Khajuraho is a small town located in Madhya Pradesh with Vindhya range of mountains in the backdrop. Khajuraho has become very popular tourist destination in India. Tourism in Khajuraho has gained popularity due to presence of very unique tourist attraction - Temples of Love.
Khajuraho Temples or the Temples of Love were built during 950 to 1050 AD by the Chandelas who used to rule this area. Khajuraho temples are famous for their exotic sculpture. During the 13th century some of the temples were destroyed and remaining were hidden in the jungle for several hundred years before Englishman General Alexander Cunningham explored this site. Khajuraho Temples are UNESCO World Heritage Site and also made it to the list of 7 wonders of India.
Khajuraho temples were group of 80 Hindu and Jain temples out of which only 25 have survived today. The origin of these temples is highly disputed. These temples attract tourists from all parts of the world to travel Khajuraho. The temples are famous for exotic sculptures on the outer walls. However unlike the general perception, only 10 per cent of all sculptures are of sexual kind. Remaining 90 per cent statues gives the glimpse of average Indian life during that period.
The best time to travel Khajuraho is between September to March. Travel to Khajuraho during February/March for the Khajuraho Dance Festival and enjoy various classical dance performances.
Audio Guides - Archaeological Survey of India has introduced self guided audio tours for the tourists. These audio guides can be obtained from official audio guide booth near the ticket counters. The rate is Rs. 100 for English and other foreign language guide and Rs.60 for Hindi language guide. Alternatively you can also hire local guides who can explain you more about the monuments and answer any related questions.
Lakshmana Temple - Named after the ruler Yasovarman , the temple is oldest and perhaps one of the best preserved of all temples in Khajuraho. Lakshmana Temple is part of Western group of temples at Khajuraho. The temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu. The gate of the temple has a statue of Sun God. The main chamber inside the temple is decorated with several sculptures.
Kandariya Mahadeo Temple - Kandariya Mahadeo Temple is a fine stone temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is 102 feet high and famous among tourists for fine sculptures on the pillars and ceiling.
Devi Jagdamba Temple - Devi Jagdamba is much smaller comparing to other temples of the Western group. The temple is dedicated to Jagdambi, Devi of the Universe. The inside of the temple has huge image of Jagdambi while outside walls are famous for exotic sculptures.
Lakshmi and Varaha Temple - Perhaps the most beautiful of all temples in Khajuraho, Lakshmi and Varaha Temple is another temple of the western group dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple has fine 9 feet tall statue of third incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Varaha, the boar. This beautiful statue is made out of limestone.
Chausath Yogini Temple - Dedicated to 64 Yoginis is the Chausath Yogini Temple located on the large podium. The podium is a large courtyard with small group of temples dedicated to all 64 Yoginis. It is the only temple in Khajuraho to be made of granite.
Vishvanath and Nandi Temple - The design of Vishvanath and Nandi Temple is similar to the Kandariya Mahadeo temple possibly because it is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has large image of Nandi the bull, which is considered as vehicle of Lord Shiva. The temple is dominated by statues of lions and elephants. Outside walls of the temple have sculptures showing day-to-day activities of Indian woman including caring baby etc. There are several exotic sculptures features women as well.
The other two temples in the Western group are Chitragupta Temple - dedicated to Sun God and Matanageswara Temple famous for 8 feet tall Shiva Lingam.
Brahma and Hanuman Temple - The temple is among the oldest of all Khajuraho temples. Brahma and Hanuman Temple is very popular among tourists. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Brahma temple is among the few temples with image of Lord Brahma. Inside the temple is spectacular image of 4 faced Brahma. There's also an image of Lord Vishnu. While Hanuman temple has 8 feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman. This temple lies in the Eastern group of temples.
Parsvanath Temple - Largest among the Eastern group of temples, Parsvanath Temple is one of the few Jain temples in Khajuraho. The temple is dedicated to Adinath who was the first Tirthankara of the Jains. The outer walls have images of sea nymphs, lions and elephants. Despite being a Jain temple Parsvanath has several images of Hindu gods.
Eastern Group of Temples - Other temples in the Eastern group are Ghantai Temple which depicts the 16 dreams of Mahavira's mother. Vamana Temple dedicated to dwarf form of Lord Vishnu and the Javari Temple.
The Jatkari Temple - Also known as Chattarbhuj Temple is the only temple in Khajuraho without any exotic sculptures. The temple is part of Southern group of temples. Inside is a massive 9 feet high statue of Lord Vishnu with 4 arms.
Other two temples of the Southern group are Beejamandal Temple which has turned into ruins and Dulhadev Temple famous for Shivalingam and beautiful ornamented figures.
Panna National Park - The park is ideal for Day trip from Khajuraho. Panna National Park is located only 25km from the town. The park has several beautiful waterfalls and exotic wildlife to lure tourists. While traveling to Khajuraho, tourists should take out a day to visit Panna National Park.
Rane Falls - Rane Falls is located only 20 km from Khajuraho. It is formed when Ken River plunges down 30 meters deep canyon. The setting is perfect to have some peaceful time.
There are several good hotels in Khajuraho. Since the town has grown into a popular tourist attraction, several news hotels have been opened in the city. Some popular hotels include The Lalit Temple View, Chandela Hotel, Hotel Clarks Khajuraho, Radisson Jass Hotel, Usha Bundela Hotel and Ramada Hotel Khajuraho.
By Train - The best way to reach Khajuraho from train is via Khajuraho Nizamuddin Express (Train number 22447) from Delhi. This train is available 6 days a week excluding Wednesday. Alternatively you can take train to Jhansi from all major cities like Mumbai and Varanasi. From Jhansi you can take bus, train or taxi to Khajuraho.
To book train tickets from Khajuraho you will have to go BUS STATION instead of Railway Station. You can also book tickets through hotel but that will cost you more money.