constructed between the 9th and 10th centuries.
The sandstone temples were exceptionally well preserved - only threatened by the weather. Rediscovered by the British in 1838, the temples are now a World Heritage Site. Only 1/3 of the temples have had to be reconstructed. Structural preservation has been done and the replacement stones have none of the intricate carvings to distinguish them from the original.
Base relief statues and three dimensional carvings of elephants, dancing women, slaves, soldiers, kings, and queens decorated each panel of the temples. The Hindu Karma Sutra carvings depict sexual positions and other carvings illustrate yoga and the control and preservation of energy.
Ashwani guided us through the high points of the many temples and we were allowed to go into Lakshmana Temple. We took off our shoes and climbed the steep stairs to the inner chambers. We walked clockwise around the altar for more good karma.
We had time on our own and then met near the front gate at 10:15. We made our way through the gauntlet of vendors and back to the bus. Ashwani conducted a brief Bus Bazaar for a few last minute bargains.
Back at the Radisson we put our bags out and then met in the lobby. The hotel staff weighed each of our bags as the domestic flights are very strict.
Only five people had excessive kilos so they agreed to pay the overage. One of our bags was overweight - all of our computers and electronics add to the minimal clothes we carry. The cost for the overage was only about $3.00 dollars.
Before going to the airport we had lunch at a restaurant run by two young women who were successful entrepreneurs. Instead of the usual sit down plated meals, we have really enjoyed these buffets.
Our 40-minute flight to Varanasi was supposed to leave at 2:05. After going through a thorough security check, we found that the flight was delayed. By 2:30 we heard that the flight would be delayed until 4:00. Rumors of when or if we would even get a plane were going around the terminal.
Our generous group dug into their backpacks for cookies, nuts, and other treats to share. Pam got out her set of dice and taught people to play Farkel. A few people slept, Vic worked on the photos, Gennie read, and the Farkelers played a high stakes game to the bitter end.
The one and only gift shop ran out of water, soda, and chips. The passengers on the next flight came and left. Rumor had it that Jet Airways was sending a plane from Delhi, then to Varanasi, and finally to Khajuraho to pick us up.
Sujay and Narendra were pacing the terminal trying to get any information they could and adjusting our itinerary for Varanasi. The Jet Airways staff brought us box meals at 4:00. A thoughtful gesture, but one of our group said the next cart would bring blankets and pillows.
The plane finally arrived at 6:00 and we walked up to the gate to wait for the staff to ready it for our boarding. We were off the ground at 6:35 and reached Varanasi at 7:10. By the time we got on the bus it was 7:40.
A bus took us directly to the Radisson where we found our rooms, had time to connect to the net, and then we had our Farewell Dinner tonight so we can do the Ganges sunset evening tomorrow. Because our day had to be adjusted, our Varanasi activities will all be condensed into tomorrow.
It was a long day of hurry up and wait, but all of us were flexible, we were together, and there was nothing our fearless leaders could do about the airline problem. As OAT travelers we have learned that life happens.
Varanasi is the holiest city in India. The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population.
My India My Pride
Accommodations: Radisson Varanasi Hotel - - - Meal: B & L
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WOW!!! What an interesting day of "hurry-up and wait." I always expected this kind of thing, and when it didn't happen - YEAH - a bonus!!! Frank was always TELLIN GME TO not CARRY SNACKS IN MY PURSE -- HE SAID YOU ACT LIKE YOU HAVE GONE HUNGRY. I never went hungry, but was just precautious. LOL I slipped out of your pocket and washed my untidy clothes, so I will be ready in a couple of days, when it's time to leave. Gennie must have taken care of your dirty items, as I couldn't find any to help y'all out. LOL Hope y'all had a good night sleep and ready for today. Blessings