KHAJURAHO TOURISM GUIDE:
Map: Khajuraho Tourism, Madhya Pradesh, India
Location of Khajuraho: 385 Miles Southeast Of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh.
Famous As: World Heritage Site
Temples Built By: Chandela Rajputs (950 AD – 1050 AD.)
Special Features: Famous For Their Sculptures
There are few things in the world which are beyond compare and certain things that inspired human emotions to give an outlet to his spirtual and physical love. The erotic images of Khajuraho are the expresions of these human inner fellings . Every facade-wall, window, pillar, and ceiling of Khajuraho is carved with figures of mythical and historical origins, and while many of these depict the innocent form of love on these walls. Forgotten and unvisited until the mid-1960s, Khajuraho is now, after the Taj , India’s biggest single tourist attraction.
Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh, has the largest group of medieval temples each studded with countless sculptures of extraordinary grace and delicacy. The temples of Khajuraho, are indeed, celebrations of the stylized and refined courtly accomplishments of beauty, love and creative arts. Khajuraho temples lies about 385 miles (616 kilometers) southeast of Delhi.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN KHAJURAHO
The temples at Khajuraho are divided into three broad groups:
1. The Western Group, which is the largest, compact and centrally located group in Khajuraho, includes some of the most prominent monuments, built by the Chandela rulers.
2. The Eastern Group, which comprises of five detached sub-groups in and around the present village of Khajuraho, and
3. The Southern Group, which is the most distant one comprising of two main monuments near and across the Khudarnala.
The Western Group of Temples
The western group of temples, which the visitor encounters first, is situated along the main approach road to Khajuraho. This is the largest and most important group with most of its constituent temples laid out roughly in two rows. The Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple form one complex and the Visvanatha and Nandi temples are not far from this complex. These temples form an irregular row running north-south, while the Chitragupta, Jagadambi and the Kandariya Mahadeva temples form a more regular, parallel row, about a furlong to their west.
The western group of monuments is best maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India amidst a setting of green lawns, colourful shrubs and flowerbeds. Admission to its enclosure is regulated by a ticket of small denomination, valid from sunrise to sunset. The monuments of the group face east and are arranged in two rough alignments, running north south.
The Eastern Group of Temples
The eastern group of monuments, situated in close proximity to the Khajuraho village, includes three Brahmanical temples known as Brahma, Vamana and Javari and three Jain temples, the Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath. The Brahmanical temples are located along or near the Khajuraho-Sagar, while the Jain temples are situated farther south and are conveniently approached by a metalled road.
The Southern Group of Temples
The southern group of monuments comprises the Duladeo and the Chaturbhuja temples. The Duladeo is about a kilometre south of the Khajuraho village and half a mile southwest of the Jain group of temples. The Chaturbhuja Temple is a mile further south and is close to the Khajuraho airport.
PRIME TEMPLES AT KHAJURAO
(Built in circa AD 900-925, during the reign of Harshadeva) This small rectangular temple, built on a rock foundation, faces the southeastern portion of the Lakshmana Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple has a ‘phamsana’ (pyramidal) roof of receding tiers, supported on twelve pillars, there being a short frontal projection, supported on two other pillars, which serves as the entrance.
The shrine is devoid of ‘jagati’ (platform) and stands on a 10 feet high plain plinth of which the lower half is made of granite ashlars and the upper half of sandstone. It is approached by a flight of steps of which the three upper courses are of sandstone, and the remaining of granite. It is a simple rectangular pavilion with a projection in the west; the whole enclosed by a plain parapet originally mounted by an ornate balustrade. The ‘asanapatta’ (seat-slab) of the parapet supports the fourteen pillars. The shafts of the pillars are octagonal below, sixteen-sided in the middle and circular above, carrying a plain circular capital, surmounted by plain brackets of the curved profile with a vaulted top of the type found in the subsidiary shrines of the Lakshmana Temple.
The Colossal Image of The ‘Boar Incarnation’
The image together with its pedestal is carved out of one piece of yellow sandstone and is exquisitely finished to a glossy lustre. The colossal Varaha is s powerfully modelled sculpture of a boar decorated all over with neat rows of figures of gods and goddesses totalling 674 executed in relief. On the front of the muzzle between the two nostrils is depicted four-armed Saraswati seated in ‘lalitasana’ holding ‘veena’ in one pair of hands and lotus and book in the other. The nine planets divided into groups of four and five are carved respectively on the right and left sides of the muzzle below the ears.
Water-divinities riding on ‘makaras’ and carrying water jars are carved on the hoofs to represent the rise of the boar from the waters and the ‘Dikpalas’ are figures on the legs to suggest the cosmic character of the deity. The tail end of the serpent, which was described by Cunningham as supporting the Boar’s tail, is now mutilated. To the mouth end of the serpent is attached a mutilated dwarf figure with a peculiar head which may represent Garuda.
On the proper left of this dwarf figure occurs two ornamented female feet of probably Bhudevi (the earthy-goddess). The left tusk of the Boar is chipped off together with the main figure of Bhudevi, which it should have supported. One of Bhudevi’s arms was also intact, resting against the Boar’s neck till 1838, but only slight traces of it have now survived.
Externally the pillar brackets support a ribbed awning, which is surmounted by a few simple mouldings. The pyramidal roof comprises nine stepped ‘kapota’-shaped tiers separated by plain recessed courses. The neck is surmounted by crowning members comprising a pair of ‘chandrikas’ (capstones) a plain ‘amalaka’ (cogged wheel), a capstone and a ‘kalasa’ (pitcher).
The Best Preserved Structure
(Built in circa AD 930-950, during the reign of Yasovarman). This temple dedicated to the Vaikuntha form of Vishnu, stands in the heart of a large cluster of ancient temples, situated to the west of the present village of Khajuraho. It adjoins the temples Matangesvara and Varaha, which are respectively to its southeast, and is not far from an old tank called Shivasagar. The deity of the temple is variously known as Lakshmana, Ramachandra or Chaturbhuja attesting its Vaishnava dedication.
Lakshmana Temple is the earliest, best preserved and most typical of the evolved variety of Khajuraho temples. This is the only temple, which preserved the subsidiary shrines and the platform terrace (jagati) with their essential features and decorations intact. No other temple has retained the powerful processional frieze on the platform façade, consisting of a moving pageant of hunting and battle scenes, processions of horses, elephants and soldiers and other miscellaneous representations including domestic and erotic scenes.
This is the only temple, which has conserved bits of the parapet wall of the platform, representing ornate balustrade and linking all the subsidiary shrines in a common enclosure, with a conspicuous projection in front. This temple is a ‘panchayatana’ i.e. a complex of five shrines. The principal elements of the evolved temple type, viz. entrance porch, ‘mandapa’ (hall), ‘maha-mandapa’ (hall with transepts), vestibule and sanctum with an ambulatory and transepts on the sides and in the rear, are all present here in an excellent state of preservation.
Even with regard to internal decoration, this temple is the best preserved and provides the finest specimens of female brackets, which constitute one of the distinguishing traits of the Khajuraho temples.
Uniqueness Lies Underneath
Architecturally, this temple has some remarkable features. Firstly, the roofs of its ‘maha-mandapa’, ‘mandapa’ and the entrance porch are of the ‘phamsana’ type and show a pyramidal superstructure of a straight contour, which is crowned by a prominent chime.
The representation of Dikpala figures with two arms and the decorations on the outer band of the doorway with an elaborate pattern of lotus leaves in relief, which are features of early medieval temples are noteworthy features of Khajuraho temples. Only two temples at Khajuraho, namely the Lakshmana and the Parsvanath, display on the door-lintel two bold sculptured friezes, of which one represents the Nine Planets with a large figure of Rahu.
The Lakshmana Temple, which should have taken about two decades to build must have been constructed between circa 930 and 950 and dedicated for worship in circa 953-54. It is noteworthy that the inscription refers to the dedication of the temple to the Vaikuntha form of Vishnu, distinguished by three heads respectively of lion, man and boar, which corresponds with the image now enshrined in the sanctum.
The Prime Shaiva Temple
(Built in circa AD 1025-50, during the reigns of Vidyadhara and Vijaipal). Situated about a furlong to the west of the Vishvanatha Temple, this Saiva Temple enshrining a marble Shiva-linga is the largest and the loftiest monument of Khajuraho. It measures about 100 feet each in length and height and 66 feet in width, excluding the platform.
This magnificent temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is marked by its mature plan, design, grand dimensions, symmetrical proportions, superb sculptural embellishment and architectural elaborations. It is one most evolved and finished achievement of the central Indian building-style and one of the most sublime creations of Indian architecture.
Decorated with graded and ascending series of smaller replicas of itself, totalling eighty four, the grand ‘sikhara’ of the Kandariya is a lofty and intricately-ornamented pile, some what restless in movement but unified in theme and design.
Images In Stone
The Kandariya Mahadeva is the only temple of Khajuraho where the platform shows projections on the lateral sides and the rear, corresponding to the projections of the transepts. Again, of all ornamented mouldings, which include two rows of processional friezes teeming with elephants and horses, warriors and hunters, acrobats and musicians, dancers and devotees, and miscellaneous scenes including erotic couples.
The largest number of sculptures of alluring beauty appear on the three bands of its wall and represent an animated array of gods and goddesses, ‘mithunas’ (couples) and ‘sura-sundaris’ (nymphs) on projections and mythical lions in recesses. The interior of the Kandariya Temple is largely similar in design to that of the developed local temples, but is more spacious and gorgeous and is replete with a lavish wealth of carvings and sculptures. It is the only local temple, which has preserved two exquisitely designed ‘toranas’ (festooned arches) both of exquisite design, in the interior.
The sculptures on this temple are conspicuously slender and taller and show the richest variety of the nymphs in lively and often violently agitated postures. Exhibiting mastery in the rendering of female contours and revealing a peak of conscious sophistication and exuberant grace, these sculptures represent the highest watermark of the characteristic art diction of Khajuraho.
VAMANA TEMPLE IN KHAJURAO
An Ode To The ‘Dwarf Incarnation
(Built in This temple belongs to the eastern group of temples and is situated north of the Khajuraho village, about a furlong east of the Ninora Tal and almost the same distance north of the Javari Temple.
Dedicated to the ‘Vamana’ (dwarf) incarnation of Vishnu, this temple consists on plan of a sanctum without ambulatory having a mono-spired ‘sikhara’, a vestibule, a ‘maha-mandapa’ with lateral transepts and a porch, of which only the plinth has survived. Of all the temples at Khajuraho it bears the close resemblance to the Adinatha Temple, which likewise has no ambulatory and has a ‘sapta-ratha’ sanctum with a mono-spired ‘sikhara’.
Another noteworthy feature of this temple is that the top or third row of the ‘jangha’ (wall) shows framed niches containing diamonds in the place of sculptures, an early feature shared by the subsidiary shrines of the Lakshmana Temple. It is one of the very few local temples, which have a cognizable ‘samvarna’ roof over the ‘mahamandapa’ and exhibit female struts on the ceilings of the balconied windows. In all other respects, this temple is broadly akin to the other developed temples of Khajuraho. On the evidence of sculptural and architectural style this temple is assignable to 1050 to 1075 AD.
DULADEO TEMPLE AT KHAJURAHO
The Kunwar Math
(Built in circa AD 1100-1150) This Shaiva Temple, traditionally known as the temple of Duladeo or ‘Kunwar Math’, stands on the left or north bank of the Khurau Nala, about a kilometre south of the Khajuraho village. It is situated about half a mile south of the Ghantai Temple and the same distance southwest of the Jain group of temples including the Parsvanath temple.
The temple faces east and consists on plan of a sanctum without ambulatory, vestibule, ‘maha-mandapa’ and entrance porch. The sanctum is ‘sapta-ratha’ on plan as well as in elevation. While its ‘sikhara’ is of the usual developed form, clustered around by three rows of leaning half-spirelets, its ‘maha-mandapa’ shows some peculiarities of design and decoration.
While some figures are of exceptional artistic merit on this temple, the plastic treatment has on the whole become stiff and in many cases lacks depth of relief, which is evident on a majority of the figures of nymphs of the exterior. The iconography of this temple also shows some distinctive traits. The Ashtavasu figures are invariably depicted here with a crocodile mount in place of the usual bull, while the ‘dikpalas’, ‘yama’ and ‘Nirriti’ wear their raised curls in a stylised fan shape. The facades of this temple carry tedious repetitions of the images of standing Shiva and Shiva-Parvati.
The temple is incompletely preserved and has been extensively repaired and restored.
CHAUSATH YOGINI TEMPLE : The Oldest Temple At Khajuraho
(Built in late 9th century). Situated about three furlongs south of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple and about two furlongs west-south-west of the Shivasagar Tank, this monument belongs to a very rare class of temples, dedicated to the sixty-four Yoginis, which represented innumerable aspects or manifestations of ‘Shakti’.
The temple is built on a low rocky ridge and stands on a Cyclopean ‘jagati’ (platform), from 14 to 18 feet high, made of rough dressed boulders of coarse local granite. The entire superstructure reared on the platform terrace is made of granite ashlars.
This is the only temple at Khajuraho, which is not oriented due north south but is oriented northeast to southwest. This temple has many notable features. While most of the Khajuraho temples are made of a fine variety of buff or pink sandstone, this is the only temple at the site, which is made entirely of granite. Further, this structure is extremely simple in plan and design, with hardly any carvings or ornaments and has no pretensions for architectural elegance.
LALGUAN MAHADEVA TEMPLE
(Built in circa AD 900). This temple situated half a mile west of the Chausath Yogini Temple was constructed on the eastern bank of the Lalguan Sagar, which formed the western limit of the old town. Built on an outcrop of granite, the temple faces west and stands on an eight feet high platform made of granite courses.
This shrine shows a simple plan and design with a few ornaments and belongs to the transitional phase when structures were made partly of granite and partly of sandstone. The body of this shrine is made largely of granite and sandstone is introduced for the veneer of the pyramidal roof and for those architectural members like pilasters and ceiling, which were required to be either carved or finely finished.
The sanctum rests on six pilasters, of which the two outer ones are plain and square, while the four inner ones are similar in design to the pilasters of the porch. The surmounting ceiling consists of two plain intersecting squares capped by a course, which is decorated with a lotus flower in relief. The interior of the sanctum is quite plain and shows no image whatsoever, though the presence of Nandi figure facing the shrine indicates that the deity enshrined in the sanctum was probably a Shiva-linga.
GHANTAI TEMPLE AT KHAJURAHO
(Built in late 10th century). To the south east of the Khajuraho village is situated the fragmentary shell of a Jain temple known as the Ghantai and a little farther away is a group of Jain temples enclosed with in a modern compound-wall. The group comprises the Parsvanath, Adinatha and Santinatha temples, besides numerous modern shrines. Some of the latter stand on the ruins of older ones, while most of them are lately built of old material and display old images.
The Ghantai temple is locally so called on account of the chain-and-bell (ghanta) motifs, prominently carved on its tall conspicuous pillars, which are among the finest ones of medieval India, remarkable for their stately form, bold ornamentation and classical dignity. Facing east, the extant shell shows that the temple was essentially of the same design as the Parsvanath temple, but grander in conception and nearly twice as large in dimensions.
MATANGESVARA TEMPLE AT KHAJURAHO
The Temple Still In Worship
(Built in circa AD 900-925, during the reign of Harshadeva). This ancient Shiva Temple, now known as temple of Matangesvara, enshrines one of the largest Shiva-lingas of North India. It is situated on the north bank of the Shivasagar Tank immediately to the south of the Lakshmana Temple. The temple has prominent cardinal projections on the three sides. It is square internally and cruciform externally and has a grand stepped pyramidal roof of receding tiers.
Legend: An offering To King Dhanga
The grand dimensions of the structure together with its close proximity to the royally founded Lakshmana and Visvanatha temples may show that the funerary monument was erected in honour of one of the Chandela kings. It is believed that the monument may have been built to commemorate King Dhanga who after having lived for more than a hundred years is recorded to have cast off his mortal coil at the sacred confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna in Prayag, while meditating on Lord Shiva.
The temple is in worship and since it suffered much damage in the past, it is encumbered with modern additions and accretions in the interior as well as on the exterior for lending support and stability.
The pillars of this temple are stumpy and austere. They carry plain capitals and brackets. Neither brackets nor any sculptures or carvings adorn these pillars. The ceiling also shows elementary ornaments of cusps and floral cusps without any attempt at elegance or elaboration.
Standing on a lofty platform terrace and a tall basement approached by an imposing flight of steps, the temple is notably distinguished by the balconied windows in the cardinal projections on the three sides, while the frontal projection consists of an entrance porch.
The lack of ornament and carving on this temple together with the stupendous size of the Shiva-linga, which, with its enormous pedestal occupies nearly the entire span of the interior, combined with its pyramidal roof indicates that the structure probably was a funerary monument.
DEVI JAGADAMBI TEMPLE
(Built in early 11th century during the latter part of Dhangadeva’s reign). This temple, dedicated to Goddess Parvati, is situated north of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, with the ruined little shrine, now known as the Mahadeva shrine intervening between them, and about 75 yards south of the Chitragupta temple. The temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
This temple essentially resembles the Chitragupta Temple in respect of design, dimensions and decorative scheme and the two temples, therefore, are quite close to each other in time as they are in space. It consists of a sanctum without ambulatory, a vestibule, a ‘maha-mandapa’ with lateral transepts and an entrance porch.
(Built in circa AD 900). Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple stands on an 11 feet high ‘jagati’ (platform) on the east bank of the Ninora Tal, which is the largest tank in Khajuraho. The ‘jagati’ is plain with 12 prominent offsets and its lower courses remain submerged in the water of the tank for some months of the year.
The temple is actually a small square shrine resting on twelve pilasters of granite. Externally, the shrine is cruciform with a cardinal projection on each side. The more prominent projection of the vestibule on the east shows a doorway forming the entrance, that on the west is pierced with a small sham doorway, while the lateral projections on the north and south contain latticed windows. The roof is made of sandstone, while the structure below the roof is made of granite, almost in entirety.
(Built in circa AD 1100) This temple, situated about two miles to the south of the Khajuraho village and three furlongs to the south-west of the Jatkari village is farthest from the main groups of Khajuraho temples and marks the southern extremity of the ancient town. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, stands on an undulating highland to the south of the Khurar Nala near a dried up old tank and is not far from the foot of the low green hill, locally known as Lavania.
The Main Features
This temple shows some notable features. This is the only temple at Khajuraho where erotic sculptures are conspicuous by absence. In general, the sculptural art here shows a decline. The ornaments are sketchily represented and the details are left unfinished. The representations of animal mounts, such as the horses of the ‘Surya’ figure on the eastern niche are crude and insipid. The sculptures including those of the nymphs are stereotyped and lack verve and vitality. The exceptions are the figures of angels, which are represented, in lively poses.
The Exquisite Temple
(Built in circa AD 954, during the early part of Dhangadeva’s reign) Of all the local Jain temples, the Parsvanath is the best preserved and indeed one of the finest temples of Khajuraho. On the basis of sculptural, architectural and inscriptional evidence, the Parsvanath Temple, dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar, appears to have been a close successor of the Lakshmana. While the Lakshmana was built by King Yasovarman, the Parsvanath was constructed by Pahila who was honoured by King Dhanga, the son and successor of Yasovarman.
ADINATHA TEMPLE AT KHAJURAHO
(Built in late 11th century, during the reign of Kirtivarman) The Adinatha Temple, standing immediately to the north of the Parsvanath, is an important constituent of the Jain group of Khajuraho temples. It is a temple without ambulatory, of which only the sanctum and vestibule have survived with their roofs. Its ‘mandapa’ and entrance porch are lost and replaced by a modern entrance chamber, made of lime-plastered masonry, showing arched doorways, which is quite incongruous with the original structure.
The temple is ‘sapta-ratha’ on plan as well as in elevation with mono-spired ‘sikhara’ of graceful outline. In the elegance of sculptural style as well as in general plan and design, this temple , dedicated to first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath, bears the closest kinship to the Vamana Temple.
CHITRAGUPTA TEMPLE AT KHAJURAHO
( Built in early 11th century) The Chitragapta Temple is situated at the extreme northern end of a row of four temples, extending from south to north. It is the only Khajuraho temple dedicated to Surya, the Sun God and demonstrates an evolution when compared with the Lakshmana and Vishvanatha monuments. The Kandariya Mahadeva stands at the southern extremity of the row, while the ruined Mahadeva shrine and the Jagadambi temple come in between.
It is located about 75 yards north of the Jagadambi Temple and about 100 yards south-east of the Chopra Tank, which is a deep three-storeyed stepped well built by the Chandelas. It is significant that this temple, which is the only sun temple at Khajuraho, was constructed in close proximity to the tank.
This temple also introduces a processional frieze representing a party of stone-carriers, hunting scenes and elephant-fights, besides other scenes. The octagonal ceiling of its ‘maha-mandapa’ hall is one of the best at Khajuraho marking an elaboration over the square ceiling of the Jagadambi Temple.
KHAJURAHO DANCE FESTIVAL
When The Stones Come To Life
Every spring the stones of Khajuraho come to life during the prestigious 7-day Khajuraho Dance Festival when the glory of the temples is celebrated with true fervour and joy. It is a cultural festival for the celebration of the Indian classical dance and music, believed to have basically originated in the Hindu temples. The festival is typical of a new breed of event, sited at ornate ancient temples to attract visitors by combining tourism with culture.
Khajuraho Festival of Dances, organised by Eicher and Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad, draws the best classical dancers in the country every year, who perform against the spectacular backdrop of the floodlit temples. In a setting where the earthly and the divine create perfect harmony, it is a spectacular event that celebrates the pure magic of the rich classical dance traditions of India.
Time for Eclectic Performances
The sleepy town of Khajuraho is transformed during the pleasant Hindu spring month of Phalguna, corresponding with the months of February/March, when the festival of Maha Shivratri draws pilgrims from all over the region to commemorate the marriage of Shiva. The festival also sees one of India’s premier dance events – the Khajuraho Festival of Dance, a showcase for all forms of classical dance. With the international status under the Government of India Programme categories, this seven-day extravaganza is a unique treat for connoisseurs from all over the world.
An Array Of Divine Arts at Khajuraho
The Festival showcases various classical styles of Indian dance such as Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali. Modern Indian dance is a recent addition. Every evening, two accomplished artists from different genres perform in the open-air auditorium.
The Resplendent Backdrop At Dusk
The best classical dancers in the country perform in an open-air auditorium, with the western group of Temples as an inspiring and awesome backdrop. The Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the sun god) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, form the venue for this cultural rendezvous. The past and the present silhouetted against the glow of a setting sun, becomes an exquisite backdrop for the performers. As dusk falls, the temples are lit up in a soft, dream-like ethereal stage.
As dusk descends, these temples are illuminated with shimmering fairy lights and form dramatic silhouettes against the dark, star-dotted sky. And it is against this backdrop that the past and present come together and celebrate the rich tradition of Indian art.
KHAJURAHO – EXCURSIONS
Khajurao, an ornate and eloquent poetry in stone, reflecting the eternal philosophy relevant to all mankind. Exquisitly carved stone temples are not the only attractions around the Khajuraho city. The list of nearby travel attractions includes – Panna National Park, 40 km from Khajurao, is home to a variety of wildlife. The Dhubela Museum, on the Jhansi-Khajurao road, houses the weapons, paintings, and sculptures of the Bundela kings as well as a wide variety of sculptures of the Shakti cult. Located on the Ken River, the Pandav Falls is a major attraction in the vicinity of Kajurao. The Raigarh Palace situated at the foot of Maniyagarh hills has now been converted into a heritage hotel. Don’t forget to visit Bandhavgarh National Park, situated in the heart of the Vindhya Mountain range.
Panna National Park
Panna National Park, a mere 30-minute drive away from Khajuraho is a magnificent one. Deep gorges, tranquil valley and dense teak forests combined with the rich flora and fauna make a visit to the Park a memorable one. The jungle today is a home to the variety of species of wildlife such as the Leopard, Wolf and Gharial. The Wild Boar, the Sloth Bear, the Cheetal, the Chowsingha, the Indian Fox, the Porcupine, and a host of lesser fauna are also seen. The park is closed from June to October because of the hot summers. .
20 kms. from Khajurao, on the Ken river are the famous rock formations. The main attraction is the 5 kms. long, 100 feet deep canyon made of pure crystalline granite in varying shades of colour ranging from pink and red to grey. A series of seasonal waterfalls surrounded by jungle makes it an ideal picnic spot.
Ken Gharial Sanctuary
This is a natural home of the long-snouted variety of crocodiles, 24 kms. from the temples.
Benisagar and Ranguan Lake
Both are ideal picnic spots suitable for boating. They are 11 kms. and 25 kms. from Khajuraho respectively.
A picturesque waterfall in a bowl-shaped valley on the Ken river, 34 kms. from Khajurao.
100 kms. from Khajurao is the fort which stands on an isolated hill of the Vindhya range 38 kms. away from Attara railway station. It is said that the fort was built during the period of the Guptas. Later it was captured by the Chandela ruler Yasovarman, in the middle of the 10th century.
57 kms. on the Jhansi-Kajuhrao road is located an old fort which houses a rare collection of artifacts depicting the heritage of Bundelkhand. This museum houses a wide variety of Shakti Cult sculptures and other sections on garments, weapons and paintings.
8 kms. off the Khajurao- Jhansi highway, this is a medieval city flanked by the Betwa river. Here the 16th and 17th century palaces and temples have withstood the ravages of time. Paintings and mirrorwork, intricate stairways and delicate trellis work in Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal and Rai Praveen Mahal are enchanting. In the fort complex, MP Tourism has converted Sheesh Mahal into a heritage hotel. MP Tourism conducts an excellent personal headset tour with English narration, sound effects and backing music which brings back the aura of the yesteryears.
HOW TO REACH KHAJURAHO
The access to Khajuraho is by air, rail and road. Khajuraho has a well-developed infrastructure in place. The Madhya Pradesh Information Centre gives prompt assistance to all queries. It also offers economical packages for tourists.
Khajuraho By Air: Regular Alliance Air (a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian Airlines) flights link Khajuraho with Delhi, Agra and Varanasi. Flying from Delhi to Agra takes 35 minutes and from Agra to Khajuraho, it takes 40 minutes. From Varanasi to Khajuraho, it’s a 45 minutes flight. Indian Airlines Office is at Hotel Clarks Bundela, Khajuraho.
Khajuraho By Rail: There is no direct train to Khajuraho. The most convenient station is Jhansi, which is linked to Delhi and other major northern cities. Satna is another convenient railway head.
The nearest railheads are Harpalpur (94 km) and Mahoba (61 km). Jhansi is a convenient railhead for those travelling from Delhi and Chennai, Satna, on the Mumbai-Allahabad line of Central Railway for those coming from Mumbai, Calcutta and Varanasi.
The Superfast Shatabdi Express train from Delhi to Jhansi takes four hours approximately. From Jhansi Railway station, a number of buses and taxis ply to Khajuraho. The journey of 175 kilometres takes approximately four hours. Satna is on the Bombay to Allahabad line of the Central Railways and is a convenient railhead from Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Varanasi. From Satna station taxis ply to Khajuraho, 117 kilometres away.
Khajuraho By Road: Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba. Khajuraho is 391 km from Agra, 117 km from Satna, 176 km from Jhansi, 350 km from Bhopal, 280 km from Gwalior, 480 km from Indore, 210 km from Jabalpur.
¤ Agra (391 km)
¤ Varanasi (399 km)
¤ Gwalior (280 km)