Last Updated: December 6, 2019 Abhishek Gurung
If you are feeling a gravitational pull towards spirituality and architectural heritage, India is the go-to-destination as it is blessed with such places and sights that can satiate the thirst for some soul-stirring exploration. In order to get one such extraordinary experience that too of the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site in India, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is the destination you have to plan a trip to. For the first time India explorers, it is for certain you may wonder why Khajuraho is a must visit and for certain, you will get all the answer to your question when you visit. The sights that will accompany you are of the beautiful temple complexes that are adorned with Nagara style of architecture but that’s not all, the temples here are replete with erotic sculptures. No wonder Khajuraho is called the land of the Kamasutra. Might just add, Khajuraho may not be an ideal family destination, however, it is a definite tourist place to explore the art and architecture that date back to 950 AD.
In fact, in order to ease your trip we have mentioned some of the must visits and things to do while in this enchanting temple town of Khajuraho:
Places to Visit
The Western Group of Temples
Khajuraho’s Western Group has a fascinating collection of temples, in fact, it is regarded as the best that comprises of temples such as Kandariya Mahadeo, Devi Jagadambi Temple, Chausath Yogini Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Varaha Temple and Vishwanath Temple. However, amongst them all, the three most visited are mentioned below:
1. Kandariya Mahadev Temple
One of the most impressive and refined temples in Khajuraho is the Kandariya Mahadev Temple that displays over 800 sculptures. In fact, this is the most impressive temple structure as compared to the rest and it is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Shiva. Inside, in the sanctum, you can find a Shiva Linga made of marble surrounded by around 646 statues making it look spellbinding. During your visit here, you can also witness the entire yellow sandstone temple featuring the erotic sculptures and perhaps, this is the temples sole purpose, ‘to display the affection of love and the art of sex.’
2. Lakshmana Temple
One word description that surrounds this particular temple of Khajuraho is Magnificent. Lakshmana Temple appears similar to Kandariya Mahadev Temple, however, it is the oldest and the largest in the Western Group of Temples. It is a must visit shrine that will certainly captivate the beholder through its intricately carved statues and the adhisthana (lower platform) that will levitate your heart seeing its beautiful work of art. Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and inside the shrine, you can witness a beautiful female bracket figure and a high carved ceiling at the entrance porch of the temple.
3. Matangeshwar Temple
Unlike other temples in Khajuraho, Matangeshwar Temple has its own specialty. It may not be adorned with intricate decor or exotic sculptures but one thing this shrine offers is the eight-foot Shiva Linga. It is the highest lingam in the entire North India made of yellow sandstone. Besides, here, you can expect to be engrossed in the worship of Lord Shiva and the best time to visit is during the morning aarti as there will be fewer people as compared to evenings. However, make sure to plan a visit during the festive months of February or March during Shivratri.
Eastern Group of Temples
Slightly smaller as compared to Khajuraho’s Western Group, the eastern side too has a mishmash of beautifully adorned temples and they are Parsvanath Temple, Ghantai Temple, Hanuman Temple, Brahma Temple and Vamana Temple. Amongst these temples, the below mentioned are most visited and photographed.
4. Adinath Temple
Adorned with delicate carvings of Yakshis, which is a female mythical being and a style of Islamic architecture in its Ardha Mandapa (entrance porch), Adinath Temple is where you can wander and admire medieval Indian architecture as you circumambulate around its Pradakshina. Adinath is a small and charming temple dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Adinath, who was also the founder of Jainism. This temple is a part of the eastern group of temples and is surrounded by lustrous gardens. A visit here can help you explore marvellous figures of female goddesses.
5. Javari Temple
One of the alluring tourist attractions in Khajuraho known for its complicated and intricate design, the temple of Javari is a beautiful shrine surrounded by Godly figures. According to the locals, this particular temple is named after the owner of the land and that it is not dedicated to any Hindu deity, however, on the other hand, it is believed that the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. A visit here can certainly be worth it as the artwork is amazing in the Niranthara temple, mandapa, sanctum, vestibule, and portico.
Other Places to Visit around Khajuraho
Your visit to the temple town does not only limit your exploration here, in fact, there are many places of tourist interest that needs to be visited such as:
6. Panna National Park
Just 40 minutes drive from the temple town of Khajuraho, you will be greeted by a beautiful wildlife destination called, Panna National Park. It is a must to visit this tiger reserve, in fact, you can consider this as an opportunity to make the most of your holiday in Khajuraho. While here the wild attraction you can see are leopard, wolf, hyena and many other species also the beautiful river Ken adds a charming effect to the entire park where you can go for a boat safari. However, there are no jeep safaris provided but there are possibilities for you to hire your own jeep for a wildlife safari in Panna National Park.
7. Raneh Falls
Another enthralling sightseeing spot for tourists that will alleviate your heart is Raneh Falls. Located around 30 minutes from the temple town of Khajuraho, this waterfall is best visited during monsoons to get a sight of a full flash of gushing water. However, the beauty this place offers is not the sole waterfall but also its rock formations. The granite landscape appears to look as if the rocks have been finely cut from the top making it appear like a series of crystal towers. So beautiful, your eyes won’t blink seeing the landscape, emerald waters, and sandy granite rock walls. Nature lovers are certainly going to enjoy a day trip to Raneh Falls.
8. Ken Gharial Sanctuary
A haven for enthusiastic nature explorers, here is another interesting wildlife place around 5 km north of Raneh Falls, Ken Gharial Sanctuary. This nature reserve in Khajuraho is another tourist hotspot that offers scenic sights of critically-endangered animal species. As a matter of fact, this nature destination is adjoining the Panna National Park, and the landscapes are similar. But making the waterfall and this nature reserve close by, most of the tour guides prefer to take this route, i.e. if you want to visit these two attractions in one day. Here, like Panna, you can spot animals like tigers, spotted deer, wild boars as well as a variety of birds, and if you are in luck, you may get to see Shaheen Falcon.
9. Ajaigarh Fort
A drive for almost two hours can get you to another best-kept tourist place to visit, hovering high in the Vindhya Mountain Range, Ajaigarh Fort. Approximately 206 meters in altitude, this fort offers breathtaking sight of the Ken river and Panna National Park, i.e. if the day is clear. Nevertheless, the fort glorifies its fine example of architecture of the Chandela dynasty but despite having very little to explore in terms of architecture and old building structures (with most being left out, just series of ruins) the fort still attracts tourists as it oozes fumes of ancient tales of the people once lived here.
10. Beni Sagar Dam
Within a kilometre from the Khajuraho railway station lies another nature hotspot, the Beni Sagar Dam that offers riveting and refreshing public picnic spot for families. Spreading around 7.7 sq. km, with only lush greens and soothing ambience, this place shouts peace and tranquility. It is perhaps an ideal place to come and soothe your tired and restless soul from the chaotic city life. Beni Sagar Dam also provides a few activities that include hiking and rowing, you can go for a nature walk to nearby offbeat trails and later row your boat (or get rowed) on a boating activity around the dam.
11. Archaeological Museum Khajuraho
Originally built by W.A. Jardine in the year 1910 and newly constructed in 2016, this Archaeological Museum in Khajuraho is located in the north of Western Group of Temples. This place offers attractions of tourist interest that tells stories of the past, a place perfect for tourists, historians to be specific. Inside, you can witness a rare collection of sculptures, architectural ruins, and various galleries. Also, you can find a few information panels that narrate Chandela history. The main purpose for the tourism department to maintain such museum is to preserve antiques that are exquisite and priceless. Make sure to make a pitstop here while traversing the historical temple town.
12. Jain Museum
Considering Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain Kala Sangrahalaya to be a rather too complicated name for a museum, you can simply call it as a Jain Museum. Because all things you will find inside are associated with Jain culture. Ever since 1987, as an establishing year, this museum gathers many tourists, historians, and children for educational tours. Located amid the Eastern Temple Group, this museum displays a circular gallery that shows Jain sculptures and Yakshis sculptures. There are also statues of Tirthankaras (spiritual leaders) and Makara Toranas situated right at the museum entrance.
Things to Do
13. Attend the Sound and Light Show in Khajuraho
As the sunsets deeming all the artsy work in different temple complexes, you can watch an exciting show. If you plan a stay in Khajuraho, make sure to attend the sound and light show that takes place near the Western Group of Temples. The Indian classical music and the technicolour floodlights are for sure going to sweep you off your feet. Don’t believe us? Well, find it for yourself. The show narrates the story of the past through their folk dances and musical acts and to be a part of the show as a spectator, you need to give an entry fee of Rupees 120 (Indian) and 400 (Foreigners). Also, make sure to mark the timings (cross-check as it may differ).
English: 18:30 – 19:25
Hindi: 19:40 – 20:35
14. Savour delicious and cheap street food of Khajuraho
The street food of the local place is certainly a must try, that tangy chutney and crunchy samosas are the prized possessions of this Indian destination. Although there is more to offer as this temple town has a couple of restaurants and cafes serving only the best Indian delicacies. In fact, for cheap eats, visit the Jain Temples Road and here as soon as the sunsets, the neon lights and yellow bulbs light the street and various joints selling south and north Indian cuisine along with fast foods such as omelettes, patties and of course Tibetan dumplings start to line up.
15. Explore the old town of Khajuraho
The land of Khajuraho has two beautiful sides, but the one that must be visited to explore its culture and lifestyle is the old city. A walk down the rural grounds of the temple town, which was anciently called as Kharjura Vaahaka will give a rather rustic appeal as you traverse old mud cemented huts and crack wooden doors easily able to peek into their lives. An old town cultural walking tour may also let you encounter ladies dressed in colourful sarees engrossed in their daily chores. If you take a local guide in Khajuraho, there are chances to get insight into their homes, lifestyle.
Visiting this popular destination of Khajuraho filled with many exotic attractions may make you feel like your heart has skipped a beat; the artsy architectural wonders and nearby tourist places are certainly charming and should not be missed. In fact, you can make the most of this holiday season by visiting the town of temples and if any assistance is needed, all you have to do is call us at +91-9212553106 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear about our seasonal tour packages that may fit your budget.
Published: 23 Oct, 2017
Abhishek Gurung is a writer whose passion for food and travel is an unending affair. He likes going on treks and camping in the woods, loves exploring forts and architecture, he is a cycle enthusiast who likes to contribute something to the environment, travel photography and videography is another interest as he sees life in a cinematic point of view. He likes the idea of living in offbeat destination where the mode of communication is to interact with each other. Coming from Nagaland, he has visited some beautiful valleys and remote villages and appreciates nature as it is and as it should be.