India, has forever been known for the wealth of its diverse cultural heritage, with over 35 UNESCO world heritage sites among other centres of archaeological significance, be it the palaces and fortresses of Rajasthan, the Ghats of the Ganges in Varanasi, the temples of Khajuraho or one of the seven wonders of the world – the Taj Mahal in all its glory, each one weaving a story of its own. Take up an archaeological tour to ignite the explorer in you, travelling solo or group, unearthing the mysterious of India’s glorious past:
South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tourism minister Derek Andre Hanekom on Thursday said Khajuraho should be on everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bucket list.
Hanekom said he was thankful to the Indian government for choosing a fascinating venue for the BRICS event.
Khajuraho- The temple town of Khajuraho is famous for the eroticÃ‚Â Ã‚Â sculptures and often connected to the Kama sutra. It is only when you visit the beautiful town and it’s temples, you realise that the Ã‚Â temples of Khajuraho are much more than just “erotic sculpture temples”.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Khajuraho is a small town with 20,000 people . During peak season it gets almost 600 international tourist a day, in off season this number significantly reduces. That said , it was nice visiting Khajuraho in the off season as roads are empty, Ã‚Â we had the temples almost to ourselves for exploring, Ã‚Â we cycled on the boulevards without any problem and most importantly, hotel prices are really low!
We flew into Khajuraho by the midday flight from Varanasi. A short 40Ã‚Â minute Ã‚Â flight later we arrived at the beautiful ,secluded,Ã‚Â Ã‚Â quite town of Khajuraho. The airport is a 10 min drive from the “downtown” of Khajuraho – which is a 2 kms long Ã‚Â circular boulevard with hotels on either sides of the boulevard Ã‚Â and the Western Temples .Ã‚Â Khajuraho – the name comes from the numerous Date (kharjur) tress spread around the region during the period it was built in. Now, there is not a single Date tree left in the region.
All hotels in Khajuraho have only two floors- ground and first floor. They also do not have lifts. Please request for a room specifically on the ground floor incase you cannotÃ‚Â climb to the first floor. The airport is a 10 minute drive away from the hotels and normally Khajuraho gets 1 flight a day during off peak season and 2 flights a day during peak season.
While driving on the boulevard, you do feel like you are in the 1990 or 1980’s . This is because the hotels (the only construction you will see as you exit the airport) were constructed during those years. However, when you enter the hotels , you feel more like you are in the 2016
Since it was a nice and cloudy day, we choose to visit the temples in the afternoon. We visited the Western Temples with our guide and learnt about the history and architecture of the temples.Ã‚Â The temples of Khajuraho were built betweenÃ‚Â 950 and 1050 by the ChandelaÃ‚Â dynasty. There were originally over 85 temples which were constructed.About 25 temples are said to exist now.
The western temple compound consist of 6 temples; the temple of Lord Vishnu is considered the main temple. We learnt about different theories of Ã‚Â science and physics used to built the temple. From the angles the windows were placed at and the theory of ecology in the design to the depiction of all elements of a life, the temples were an extraordinary example of great architecture.
Later we walked around the compound and visited the other temples before returning to our hotel for some rest. In the evening we visited the temple site again for the Sound and light show. The show was nice with the temples light up in different colours. Shikhar Travels alwaysÃ‚Â recommends its client Ã‚Â to do the Sound and Light show after guided sightseeing of the temples so it is easy to keep up with the story .
The following morning , we relaxed at our hotel before departing at 3 pm for Panna National Park. We were excited and hopeful to view a Tiger. The National park is a 45 minute drive from Khajuraho. Our naturalist and driver , both came with a lot of experience and made the journey very exciting. We spotted one tiger, three crocodiles , numerous white spotted deers, peacock , peahens, Gray Langur, Sambar Deer and some beautiful brids.
The best part of our journey in Khajuraho was cycling- we hired cycles from our hotel and went on ride on the boulevard. The roads are always empty during off peak season and it was simply a beautiful experience, specially since we do not get to cycle at all in cities like Delhi.Ã‚Â We visited the Eastern Temples during our ride, which were not half as exciting as the Western Temples. Ã‚Â We skipped the Southern Temples entirely! But the experience of cycling on the boulevard was just fantastic.
Shikhar Travels recommend Khajuraho as a two day destination. So you can enjoy the beautiful Ancient Temples and witness the Tigers at Panna National Park.
Madhya Pradesh is not called the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœheart of IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ only because of its location on the centre of the country. It has been home to the cultural heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Innumerable monuments, exquisitely caved temples, stupas, forts and palaces are dotted all over the state. The natural beauty of the state is equally varied. Consisting largely of plateu, the state has everything-spectacular mountain range, meandering rivers and miles and miles dense forests. In fact, a large part of the state is forested, offering a unique and exciting panorama of wildlife. In the National park of Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench you can spot the tiger, the bison and wide variety of deer and antelope. But perhaps the best part about Madhya Pradesh is its accessibility. Bordered by five states, it is equally close to major tourist destinations from the North, South, East and West. Whether you are in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai or Kolkata, YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re never very far from Madhya Pradesh!
Popular tourist places in Madhya Pradesh are:
Bhopal: The capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is a fascinating amalgam of scenic beauty, a proud heritage and modern urban planning. An Afghan soldier of fortune, Dost Mohammed (1708-1740) was the founder of the existing city.
Sanchi: A World Heritage Site, Sanchi, is known for its stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The Sanchi Stupa (Stupa 1), the best known, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.
Indore: Built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore is one of the fastest growing economic regions in India. Situated on the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Khan, the vibrant city has some beautiful monuments associated with the Holkar dynasty.
Gwalior: Ã‚Â It is steeped in the splendor of its past. A multitude of reigning dynasties of the great rajput clans have left an indelible etching of their rule in the city of palaces, temples and monuments giving Gwalior a unique and timeless appeal. Today, it is a modern Indian city, vibrant and bustling. Gwalior fort was built by Raja Mansingh Tomar, dominates the city like a great monolith.
Orchha: At Orchha, grandeur has been captured in stone and frozen in time; a rich legacy of the ages. The palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries, retain much of their pristine perfection.
Kanha National Park: Sal and bambee forests of Kanha and its rolling grasslands and meandering steams stretch over 940 sq km in dramatic natural splendor.
Bandhavgarh National Park: This is one place where you can be almost certainÃ‚Â of seeing a tiger in its natural habitat. Stretching over 448 sq km, Bandhavgarh national park is rich in other forms of wildlife like deer, leopard, sambar and wild boar.
Khajuraho: The temples of Khajuraho are IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unique gift to the world, representing a paean to life, love and joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression.