Stories from the Road: Scaffolding, Khajuraho, India

Stories from the Road is a collection of stories about my own photographic adventures in South Asia. Sometimes the stories are exciting and sometimes mundane and at times emotional. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the story.


The upkeep of monuments is a necessary one if governments want to continue to entice travelers to visit their historic sites. One place I found work being done on my trip through India in 2015 was at Khajuraho. While some visitors might be annoyed by the visual barrier created by the scaffolding, I love it. The scaffolding in this photograph give it more visual pattern, created by the lines.

In this photograph there is a cropped in view of a Hindu temple. The bottom third of the photograph is dominated by the base of the structure which is foregrounded by some small bushes. On the other hand, the top two-thirds of the photograph are filled with the walls of the structure obscured by the scaffolding. The red and blue of the scaffolding, along with the green plants adds color to the otherwise dull gray and sand colors of the stone. My favorite part of photograph is that the scaffolding accentuates the horizontal and vertical lines in the structure, which can be over shadowed by the over-abundance of sculpture on the temple.

While walking around the Hindu temple complex at Khajuraho there is a lot to take in in terms of the sculpture. The space is well maintained and serine. While I was there I just thought of the scaffolding as another element to be photographed. It was part of my experience being there. Other visitors will have another visual experience based on whether work is being done or if there are more people there.  We often look for what others would consider the best photograph or potentially we look for the most photographed view of a subject, especially when it comes to architecture. I wanted to step away from these norms and create another view of Khajuraho.

Looking at this photograph today something completely different comes to mind. I had surgery last week. Now I am bandaged up and have a drainage tube sticking out of me. Today I look the same as the temple in the photograph. One would not consider the temple in this photograph or me looking at our best today, however, architecture and people need upkeep sometimes to keep us going. I hope when I return to Khajuraho this temple is at its best. I also hope in a few weeks I will be looking my best again too. I always find it interesting how your perspective from day to day can change the personal meaning of a photograph.

By |2016-11-10T19:01:42-05:00March 29th, 2016|India, Travel|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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