North East India (
, Khajuraho, Varanasi)
||India||N E India||N W India||Bombay (Mumbai)||Calcutta (Kolkata)||Delhi||
|Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho is a now small village some 620 kilometres from Delhi. It is famous for its temples depicting all manner of sexual acts and erotic art. The temples were built from 950 to 1050AD when Khajuraho enjoyed the status as the capital city of the Chandela Rajputs. Originally there were said to be 80 of these Hindu temples of which 22 now remain.
The temples are set in three main groups. The main ones, located in the heart of the village are the Western group. These comprise of 9 temples set in a manicured park, which is carefully maintained and is probably the most pleasing group to the eye. Each temple is dedicated to a different deity, and some of the exterior sculptures are very graphic, so if you are easily offended, be prepared to close your eyes. Some of the scenes on the sculptures depict sex, oral sex, anal sex and even all three together. Other scenes depict bestiality, but all are wonderfully carved. Despite its reputation of being entirely erotic art, only some 10% of the carvings are erotic so there is plenty else to see and marvel at.
The idea behind the carvings is to narrate stories, presumably as not all of the population was able to read. Less erotic scenes, but equally graphic include stories of wars, as well as simply portraits of men and women going about their daily business.
Inside the temples there are no erotic scenes at all. Do not be put off, this is a must see part of India and even the more prudish will be enthralled by the craftsmanship of a millenium ago.
The Eastern group comprises 7 temples and is about 30 minutes walk away, and more spread out, so to enjoy this group a car is a good idea, and certainly the small group of Jain temples is worth a visit.
We did not make it to the Southern group, as both temple fatigue had set in and perhaps more importantly the battery on my camera had run out. Make an important note. Ensure you have spare batteries, a spare camera, plenty of charge in the camera, plenty of rolls of film or space on your memory card. You will need it. We ended up buying an A4 guide to Khajuraho, simply for the pictures we were unable to take
In the evening a sound & light show is carried out within the Western group grounds, giving the history of Khajuraho and the temples, and whilst good intentioned is best described as Disneyfied. Opposite the entrance are numerous stalls selling the usual bric-a-brac and cafes where you can sit and enjoy the views (at reasonable prices as well).
Getting to Khajuraho is relatively easy with daily flights from Delhi, via Varanasi
We stayed at Clarks hotel which was beatifully kept, in large grounds and seemed reasonably priced as well as being close to the village.
of our trips to India have been to our own itinerary. We book all
internal flights set the pace of the trip and arrange accommodation via
Indian Travel agents.
This was part of trip 2 to India.
Our full itinerary was
Day 1 afternoon - arrive at Delhi International, transfer by train to Amritsar, stay overnight
Day 2 Day tour of Amritsar including Golden Temple. Evening visit to Wagah border ceremony, then overnight train back to Delhi
Day 3 Transfer to Delhi airport for flight to Banares (Varanasi), the afternoon tour of the town, night trip to the ghats
Day 4 Morning tour of the ghats then flight to Khajuraho. Afternoon tour of the temples and evening Sound & Light show
Day 5 Drive to Bandhavgarh and afternoon safari
Day 6 Morning & afternoon safaris
Day 7 Morning safari at Bandhavgarh, drive to Kanha for afternoon safari
Day 8 Morning and afternoon safari at Kanha then overnight drive to Nagpur
Day 9 Flight from Nagpur to Goa via Bombay. arrive in Goa in afternoon
Day 10 to 19 in Goa (Beach, recovery & relaxation)
Day 20 Fly to Udaipur via Bombay
Day 21 Tour of Udaipur, evening flight to Bombay
Day 22 Tour of Bombay
Day 23 Flight from Bombay back to London
Not everyones cup of tea, but we loved it. Flat out for 9 days, 10 days relaxing then wending our way back home. Our main regret was that we probably should have missed out Varanasi and spent at least a full day here in Khajuraho.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Kanha Tiger Reserve
Sunderbans Tiger Reserve
Our trip to the Sunderbans was a complete disappointment and we certainly wouldn't go there again, but you might be lucky!