Sunday, September 12, 2010

Planning the next trip

After cook books, diet books, and financial self-help books, travel guides have to be one the most popular book genres, and as an avid traveler I devour them like chocolate, and were it not for the fact that my main mode of travel is by bicycle, I would be fat like a sumo wrestler and poor like the beggars of mid-town Toronto and needing the aforementioned diet and financial aid books. But as much as I consume guide books, I don’t actually read them carefully, lest their detailed descriptions spoil the reality to be experienced, but I do mine them for content, mostly to divine accommodations to be had and sites to be savored along the way. While I could write volumes about planning an independent bicycle tour, having a place to sleep at a reasonable day’s riding distance apart, is one of the important considerations. There are of course considerations of weather, topography, road conditions etc.

Still, every once in a while a description raises the wanderlust barometer, as did the following in the first and only 2001 edition of North India, by Lonely Planet: “Khajularho’s temples were build by the Chandelas, …most date from a one century-long burst of creative genius from AD 950 to 1050. Almost as intriguing as the sheer beauty and size of the temples is the question of why and how they were built here. Khajularho is a long way from anywhere and was probably just as far off the beaten track a thousand years ago as it is today.”

While nothing on the plant today is truly off the tourist path but the prospect is still enticing, and I Andrew Jacob, self-appointed Chief Explorer of Andrew’s bicycle tours, am ready to pump up tires and lubricate chains, to visit the three groups of World-Heritage listed temples, as much as for their remote location, as for their prolific Kama Sutra carvings, which are reputedly among the finest temple art in the world.

As might be expected, as I am in the midst of planning this winter’s tour, which will take us from Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Nepal and various places along the way, it will most definitely include Khajularho.

Stay tuned.

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