A travel Guide to Khajuraho

Khajuraho Tourism

Khajuraho is a small town, located about 175 kms southeast of Jhansi, in the Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh in India. Three groups of enchanting Hindu and Jain temples make Khajuraho, India famous as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Khajuraho tourism attracts people from all across the world as the intricate rock carvings and marvellous Nagara style architecture of these temples are some of the finest forms of temple art.

These ancient temples were built during the reign of the Chandela Dynasty between 950 and 1050 AD. Out of the original 85 temples, only 22 have survived the ravages of nature and destruction. These were rediscovered by a British army engineer, Captain T. S. Burt in the year 1838. The temples have been classified into the Western Group, the Eastern Group and the Southern Group of Temples. According to legends, the temples had a couple of golden date-palm trees as their gate. The name, ‘Khajuraho’ was derived from ‘Khajuraho meaning date palm. The erotic sculptures of some of the temples depicting the Kamasutra are among the primary Khajuraho tourist attractions. These magnificent temples portray a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture.

Apart from the temples, your Khajuraho tour itinerary can easily include visits to the Panna National Park and Raneh Waterfalls. Also, there are many hotels in Khajuraho suiting the budget of all kinds of visitors.

Places to Visit in Khajuraho

1. Kandariya Mahadev Temple

Among the Western Group of Temples, the most popular is the Kandariya Mahadev Temple, built by Vidhyadhara, a powerful Chandela king. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the grandeur of this revered shrine constructed out of yellow sandstone leaves you simply awestruck. At the centre of the sanctum, there is a Shivalinga intricately carved out of pure marble and surrounded by 646 amazing statutes. The astonishing main spire depicting Mount Kailash in miniature takes your breath away. You can’t help but marvel at more than 800 beautiful frescos of women in different postures gracing the walls of the temple. This artistic depiction of eroticism makes Kandariya Mahadeva Temple one of the most popular Khajuraho attractions.

2. Lakshmana Temple

Lakshmana Temple is one of the oldest temples in Khajuraho and falls among primary Khajuraho tourist places. This architectural wonder showcases the legacy of King Yashovarman. The horizontal beam at the entrance of the temple represents the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. However, the temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Vishnu and exhibits an image of Vaikuntha Vishnu in its sanctum. The stunning exterior walls of the temple portray images of over 600 deities. On a closer inspection of the temple walls, you can find scenes depicting court life, the romance between men and women, and motifs of plant and animal kingdom. The lower platform of the temple is called the Adhisthana where the imposing 25.9 metres tall Lakshmana Temple stands.

3. Raneh Falls

Khajuraho tourism offers nature lovers a wonderful opportunity to relax in the lap of nature at the glorious Raneh Falls. Located at a distance of about 30 kms from Khajuraho town, this mesmerising waterfall forms a 30 feet deep canyon made of pure crystalline granite displaying alluring hues of red, pink and grey. Raneh Falls is best visited during the monsoon to get a clear view of the gushing emerald waters and get a delightful photo opportunity. The charming area has quite a few waterfalls at nearly every turn, and the lush greenery surrounding it gives it an ethereal feel.

4. Beni Sagar Dam

A Khajuraho travel guide should definitely include the majestic Beni Sagar Dam, which is a popular Khajuraho tourist place. Situated at the outskirts of Khajuraho town, this gigantic dam has been built on the Khuddar river, spreading across nearly 7.7 square kms. Visitors often come to this tranquil spot with families to enjoy a picnic or participate in refreshing leisure activities like boating and angling, etc. Another incentive to come up here would be to take memorable pictures of a spectacular sunrise or sunset. After the din and bustle of hectic city life, time spent here would never fail to soothe your mind and body.

5. Ajaigarh Fort

Khajuraho Tourism offers history and archaeology enthusiasts a chance to explore the ancient ruins of the Ajaigarh Fort which is another Khajuraho attraction worth mentioning. A couple of hours' car ride from Khajuraho takes you to the nearly 206-metre-tall fort standing on top of a hill in the Panna district. Wandering amidst the ruins, with the Vindhya range in the background, you get incredible views of the Ken river and Panna Reserve Forest. It currently has two gates, two temples and two rock-cut tanks near the northern gate. The tanks have been named Ganga and Yamuna. The grand fort bears tribute to the rich architectural history of the Chandela dynasty.

Things To Do in Khajuraho

There is no dearth of options for travellers in this city. In this travel guide, let’s check out some of the most interesting things to do in Khajuraho.

Light and Sound Show at the Western Group of Temples

If you plan to spend a night in Khajuraho, you should positively make it a point to witness the spectacular Light and Sound Show performed at the Western Group of Temples. The rich baritone of veteran actor Mr Amitabh Bachchan leaves you awestruck as you listen to the captivating folklores and watch the folk dances accompanied by Indian classical music. The multi-colour laser lights bathe the magnificent temples in an array of beautiful colours adding to the splendour of the show. These are paid shows which are held every evening inside the temple gardens and you should cross-check the timings with the authorities when buying the tickets. The shows are held in both English and Hindi and are considered among the top Khajuraho attractions.

Explore Wildlife at Panna National Park

Founded in 1981, the Panna National Park is situated about 57 kms from Khajuraho and spread across 543 square kms. It is India’s 22nd tiger reserve and also hosts many rare endangered species like cheetah, wild dog, hyena, nilgai, sloth bear, chital, sambar and chinkara. Wildlife enthusiasts can also spot around 200 species of exotic birds here that include white-necked stork, honey buzzard, king vulture, blossom-headed parakeet and paradise flycatcher. You can take fun-filled jeep safaris, boat rides or elephant rides inside the park. You also get an opportunity to stay at the cottages and rest houses made in the forest. Another important part of Khajuraho tourism, the cascading Pandava Falls awaits nature lovers here as they stop to rejuvenate their souls.

Witness Khajuraho Dance Festival

A Khajuraho travel guide is incomplete without mentioning the Khajuraho Dance Festival, usually held during the last week of February. Performed inside a massive open auditorium in the backdrop of the amazingly lit Chitragupta and Vishwanatha temples of the Western Group of Temples, the Khajuraho Dance Festival should never be missed. Many famous dancers and artists come here to perform the various classical Indian dance forms like Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi and Kathakali to name a few. Recently some modern dance forms have also added to the charm of the festival.

Explore History at State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art

You can spend some quality time exploring the rich history of Khajuraho at the State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art inside the Chandala Cultural Complex. The museum is a treasure of some of the most ancient relics and artefacts and also has a lovely art gallery exhibiting the exquisite tribal handicrafts. It is a well-maintained repository of masks, terracotta sculptures, folk paintings, bamboo articles and other articles of culture and tradition. The museum captures your interest instantly and does not fail to satiate the curiosity of the travellers and patrons of art. Among all Khajuraho tourist places, it holds its own importance.

Best Time to Visit Khajuraho

Located in central India, Khajuraho has a warm tropical climate with sultry summers when temperatures can reach as high as 45-degree centigrade in the afternoon. The best season to visit Khajuraho would be during the winter months from October till February when the weather is quite pleasant. It is the ideal time for sightseeing and taking temple tours. One can also easily roam around the museums without feeling tired. Apart from that, the much-awaited Khajuraho Dance Festival takes place in February, so late winter should be the best time to visit Khajuraho. Summers and monsoons are not considered ideal as the heat and humidity can spoil your plans.

How to Reach Khajuraho

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khajuraho is well connected to the rest of the country by airways, railways and roadways. As such passengers travel to and from the town at all times of the year.

By Airways

Khajuraho has a domestic airport located at a distance of around 2 kms from the south of the town. Most of the major carriers operate flights to Khajuraho from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Varanasi. These are mainly stopover flights. International travellers can take flights from Mumbai and Delhi. Passengers can avail of local cabs to reach any destination from the airport.

By Railways

Though Khajuraho has its own railway station, only a few trains stop here. One such train is Khajuraho-Hazrat Nizamuddin Express, which runs daily to and from Delhi. The nearest major railway station is Mahoba Junction, approximately 75 kms away from Khajuraho.

By Roadways

Khajuraho is nicely linked to nearby cities and towns with a regular bus network. Many buses ply from Khajuraho to cities like Satna, Jhansi, Chhatarpur, Jabalpur, Mahoba, Bhopal, Indore, etc. Passengers can choose from ac, non-ac and deluxe buses depending upon their preferences.

Plan You Travel