Khajuraho Kalling: Soul Purpose Trip to Khajuraho and Panna Feb 24-26

At the Khajuraho Dance Festival this year one of the stellar performances I watched was Bharatnatyam by Rukmini Vijayakumar. Her grace, her flexibility, her facial expressions were simply amazing. It was Shivratri night and she performed a dance of Natraja (Shiva) being angry and Parvati trying to appease him. This abhinaya piece brought out the emotions of the story perfectly.  I Gooled searched her after I came back and found out that she is one of the Indian dancers to have a degree from the Boston Conservatory in ballet and modern dance and an acting course from New York Fim Academy, LA. She is a popular actor in Kannada and Tamil films and has won a Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actor. I have tried to capture some of her emotions through this series of photographs. I hope it brings out the amazing caliber of this dancer.

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The biggest thrill of a wildlife safari is spotting a tiger in the wild. And its absolutely the luck of the day if you spot a tiger. I have been to about 10 safaris in Corbett, but seen the tiger only one. In Ranthambore, I have had better luck. I have done 6 safaris and seen the tigers in all of them. In fact, in one safari, I had as many as seven sightings! This time in Panna Tiger Reserve, I was wondering whether we would see the Sher Khan, as in my previous visit of two safaris, I had no luck. But after an hour in the open jeep, braving the cold, wrapped in a blanket from my bed, the tigress (T41) appeared, almost out of nowhere. We watched her walk through the grass and suddenly she turned through the thicket and came within 10 feet of our jeep.

It was a heart-stopping moment, to look at tiger in the eye! And then to keep clicking! But the entire safari was so fulfilling as we saw a full range of animals: cheetals (spotted deer), sambar deer, nilghai, chinkara (blackbuck), crocodiles, langurs, treepies, many peacocks and a vulture colony!

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The Khajuraho Temples built between 950 AD and 1050 AD by the Chandela Kings of Central India original has 85 temples. Today, there are about 25 left, some in ruins. The main temple complex (Western Temples) and the Jain Temples are the best preserved.

Under the Delhi Sultante of Qutubuddin Aibak, several parts of the temples were destroyed. But many wonderful sculptures still stand. These temples has a mix of erotic and other sculptures, with outstanding detail and craftsmanship. Here are some pictures from the trip.

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