Khajuraho : Exotic and Unbelievable

On 25th Jan 2007 “Panna Tiger Reserve” has been given the Award of Excellence “The Best Maintained Tourist Friendly National Park of the Country” by the Ministry of Tourism Govt. of India.

The scroll running on the website http://www.pannatigerreserve.in/index.htm was too tempting to ignore and caught my attention immediately. This soon followed by an opportunity to attend my friend’s marriage function in Naogaon, Chattarpur, Madhya Pradesh. It was a sheer luck that the Tiger abode was just 100 km ahead. How one can think to miss such an opportunity so I planned an extended, hectic but rewarding tour of Khajuraho, Panna Tiger Reserve and off-course the wedding.



I didn’t get the confirmed ticket but so what one night pain was equal to lots of gain. The UP Sampark Kranti Express was overcrowded due to Khajuraho Mahotsav. From Agra entire world appeared to get board on the same compartment I was travelling to. More than anything else on my entire trip I could easily remember an “American Beauty” with two ugly “Psycho”, with waiting e-ticket that simply implies without reservation, on that compartment.  There was a sense of responsibility suddenly developed inside me and I decided to help the beauty with a practical suggestion. It was really funny, the TT was not comfortable with English, I suggested them to argue with him by showing the e-ticket and another ticket that they had (from Delhi to Agra) one-by-one and buy some time till Jhansi. As the stoppage in Jhansi was for a longer duration so that one of them could go and buy the ticket for onward journey. Thankfully everything went as planned and I saved the beauty from the beast.

Khajuraho is a smal village like area with some developed tourist zone. Auto would charge 50-100 Rs (depends on negotiation skills) till Western Side Temple. Arrangement of my stay was done by local reporter of the channel I worked for, that was pretty comfortable and merely 200 m from temples. After getting fresh and breakfast I started exploring western zone of temples.

Since I was alone, so I took the ‘Audio Guide’ i.e. a pair of headphone and a playing device. It was pretty impressive and had detailed information with voice over, sound effect and expert point of view. One thing is very funny about this instrument; we need to pay 60 Rs for Hindi and 100 Rs for English, though it is very easy to change the language after hiring it. In the era of smart phone such a small device can’t act too smart with us.

Now let the images do the talking.

The Carvings of Khajuraho temples are among the finest temple art in the world. Legend says that the Khajuraho was founded by Chandravarman, the son of the moon god Chandra. The Chandela dynasty built the temples, many of which originally rose from a lake, and survived for five centauries before falling to Mughal assault.   Most of the 85 Temples, of which some 25 are remains today, were built during AD 950 to AD 1050.

It is hard to think that why these marvel of architectures are build here in complete isolation? There is nothing of significant interest or beauty to recommend Khajuraho as a building site and also there is no big population so some big fort nearby. Whatever be the answer the truth is that this isolated location helped preserve it from the vandalism of Muslim invaders. Due to the threat of Afghan invaders, Chandela kings forsook Khajuraho for their forts. Also all the religious activities were abandoned so that this should be kept away from the eyes of invaders. With the passing time forest covered this entire region.

The rest of the world remained ignorant about these temples until a British officer T S Burt was guided to the ruins in 1838. He was surprised and shocked by what he saw at the architectural treasure house. He described the erotica as ‘a little warmer than there was any absolute necessity for’. I decided not to post the pictures here because we get visitors of all ages. But those of you who have been to Khajuraho will understand what the British officer was talking about.

I started at 12 and finished by 4 the group of western side of temples. Then I hired an auto for 200 Rs to cover the rest of the temples. Since there was no guide or guided audio tour, so I clicked images and finished all of them in another 3 hours. The eastern group consists of four temples scattered around the village and three Jain temples within a premise.

The Duladeo temple, Chaturbhuja temple and Bijamandala temple belongs to southern group of temple. These temples were built in last around 1100-50 AD.

Now it was time to attend the wedding function. Naogaon is some 120 km from Khajuraho. It was interesting to travel in rural Madhya Pradesh in crowded bus, which ply on fixed time and always run overcrowded. After attending the function around 12 in night I started return journey of another 100 km from there to stay at “Jungle camp Resort” which is next to entry gate of “Panna Tiger Reserve”.  We reached at 3 in the night to the resort, slept with most of the cloth on because early morning at 6 it was time to hunt for the predators.

Continue…

25 Comments

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ???? ??????, ???? ???
    ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ????? ??, ????? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?????

  • Simply Superb Amit…………………
    No more words to say……………………

    Thanks for taking to khajuraho…………………

  • Aditya says:

    Nice log Amit…

    I was waiting for it the time i saw it in the scheduled list.

    I too went to Khajuraho in January this year and opted for the Audio guide tour in the Western group of temples and as you said it was impressive and more so the information it gave about the history, the architecture, the stone work, the statues and the concept fascinated me.

    And as the place is frequented mostly by the foreigners, the food selection in the restaurants opposite to the Western group of temples is excellent.

  • subodhkyadav says:

    Very well written Amit , I guess it is a well timed trip … is this intentional or by chance …. :)

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Great pictures, Amit, and lots of useful information.

    It was amusing to read that one could pay for Hindi audio guide and switch it to English without paying a single paisa more. A cool savings of Rs. 40! Jokes apart, this differential pricing gives a wrong impression that English has more inherent value than Hindi. If the idea is to earn more revenue from foreginers, then it can be stipulated that the audio guides are priced at Rs. 60 for Indians and Rs.100 for foreigners. Or even better, charge them Rs.500 ($10) and give them superior headsets and a wider choice of languages like French, Spanish, Japanese, etc. All over the world, foreign tourists are charged more to raise funds required for providing amenities to them.

  • ashok sharma says:

    good write up ,nice pics.worth visiting

  • ???? ?? , ??? ?? ?? ?????? ????? …………?? ?? ???????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ???????? …………???? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ………….
    ?????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ????

  • Wow what nice pictures Amit, this comes as a gift to your upcoming marriage :-)

    Regards
    Anupam Mazumdar

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ?????? ?????..?????? ?????????..

  • Vipin says:

    Wonderful post, wonderful pictures and wonderful temples………revisited Khajuraho through your eyes……

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Great post Amit and very nice shots. I first went to Khajuraho in 2008 and then again came back in 2010. Those sculptures are out of the world.

    @ Astro – Yes, the food joints like ‘Raja Cafe’, ‘Mediterino’ and one pizza place in the back alley are all very good.

    @ Neeraj – We went in December, both times, and it was warm even in December. It might be very muggy during Monsoon.

    We also attended the ‘Sound and Light Show’ which happens every evening. We found it be a little longer than what could hold our attention but once you listen to Amitabh Bacchan (who plays the narrator), it compensates every thing. They use the entire Western Group of Temples as the backdrop with the brilliant interplay of Sound and Light. A must see. Choose the ‘Hindi’ version, it is more grounded.

    Thanks again Amit. I know you are busy these days so we would wait for your response. Take Care.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Amit ji..
    Excellent & Nice Post……Khajuraho is very good place……..
    Picture are too good and wonderful….
    Thanks…………………………..
    Ritesh.Gupta

  • John Lee says:

    Well Amit it seems in your destiny it was there to visit khajuraho i hope it should happen with everyone & bye the way photographs are superb, of course it’s a amazing place.

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