My actual plan was not to stay longer in Khajuraho. After having completed my 200 hour Hatha Yoga teacher training, I was looking for trains to Delhi. Unfortunately, booking a train in India is not as easy as I thought. Shoutout to all backpackers/ tourists out there who figured out how to do it. I didn’t, but I was lucky enough to find a couchsurfer host who helped me in the strange world of IRCTC.
Anyway, during these 4 days I was able to dive deeper into the beauty of Khajuraho. And there’s so much more to explore than only coming to see the “Kamasutra” Temples.
Funny story: when I landed in India in October, the Visa/ Immigration guy asked me where I am going to and what I am going to do in India, and all these typical questions that I was used to getting when traveling to the US. I replied: “I’m doing a yoga teacher training in Khajuraho”. He said: “You’re doing what? A teacher training? There’s no teacher training, there are temples.” I didn’t know what he meant, but apparently Khajuraho is mainly known for its “Sex temples”. Apparently, he was confused of what kind of teacher training I was planning to do…
Sad enough, as the “small” town with nearly 25,000 inhabitants has so much more to offer and I will show you 5 things to do:
1. Of course: The temple district (group of monuments)
- A group of Hindu and Jain temples in Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh
- One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
- Of the 85 temples originally built by the Chandela dynasty between 900 AD and 1130 AD, only 25 remain
- Famous for their erotic sculptures (in case you’re interested, more information about the possible backgrounds can be found here)
- Tourists pay 600 Rupees
By the way: we were here 22 years after these buildings became a UNESCO world heritage (19.11.1986) and we had free admission :-).
2. DATAL Mountains
Starting the hike/ climb/ trek (however you want to call it) early in the morning was the best idea. It’s not too hot & the views are breathtaking.
3. RANGAWAN DAM Lake & surrounding area
In case you want to escape the loud and crowded city and just enjoy the silence for a few hours, this place is perfect.
4. PANNA National Park
- National park located in Panna and Chatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh
- Area of 542.67 km2
- Was declared as one of the Tiger reserves of India in 1994/95 and placed under the protection of Project Tiger
- In June 2009, it was officially announced that the reserve, which used to have over 40 tigers six years earlier, had no tigers left. Only two tigresses, which were brought in a little earlier
- Today there are about 14 tigers and their progress is being regularly monitored by the Forest Department (no accurate information possible)
- We paid 1100 Rupees per person (6 people sharing a jeep + guide)
We saw a tiger mama with 2 babies from far and it was really great. I can highly recommend going there (try to find a group of 6 people so that the jeeps are filled and not too many have to drive through the jungle area). Its beautiful landscape and the untouched nature is great. Try to go early in the morning since the possibility of seeing tigers and/or leopards is a lot higher. However, the summer deers are also cute to look at :-).
In case you’re hungry afterwards, the Ken River Lodge (tree house) is a good place to have breakfast.
5. The Jain Temples
Maybe it was just an interesting place for me the days I visited the temples. Seeing the excitement of Indians about naked gurus/ monks is not something you get to experience everyday.
Side note: According to Jainism, a monk follows these qualities:
“An individual who is devoid of possessiveness, who is free from deluding attachment towards self, family and relatives, who braves external suffering caused by environment, who has control over passions such as anger, and who does not indulge in any undesirable activities including household chores, rightfully advances on the path to liberation.”
Khajuraho is generally always celebrating something. During the two weeks when the naked monks were in town, the streets were filled with Jains coming from all over the country.
Places to eat
Badri Seth restaurant
I hope this supports you on your decision about going to Khajuraho. It’s really a nice place to see and easy to reach by train.
However, it’s also a place where a lot of tourism scam CAN take place. So try to find a local who you can trust. Let me know if you have any questions :-).