The home to the ancient temples, Khajuraho, as it is popularly called, is actually a town with much more touristy things in its kitty. Though Khajuraho is famous for its historic temples and structures, there are many other places to visit which most people are unaware of. The reason, which makes it perhaps the most underrated tourist place in India. Located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh in the Chhatarpur district, it has a well-connected Railway station as well as a Domestic airport (both within 6 km of distance from the main town).
The Khajuraho group of temples are divided into three categories – Eastern, Western and Southern. The Eastern Group comprises Jain and Hindu Temples. Parshvanatha temple, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara “Parshvanatha” is the largest of them all. In 2018, it was also the home to the most worshiped Jain monk “Acharya Shri Vidyasagar Ji Maharaj” during Chaturmas (a holy period of four months when the Jain monks stay at a specific place) and therefore saw thousands of people visiting the town.
The Western Group accommodates marvelous Hindu temples embellished with erotic sculptures. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, The Kandariya Mahadeva is the biggest one in the town. The Lakshmana temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu, whereas the Chaunsath Yogini is built in granite and dedicated to Goddess Kali. The other major temples include Devi Jagdamba, Chitragupta etc.
The two most significant temples in the Southern Group of complex are Duladeo and Chaturbhuja. Having built in 1150 AD and 1100 AD respectively, the striking sculpture of both the temples adds to their grace and poise.
Sound and Light Show
If you are keen to know more about the history, facts, and myths of the temples, then the Sound and Light Show is a must. Organized in the open lawns surrounded by the temples, the post-sunset show is bound to give you a serene experience with some cool breezes whizzing by your hair. The show runs in English and Hindi languages catering to both national and international tourists. The Western Group of temples also witness “Khajuraho Dance Festival” every year in the last week of February. It is a week-long festival showcasing the various Classical Dance forms of India. More can be enquired at their official website http://khajurahodancefestival.com/
They say you haven’t tasted India if you haven’t had the street food. There is nothing as satisfying as eating the local delicacies on the streets of India. Just like any other town, Khajuraho too serves some quick to have snacks like Samosas, Bhajiyas, Jalebi, Dal Bafla etc. However, if you are looking out for a main meal restaurant, here are two tried and tested suggestions.
Badri Seth Marwari Bhoj – This one serves only Vegetarian Indian food. Though be assured, this is an authentic Indian restaurant and your taste buds will certainly not get disappointed. Bonus advice – Don’t miss out on their delicious Rabri! (a sweet condensed-milk-based dish)
Raja’s Cafe – A multi-cuisine restaurant, it offers you a wide variety to choose from along with the fine-looking view of Western Group of Khajuraho temples. It offers vegan and gluten-free options as well.
Beni Sagar Dam
Hello Nature lovers! This place is especially for you. The pretty lush greenery that shelters the dam attracts green panthers from all over the country. The dam is built on the banks of river Khuddar and spread across 8 square kilometers. It is also a perfect spot to view the sunset and click spectacular pictures. On the sidelines of the Khajuraho Dance Festival held in February, this place hosts a number of water sports and activities as it sees maximum footfalls during this time. A testimony that February is indeed the best time to visit the town if you wish to observe the festivities.
Many foreign tourists compare this place with The Grand Canyon. Reason being the gigantic canyon formed of five types of igneous rocks, making it a rare place in Asia. The natural waterfall named Raneh Falls on the River Ken would make you ace your photography skills. Located 20 km from Khajuraho, the falls are named after King Rane Pratap and is a perfect place for a sunbath.
Panna National Park
Not far from Raneh Falls, is located Panna National Park. This park is home to various animal species and over 200 bird species. And don’t get surprised if you hear the roar of a Tiger, as it also shelters 21 Tigers and 11 Cubs. The place offers Jungle Safari drives on Safari vehicles and will be a respite for you if you admire nature and love to trek. Consider touring it anytime between December to March for a better experience. http://www.pannatigerreserve.in/tourism/tourist_info.htm#besttime
Allow your heart and soul, the solitude it yearned for while you are lost amidst the natural gems and beauty that this place is loaded with. The Pandav Falls are situated 30 meters up at the bank of River Ken, forming a steep ravine. The waterfall is named after the legends of the Indian Epic Mahabharata, “Pandav brothers”, who are believed to have visited the region during their exile.
Ken Gharial Sanctuary
Adjoining to Raneh Falls, it is again a ‘not to miss’ tourist attraction as you can see a rare species of the crocodile family here, “Gharial” (also known as Gavial). Ken Gharial Sanctuary has many other wildlife species in its shelter. Additionally, the visitors can enjoy the Flora attractions which include Salai, Teak, Flame of Forest, Seja etc.
So far so good! If you liked the Khajuraho temples, you would love this place even more as not only it is historically rich but it also offers a magnificent view of Vindhya Ranges, the expansive landscape. An 80 km drive from Khajuraho will take you to the beautiful Ajaigarh Fort standing alone at a height of 688 meters on a hilltop in the district of Panna. The Fort was a fortress of Chandela Kings and would test your listening skills while the guide takes you to its historical past.
Hopefully, by now you might have made up your mind and probably switching the window to book your tickets. Happy Travelling to you!