Khajuraho – UNESCO world heritage town which exists in its form only because of tourism and nothing else. Built about 1,000 years ago between 950 – 1050 by Chandela dynasty, they are symbol of Nagra style of architecture -intricate carvings of gods on sandstone. Temples are elevated, and light is projected through windows towards center point where deity statue is placed. With population of less than 25,000, this could have been easily missed but for the temples. Tens of temples have been unearthed and many more are expected to be unearthed once hill mounds are searched for. Historical records suggest 85 / 87 temples were built in this area. It is believed that temples were buried under soil rather they were covered with soil. By converting them into a hill mound they went undetected, hence were not destroyed by invaders and preserved for centuries from wear and tear of nature and time.
Key / Quick Facts
|On Tourist Circuit||Yes|
|Weather||Sub-tropical, hot summers, light winters|
|Best time to go||November – February|
|Why Go?||Historical and Erotic Temples|
|Location of Sites||North of the City|
|Location of Hotels||Center and North|
- Eastern Complex: Spread out with temples few hundred meters away from each other. This is the smaller complex with 4 – 5 temples to visit. In total you might be walking / travelling ~5 – 6km one way is staying on Jain temple road, area with budget hotels. If you do not have strong interest in temples, this part can be skipped
- Western Complex: The main / prime tourist attraction with approximately 22 temples within walking distance from each other. It is only couple of temples, yes two maximum three, which are actually inspired by Kamasutra but the whole town has been associated and imagined to have Kamasutra temples only. Do not forget to use the audio guide, it is an excellent guide giving full background and explaining the structure of temple.
- Light and Sound Show – Must watch. Happens post sunset near the western compound.
- Museum: A small but nice museum displaying tribal art. It also houses tourist office and has literature / brochure of all cities to see in Madhya Pradesh.
- Jain Temple: Centrally located, it is a small but beautifully built temple. If you have time, you can go else can be skipped.
- Panna Tiger Reserve – Rich wildlife reserve. Though named as tiger reserve, large variety of wildlife can be seen. You will require luck to be on your side to see the tigers. Reserve also has relics of tribal race spread through its area and a beautiful waterfall of Pandava waterfall to enjoy. Ken river runs through ~200m deep gorge and has crocodiles. You will have to be really unlucky to miss seeing them. There is a lodge inside the natural park in case you wish to spend a night or more there. Best time to visit is during winters before March end
Hotels and Stay:
Most of the budget hotels are on Old Jain Temple road. This seems to be the commercial area of the town with village around it. Luxury hotels are situated on Airport road between the airport and Western compound temples. There are budget hotels around railway station also but Old Jain temple road should be preferred.
Food & Eating:
Multiple options are available on Old Jain Road and area around Western Complex
Reaching Khajuraho is not a breeze though connectivity through all – road, rail, air exists. Nearest tourist spot is approximately 200km away (Jhansi) or relatively large town of Satna is ~130km away. Flights land from Varanasi regularly. From other cities Varanasi is a scheduled stop for almost all flights. Direct train connectivity is very limited with most trains stopping either at Satna (coming from South) or Mahoba (coming from North) which is ~75km away. From Mahoba, if you are coming from North, connecting train to Khajuraho is possible, but only one per day. Reaching Khajuraho by road is possible in your personal conveyance or the uncomfortable and in-frequent buses.
Commuting within Khajuraho:
Though Khajuraho is not very big, but to see the temples, you will need to hire auto-rickshaw or arrange a vehicle. Eastern Temples are little too far off to see on foot unless you plan to spend few days here. Western compound temples can be reached on foot, but they alone will require ~1.5 – 2hrs to cover and then there is the tribal museum too which should be visited.
Madhya Pradesh has one of the best and organized tourism departments in India. Website is very informative, and tourist offices are well spread out and are stocked with literature / brochures. Tourist office is located in tribal museum.
One Day Trip – Panna Tiger Reserve
Next Destinations – Orchha / Daita / Jhansi/ Varansi / Chitrakoot