Option 4: Khajuraho with Orchha
How to Reach:
By Air: Khajuraho is served by Khajuraho Airport with services to Delhi, Agra and Mumbai, Or Alternatively you may start your journey from Jhansi to Orchha, Jhansi is 15kms from Orchha by road
By Rail: Khajuraho has a good network of railway an is well connected to all major cities in Madhya Pradesh and Rest of India
By Road: Khajuraho is well connected by a network of state Highway and National highways
Things to do:
Temples of Khajuraho Temples of Khajuraho
Temples of Khajuraho Architecture of temples in Khajuraho
Carving on outside of Temples of Khajuraho
Khajuraho: Located in the state of Madhya Pradesh India, the Khajuraho city is famous the world over for its temples, sex, architecture and sculpture. Built between 950 and 1050 our era, by the Chandel dynasty, they are considered the height of Indian architecture from this period. At first they were built in total number of 85 temples, of which only about 22 have been preserved until today. For a long time these temples were left to their fate, until they were rediscovered in the twentieth century. The Khajuraho temples have the most graphic, erotic and sensuous sculptures the world has ever known. These temples have been in the included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two schools of Hinduism and to Jainism – suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains.
This archaeological site is known for its sculptured temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Jain patriarchs. Khajuraho is one of the four holy sites linked to deity Shiva (the other three are Kedarnath, Kashi and Gaya). Its origin and design is a subject of scholarly studies. Of the surviving temples, 6 are dedicated to Shiva and his consorts, 8 to Vishnu and his affinities, 1 to Ganesha, 1 to Sun god, 3 to Jain Tirthanks.
The Khajuraho temples feature a variety of art work, of which 10% is sexual or erotic art outside and inside the temples. Scholars state that the erotic arts are part of Hindu tradition of treating kama as an essential and proper part of human life, and its symbolic or explicit display is common in Hindu temples. The temples in Khajuraho are broadly divided into three parts: the Eastern group, the Southern Group and the Western group of temples of which the Western group alone has the facility of an Audio guided tour wherein the tourists are guided through the seven to eight temples. There is also an audio guided tour developed by the Archaeological Survey of India which includes a narration of the temple history and architecture.
Another Interesting legend attached to the Khajuraho Temples that, Hemavati was extraordinarily beautiful daughter of Hemraj, the royal priest of Kashi (Varanasi). One summer night when she was bathing in a lotus pond, the Moon God mesmerized by her beauty descended on the earth in a human form and ravished her. When later he saw a distraught Hemvati, he repented for ruining her honor and blessed her with a gallant son who he promised would later become a king. Hemavati gave birth to a boy named Chandravarman through this union. Chandravarman later grew up to establish the Chandela dynasty and erected the Khajuraho Temple revealing the eroticism and passions of life on his mother’s request. Different legends are attached to the origin of the Khajuraho Temple, although there is one common factor to its existence, which is the sublime portrayal of the way to the attainment of nirvana (moksha) through worldly desires and affections.
The Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in February. It features various classical Indian dances set against the backdrop of the Chitragupta or Vishwanath Temples. The Khajuraho temple complex offers a light and sound show every evening. The first show is in English language and the second one in Hindi. It is held in the open lawns in the temple complex, and has received mixed reviews.
The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development has set up kiosks at the Khajuraho railway station, with tourist officers to provide information for Khajuraho visitors.
Raja Mahal View from Jehangir Mahal
Orchha along river Betwa
Orchha: Around 15kms from Jhansi and 180kms from Khajuraho is Orchha, founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatris. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacula. On a seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, which has been surrounded by a battlement wall, stands a huge palace-fort. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which is the Raja Mahal.
The Uth Khana(Camel Shelter) where the King’s camels were stationed is right next to the fort and is a must see. Tourists can also climb on the roof of the Uth Khana and get a fastastic view of Orchha town. The ruins behind the fort complex are an even greater watch. It makes a tourist travel back in time and is an integral part of a visit to Orchha. It houses the residences of various military officers, ministers (housing, roads etc.), gunpowder factory etc. Although most are in absolute ruins, a silent walk through the ruins can give one goosebumps. Strewn around the area are the little shrines and memorials, each with its own poignant history, each contributing to the nostalgic beauty that is Orchha.
A mesmerizing show of the sound and Light takes place at various destinations in Orchha. These destionation include the Chaturbhuj temple, the Jehangir Mahal, the Raj Mahal, the Cenotaphs, etc. The show takes place from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm in English and 8:45 pm to 9:45 pm in Hindi at these places during summers (March to Ocotber). And from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in English and and 7:45 to 8:45 pm in Hindi during the winters (November to February). Entrance fee for these shows are Rs. 250/- per person for foreigners and Rs. 75/- per person for Indians.
Picturesque Panna National Park and Pandav Falls
Panna National Park: When in Khajuraho you may also wisit the Panna National Park which is spread along the banks of the River Ken, the park’s topography is a magnificent one of deep gorges, tranquil valley and dense teak forests. During the monsoons, the park is a lush green haven with cascading waterfalls. The park’s area includes the former shooting reserves of the erstwhile royal state of Panna and Chhattarpur and the jungles today harbour many species of wildlife. The tiger can be glimpsed here, along with other rare species such as the Leopard, Wolf and Gharial. Herds of Blue Bulls, Chinkaras and Sambars are a common sight. The Wild Boar, the Sloth Bear, the Cheetal, the Chowsingha, the Indian Fox, the Porcupine, and a host of lesser fauna are also seen. A separate sanctuary for Gharial has been set up. The park can probably boast of the highest density of the Paradise Fly-Catchers. This rich avian and faunal life combined with its picturesque scenery make a visit to the Park a memorable one. Also boating is allowed in the park for crocodile sight- seeing with an additional fee for it.
Pandav Falls: Pandav falls are located on Panna Road, around 34 km away from Khajuraho. It is an excellent scenic spot adored by rocky gorges and waterfalls
Other places near Khajuraho are Raneh Falls, Benisagar Lake
Suggested Itinerary: 3 Nights /4 days
Day1: Reach Khajuraho, Day at leisure, In the evening you may attend the various Light and Sound shows. Overnight in Khajuraho
Day2: After breakfast, you may visit the Khajuraho Group of Temples, Evening free to explore the local town
Day3: After breakfast you may opt to visit the Panna National park, later take an onward journey to Orchha. Reach Orchha . In the evening attend the Light and sound show, Overnight at Orchha
Day 4: After breakfast, you may visit the palaces and temples in Orchha. Later in the evening, take your onward journey to your destination
Approximate package cost with accommodation in a budget hotel with Breakfast for 3 Nights / 4Days will be Rs 17900 for a couple