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Old 5th January 2012, 13:02   #1
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Default Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Hunted quite a lot for some current threads on route options and got some information that was a bit old. Mods do merge this in case there is a similar thread like this.

My requirement: Trip to Bandhavgarh & Khajuraho with a day outing to Bedhaghat thrown in if possible.

Starting Location: Kolkata
Tentative Route & Itinerary : Kolkata->Varanasi (overnight stay @ Varanasi), Varanasi->Bandhavgarh (next day), 3 nights at Bandhavgarh (first two days has 4 safaris already booked through Tala and Magdhi), 3rd day is free and tentative trip planned to Bedhaghat, Bandhavgarh->Khajuraho (next day), 2 nights at Khajuraho, Khajuraho->Varanasi (overnight stay @ Varanasi), Varanasi->Kolkata (next day)

Stay Details:-
Varanasi overnight stays @ Rahi Tourist Bungalow by UPSTDC
Bandhavgarh stay booked @ Wild Haven Resorts with the gate bookings for Tala and Magdhi already completed online
Khajuraho stay booked @ Hotel Jhankar by MPSTDC

I was not looking for fancy or expensive options and these have been selected after going through some reviews on TripAdvisor. Since the bookings have been made I hope they would be nice and am not thinking about changing them unless its an emergency

Duration: 9 days including drive from Kolkata to Varanasi and back, basically taking a week off and clubbing two weekends

Driving style: Calculations have been made assuming mostly sedate speeds though empty stretches of the highways will be used to gain time and also to avoid night-time driving. All timings are tentative with the constraint that I cannot afford too early a start and distances approximate based on Google Maps

Thanks to Mr. HVKumar, Mr. Sutripta, Mr. SSTraveller, Mr. SudiptoSTeam, Mr. Rahul, Mr. BlackPearl for their detailed inputs and I have kind of detailed out the Kolkata->Varanasi->Kolkata leg. I need the following suggestions specially for reaching Bandhavgarh from Varanasi, going to Bedhaghat from Bandhavgarh, reaching Khajuraho from Bandhavgarh and then reaching Varanasi from Khajuraho.

1. Options for the correct highways/alternate routes to take for the different legs

2. Parts of highway one should be careful and watch out for

3. Options for taking breaks for breakfast, lunch, bio-breaks, etc.

4. Anything significant about the trips/legs/routes/destinations to be covered

Thanks upfront for all your input and really appreciate to all of you who have posted such detailed travelogues. So here goes.

The Kolkata->Varanasi leg. This is for reference though suggestions are most welcome.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-kolvaranasirt.jpg

Now from Varanasi to Bandhavgarh Mr. HVKumar suggested using NH2 and then NH27 instead of going NH7. Here is the proposed route

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-varanasibndvgarhrt.jpg

With the relevant map

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-varanasibndvgarhrtmap.jpg

Here is the map for the alternate NH7 route.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-varanasibndvgarhaltrtmap.jpg

On the last day in Bandhavgarh, I was hoping if I could make it to Bedhaghat with an early morning start. Here is what I got from Google Maps and also mentioned by another traveler who came in from Nagpur I think (sorry cannot recall the name). Please suggest if there is anything wrong, alternate routes, etc.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bdnvgrhjblpurbndvgrhrt.jpg

And the associated map

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bdnvgrhjblpurbndvgrhrtmap.jpg

The next day the plan is to proceed to Khajuraho and stay there for a couple of days. I think I read some travelogues which are dated as of now about this route, but Google Maps and MMI came up with different routes. MMI suggests a route going through the heart of Panna National Park. So suggestion on both routes will be highly appreciated. The route as of now is assuming the Google Map suggestion.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bndvgrhkjrhrt.jpg

The associated Google Map route

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bndvgrhkjrhrtmap.jpg

The alternate route proposed by MMI through Panna. Please comment.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bndvgrhkjrhaltrtmap.jpg

After spending 2 days in Khajuraho which I think should be enough, I proceed on the return leg. That is, first I want to reach Varanasi (possibly early enough to check out the arati on the ghats). The Khajuraho to Varanasi also has two options. I thought maybe the NH75 and NH27 through Rewa could be a better route. Appreciate your suggestions on this.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-kjrhvaranasirt.jpg

And the associated Google Map route

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-kjrhvaranasialtrtmap.jpg

The alternate Google Map route uses NH76 but was not feeling confident. Again appreciate your feedback on this.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-kjrhvaranasirtmap.jpg

And finally again for reference the return leg from Varanasi to Kolkata on the next day.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-varanasikolrt.jpg

Whew that was a lot . Compiled this over the last few weeks thanks to all you road warriors and veterans. Appreciate all the feedback you could provide.

EDIT: Apologies for the poor map qualities. Tried my level best to get some sort of export for every leg from Google Map but this is the best I could do. MMI online doesnt give a nice way of capturing the images.

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 5th January 2012 at 13:08. Reason: added message
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Old 5th January 2012, 14:55   #2
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Hunted quite a lot for some current threads on route options and got some information that was a bit old. Mods do merge this in case there is a similar thread like this.
Some suggestions as we had done these stretches recently

a) The best route from Khajuraho to Varanasi is via Rewa - Allahabad. We did this. You can take a look at my TL.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...r-pradesh.html (Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh)

b) Bandhavgarh - Bedaghat - Go Via SH 22 i.e., via Kundam. Roads are good. Dont even look at NH 7. It is misery.

Bandhavgarh National Park to BhedaGhat, Bheda Ghat, Madhya Pradesh - Google Maps

c) Use one day for seeing temples in Khajuraho - western before lunch and eastern after lunch - and use other day for a possible safari in Panna. The forest is beautiful. You may be lucky to spot tigres too. Check for safari bookings with your hotel.

d) Make sure your resort has all permits for Bandhavgarh. Carry ID - Pan car/DL etc. These guys are very strict. Be the first in the queue. It will be very cold in the morning safari. Make sure you have warm clothes. There is a possibility of visiting the ruined fort inside park for which you need to book in advance as only two jeeps are allowed in a day. Check with your resort and book it.

e) Try and visit Khajuraho temples in the early morning at sunrise. There will not be crowd and as these temples east, you will get good pictures.

f) If you want to make it to aarthi time in varanasi, you need to leave early.
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Old 5th January 2012, 15:00   #3
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

That is quite detailed planning!

I would suggest you stick to the Maihar-Panna route to go to Khajuraho instead of going on NH7 via Katni and then Amanganj.

The problem is only which is the best route from Khajuraho to Varanasi. I would suggest you stick to the Panna-Satna-Rewa route, since any other route could be on some bad to very bad roads.
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Old 5th January 2012, 17:43   #4
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Yeaa The experts step in with help. Thanks so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
Some suggestions as we had done these stretches recently

a) The best route from Khajuraho to Varanasi is via Rewa - Allahabad. We did this. You can take a look at my TL.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...r-pradesh.html (Fauji's Drivologues - Fascinating Fortnight in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh)
Sir ji, I have loved this one though somehow I missed the Khajuraho-Varanasi part. Mind blowing pictures from Varanasi. Will stick to your route. Added Kadambari Resorts to my rest stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
b) Bandhavgarh - Bedaghat - Go Via SH 22 i.e., via Kundam. Roads are good. Dont even look at NH 7. It is misery.
Okay will avoid NH7 as much as possible. One question though. While coming from Varanasi going to Bandhavgarh, I have to hit NH7 before Rewa till Maihar. How bad or good is it? Also how much time does it take to reach Bandhavgarh realistically once you hit NH7? Would you have any idea on this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
c) Use one day for seeing temples in Khajuraho - western before lunch and eastern after lunch - and use other day for a possible safari in Panna. The forest is beautiful. You may be lucky to spot tigres too. Check for safari bookings with your hotel.
I actually have booked two nights. I think the day I reach Khajuraho from Bandhavgarh it will be already afternoon. The next day will be used up to see the temples. The day after I start for Varanasi back again for my return trip. However if time permits I will see if I can check out a trip to Panna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
d) Make sure your resort has all permits for Bandhavgarh. Carry ID - Pan car/DL etc. These guys are very strict. Be the first in the queue. It will be very cold in the morning safari. Make sure you have warm clothes. There is a possibility of visiting the ruined fort inside park for which you need to book in advance as only two jeeps are allowed in a day. Check with your resort and book it.
Yes, have done the validations and bookings. Will check on the ruined fort too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
f) If you want to make it to aarthi time in varanasi, you need to leave early.
And for this reason, I am planning an early start from Khajuraho on the return leg to reach Varanasi by afternoon, fingers crossed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
That is quite detailed planning!
Thank you sir ji. This is more of a guideline for myself as a generic schedule to adhere to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I would suggest you stick to the Maihar-Panna route to go to Khajuraho instead of going on NH7 via Katni and then Amanganj.
Yes, this one was a little bit confusing. I think I read one travelogue on TBHP which talked about a drive from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh which drove right through Panna but not sure which one. In my case, the Google Map shows Maihar route bypassing Panna and going through Nagod to get on NH75 but MMI shows the one you are talking about which actually gets on NH75 after Nagod. Just wanted to confirm you meant to use the Maihar-Panna one as suggested by MMI which goes through Panna and gets on NH75 bypassing Nagod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
The problem is only which is the best route from Khajuraho to Varanasi. I would suggest you stick to the Panna-Satna-Rewa route, since any other route could be on some bad to very bad roads.
Now that is confirmed by two experts in the house, this route is locked.

Thanks so much for all the valuable advice.
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Old 5th January 2012, 21:12   #5
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
That is quite detailed planning!

I would suggest you stick to the Maihar-Panna route to go to Khajuraho instead of going on NH7 via Katni and then Amanganj.

The problem is only which is the best route from Khajuraho to Varanasi. I would suggest you stick to the Panna-Satna-Rewa route, since any other route could be on some bad to very bad roads.
Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post

Okay will avoid NH7 as much as possible. One question though. While coming from Varanasi going to Bandhavgarh, I have to hit NH7 before Rewa till Maihar. How bad or good is it? Also how much time does it take to reach Bandhavgarh realistically once you hit NH7? Would you have any idea on this?

We drove on NH 7 from Khajuraho to Nagod - Rewa and beyond to Allahabad in Oct and it was in good condition. I am not sure of Nagod - Maihar - Bandhavgarh stretch though. We had misearble time on NH 7 between Jabalpur and Katni. My gut feel is Maihar - Katni on NH 7 may be as bad. HVK can confirm whether Khajuraho - Panna - Nagod - Maihar - Barhi - Katauli - Tala on SH 11 is a better bet. This way you will avoid Katni and NH 7 which is a big boon. This is also the road regularly used by tourists who come by train and get down at Satna. Thus it will be in good condition. HVK can confirm if this is a better option. Generally the state highways in MP is in fabulous condition and NH are in bad state.



I actually have booked two nights. I think the day I reach Khajuraho from Bandhavgarh it will be already afternoon. The next day will be used up to see the temples. The day after I start for Varanasi back again for my return trip. However if time permits I will see if I can check out a trip to Panna.


You can cover Western group on the day of your arraival. It will not take more than two hours to see all the temples. Sound and light show happens at 7.30 - check the latest timings from hotel - which you can attend later. Next day get up leisuerely, have BF and visit Eastern group. In the afternoon go for safari in Panna. That way you dont have to get up early and shiver in cold for morning safari

And for this reason, I am planning an early start from Khajuraho on the return leg to reach Varanasi by afternoon, fingers crossed.

No worries, you can comfortably reach Varanasi by afternoon if you don't spend time in seeing Sangam in Allahabad.

Thanks so much for all the valuable advice.

My answers are in bold above.
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Old 5th January 2012, 22:11   #6
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
We drove on NH 7 from Khajuraho to Nagod - Rewa and beyond to Allahabad in Oct and it was in good condition. I am not sure of Nagod - Maihar - Bandhavgarh stretch though. We had misearble time on NH 7 between Jabalpur and Katni. My gut feel is Maihar - Katni on NH 7 may be as bad. HVK can confirm whether Khajuraho - Panna - Nagod - Maihar - Barhi - Katauli - Tala on SH 11 is a better bet. This way you will avoid Katni and NH 7 which is a big boon. This is also the road regularly used by tourists who come by train and get down at Satna. Thus it will be in good condition. HVK can confirm if this is a better option. Generally the state highways in MP is in fabulous condition and NH are in bad state.
Will wait for HVK sir ji's input on this. Depending on the condition of NH7 between the point before Rewa till Maihar will time my driving and breaks such that I can make up for lost time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fauji View Post
You can cover Western group on the day of your arraival. It will not take more than two hours to see all the temples. Sound and light show happens at 7.30 - check the latest timings from hotel - which you can attend later. Next day get up leisuerely, have BF and visit Eastern group. In the afternoon go for safari in Panna. That way you dont have to get up early and shiver in cold for morning safari
Sounds good. Will check with the hotel if they can arrange a safari in Panna for that afternoon. My trip is actually planned for the last week of February so not scared so much about the cold
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Old 5th January 2012, 23:19   #7
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

Katni-Rewa is also bad, but not as bad as Jabalpur-Katni.
Last heard of, both Katni-Amanganj-Panna and Maihar-Panna were in decent condition.
Best way is to avoid NH7 as much as possible and stick to the excellent state highways and district roads.

However, please do check locally about current road conditions at time of travel, roads also get repaired! Taxi guys are good guys to check up with.
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Old 6th January 2012, 08:21   #8
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Katni-Rewa is also bad, but not as bad as Jabalpur-Katni.
Last heard of, both Katni-Amanganj-Panna and Maihar-Panna were in decent condition.
Best way is to avoid NH7 as much as possible and stick to the excellent state highways and district roads.

However, please do check locally about current road conditions at time of travel, roads also get repaired! Taxi guys are good guys to check up with.
Thanks sir ji. Looks like NH7 will be only on the Rewa-Maihar stretch on my way to Bandhavgarh from Varanasi. Other than that based on your feedback, NH7 will not be taken at all. Would it be also okay to drive to Khajuraho through Panna after Maihar instead of bypassing Panna going through Nagod? I don't want to miss a drive through Panna actually . Appreciate a lot your insight.
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Old 6th January 2012, 08:48   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samarjitdhar View Post
Thanks sir ji. Looks like NH7 will be only on the Rewa-Maihar stretch on my way to Bandhavgarh from Varanasi. Other than that based on your feedback, NH7 will not be taken at all. Would it be also okay to drive to Khajuraho through Panna after Maihar instead of bypassing Panna going through Nagod? I don't want to miss a drive through Panna actually . Appreciate a lot your insight.
The road to Panna from Maihar skirts the Panna WLS and goes through Nagod.
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Old 6th January 2012, 10:58   #10
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The road to Panna from Maihar skirts the Panna WLS and goes through Nagod.
Okay sounds good. I will stick to this road then.
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Old 9th January 2012, 13:31   #11
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The road to Panna from Maihar skirts the Panna WLS and goes through Nagod.
HVK sir. Made a slight change to the travel plan. Now instead of doing a day trip from Bandhavgarh to Bhedaghat and back, I have decided to spend the night in Bhedaghat instead and then proceed to Khajuraho the next day. Read some experiences about the moonlit ride on the Narmada through the floodlit marble rocks and couldn't just let go of the opportunity. Plus it would reduce the driving fatigue a whole lot by avoiding driving back to Bandhavgarh needlessly. So need some advice on the route from Bhedaghat to Khajuraho. Google maps gave three options.

1. This one suggests a route which uses 37 KM on NH7 which lies between Jabalpur and Katni which you said is in total shambles and then through the state highways including SH51 and then to MDR49. However does this route take you through the Panna buffer area on state highways eventually? Have heard great things about that drive.

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bhedaghatkjrhrtmap1.jpg

2. The next one takes a slightly different route which I am not too keen on

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bhedaghatkjrhrtmap2.jpg

3. The last one goes via NH12A and eventually merges on MDR49 like the first option. Does it also touch the Panna buffer zone?

Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around-bhedaghatkjrhrtmap3.jpg

Would appreciate a lot if you could share your thoughts and which one I should take.
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Old 10th January 2012, 08:10   #12
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Default Re: Reaching Bandhavgarh & Around

I would avoid NH7 to Katni and take the Jabalpur-Umariya-Maihar route to Panna
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Old 11th January 2012, 06:48   #13
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I would avoid NH7 to Katni and take the Jabalpur-Umariya-Maihar route to Panna
Thanks sir ji. Google Maps shows an additional 100 kms of drive when compared to the other routes. Would driving through NH12A and MDR 49 be so bad that I better tahke the Jabalpur-Umaria-Maihar route instead?
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Old 11th January 2012, 15:31   #14
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Have to say that this looks like a mouth watering drive / trip - wish you fun times . Don't forget the camera and please stress test the MMI - I need the feedback
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Old 11th January 2012, 21:46   #15
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Have to say that this looks like a mouth watering drive / trip - wish you fun times . Don't forget the camera and please stress test the MMI - I need the feedback
He he thanks . Want a Shere Khan sighting before Shere Khan or I die off. Hoping it pans out well. Still a month to go and counting down days. Will do some testing of the MMI in coming days with a trip to Deoghar next weekend and Jamshedpur the weekend after.
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