Best Places To Visit And Things To Do In Khajuraho
Mention the word ‘Khajuraho’ and one immediately conjures up images of erotic statues and sculptures. Well, that’s because Khajuraho is famously known the world over, as the destination which has India’s largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples containing erotic sculptures. Khajuraho is a small town in the Chhatarpur district of the state of Madhya Pradesh. A very popular tourist destination, the magnificent Khajuraho temples are admired for their Nagara-style architecture and the Khajuraho group of monuments have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. It is also considered one of the ‘Seven Wonders of India’! While this destination may not be an ideal one for the whole family, it is a sure delight for lovers of ancient history, art and architecture.
The best time to visit Khajuraho would be from October to February when the weather there is extremely pleasant and sometimes quite cold. Also it is the best time to catch the special attraction and much-awaited event of the Khajuraho Dance Festival which takes place in February every year.
How to reach :
By air – Khajuraho has its own domestic airport which has regular flights to many other Indian cities.
By train – The Khajuraho railway station has limited connectivity to a few other cities only. But the railway station at Mahoba Junction has a good rail network with many other cities across the country.
By Bus – Bus services are available from several other cities to Khajuraho.
Some must-visit attractions :
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple :
One of the most magnificent temples in Khajuraho, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and exhibits more than 800 sculptures. Most impressive as compared to the rest of the temples, one can find a spectacular spectacle in the inner sanctum of the temple where a marble Shiva lingam is surrounded by an amazing 646 statues. It is at this temple that tourists can marvel at the beautiful architecture and erotic sculptures. The sound and light show organized at the temple in the evenings is another highlight.
Timings: 6 am to 10 pm
Panna National Park :
Located at a distance of about 22 kms from Khajuraho, the Panna National Park is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries along with a couple of others in Madhya Pradesh. Considered as one of the very well maintained parks in India, one can see interesting ancient rock paintings all over the park and beautiful waterfalls created by the Ken river flowing through it. The park has some fascinating wildlife like wild cats including tigers and leopards, deer, antelopes, endangered species like the Indian wolf, four-horned antelope, sloth-bear pangolin and so many more. A lot of migratory birds can be found here too. The park is shut during the monsoons from July to September.
Safari timings: 6 am to 10.30 am and 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Raneh Falls :
Another enchanting attraction, just about 21 km from Khajuraho, is the beautiful Raneh Falls which is located in the Chhatarpur district of the state. This spectacular natural waterfall is formed by the river Ken running over one of the oldest rocks on earth, the Vindhya Basalt and the cascading water is surrounded by lovely rock formations. The lush greenery all around the falls provides the much needed respite to city-dwellers and makes a wonderful sight to behold. There is a hiking trail near the waterfall, for nature lovers and tourists can also enjoy a boat-ride in the river Ken. The falls are at it’s best just after the monsoons, from September to November.
Timings: 8 am to 5 pm.
Ken Gharial Sanctuary :
The Ken Gharial sanctuary is quite a captivating spot for tourists who are interested in nature and wildlife. This sanctuary adjoins the Panna National park and so the terrain and landscape is pretty similar. Home to some critically endangered species, one can spot tigers, wild boars, several other animals, a variety of birds, the very rare Shaheen Falcoln and Gharial. The sunrise and sunset from this location is an awesome experience and worth witnessing.
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset.
Ajaigarh Fort :
The Ajaigarh Fort is yet another famous tourist spot close to Khajuraho, at an approximate distance of about 75-80 kms. Perched high at a height of about 688 metres, in the Vindhya mountain ranges, this fort was once the capital of the Chandela dynasty in their declining years and thus has a rich historical past and tells about the impressive architecture of those times. Though the fort is now in ruins, there is still plenty to explore and is quite a delight for history lovers. The fort also offers a splendid view of the landscape around, which includes the Ken river and Panna National Park, provided it is a clear day.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Picture Credits : bespokeindiatravel.com