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Old 18th April 2011, 18:05   #1
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Default Bhopal Khajuraho roadtrip

Getting there. With a lazy weekend around the corner and limited funds, after hours of research (courtesy, my wife Manasi), we decided to take a road trip to Khajuraho. We are located at Bhopal and the distance to Khajuraho is roughly 420kms. The route we chalked out was as follows:-
Bhopal----Raisen----Saugor----Shahgarh----Chattarpur----Khajuraho

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We started at 6.00am on a pleasant Saturday morning to avoid the traffic. The road from Bhopal to Saugor is in good condition (NH86A). One word of caution though, avoid using the Vidisha axis unless you want to cover Sanchi enroute, as the road is full of potholes. The woes start as we move ahead of Saugor. Majority of the road is good and you will be cruising at 80kmph unless you come across a pothole, wide enough to accommodate all four tyres of a stretch limo! The road is badly pitted intermittently and the average speed I was able to manage on the route was 70kmph. From Chattarpur onwards, we moved on NH75 which is a good road but has repair work going on at various places, which hampers the momentum.

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The final stretch to Khajuraho is a single lane road having traffic of heavy vehicles. The only saving grace is the entry road to Khajuraho, which is a beautiful four lane road.

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Khajuraho. We reached here about 1.00pm. We had not done prior booking (being offseason) & there was plenty of room available. MPTDC has excellent hotels ranging upto Rs. 1600/- per day for an AC double room. The local hotels are much cheaper ranging from Rs. 700/- upwards for an AC double room (Casa-di-William is a good option). We stayed at MPTDC ‘Tourist Village’ which gave us a beautiful AC cottage (can accommodate 02 adults only) for Rs. 1250/- inclusive of breakfast for two. The rooms are very clean & the service is good. The hotel is highly recommended for those on a moderate budget.
The temples are divided into Western, Eastern & Southern groups. The western group has the oldest & the grandest temples, so we devoted bulk of our time for these. We started the tour of the western temples at 5.00pm. These temples will appeal to people having a liking for archaeology and are really stupefying. The detail of carvings in the sculptures is amazing and is really beautiful. The temples have stood the test of time and they make you feel that.
Note- It is advisable to take a Govt guide (Rs. 750/-) as they are well trained and will explain the history in detail. The local guides are cheaper but ignorant. Either way, without a guide, it is difficult to comprehend the significance of the temples.

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We saw the ‘Sound & Light show’ (Rs. 120/- per head) in the evening but had a mixed view about it. (I enjoyed it whereas Manasi found it to be okay). I will recommend it, as with the light effects, the temples look beautiful at night. There is a show each in English (7.30pm) & Hindi (8.30pm).

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There are a lot of eateries offering continental cuisine dotting the town but I was recommended ‘Raja Café’ opposite the temple. This place is truly worth a visit & comes highly recommended (average meal for two will cost upto Rs. 600/-).
The next day, we woke up at 5.00am (who wakes up at 5.00 on a Sunday??) as Manasi wanted to photograph the temple at dawn. After the photography, we had a leisurely breakfast and went to see the Eastern & Southern group of temples. It is recommended to give these temples a miss. After a quick lunch, we started back for Bhopal.

The drive. The driving time will vary 6-7 hours. I could achieve a max speed of 130 for short durations and a minimum of 20kmph. My average speed was 70kmph. The road offers challenges in the form of turns, cattle hazards, local bazaars etc and one has to be careful while driving. I got a mileage of 13kmpl on the Ritz Zxi (poor, may be as I was not able to maintain a constant speed). There are gentle Ghats in between which have very good roads and nicely banked turns and are a pleasure to drive. Overall if ride quality is not an issue, it can be fun driving down the roads.

Tips
Drive with a full tank as petrol pumps are scarce after Saugor.
The hotels offer a handsome discount, if you ask for it. Mid Feb-Mar is the best season to get good deals as the tourist season is yet to start and the day temperature is not so high. (In summers, Khajuraho is one of the hottest places in MP)
With a day or two to spare, one can visit Panna National Park, just 40 kms from Khajuraho. Bandhavgarh, 250 kms away is one of the best tiger reserves in India.
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Old 21st April 2011, 04:20   #2
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Default Re: Bhopal Khajuraho roadtrip

Hi Kunal,
Great narration and pics. Once government start to make better roads, MP has lot to offer for tourists. Please narrate what you have heard about the history of the temples there of what you remember.
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Old 21st April 2011, 11:05   #3
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Default Re: Bhopal Khajuraho roadtrip

Hi Anand,
This is an extract taken from MP tourism site which gives out the history in brief:-
"The creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon. The legend that describes the origin of this great dynasty is a fascinating one: Hemavati, the beautiful young daughter of a Brahmin priest was seduced by the moon god while bathing in the Rati one evening. The child born of this union between a mortal and a god was a son, Chandravarman. Harassed by society, the unwed mother sought refuge in the dense forest of Central India where she was both mother and guru to her young son. The boy grew up to found the great Chandela dynasty. When he was established as a ruler, he had a dream-visitation from his mother, who implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire. Chandravarman began the construction of the first of the temples, successive rulers added to the fast growing complex."
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Old 22nd April 2011, 09:52   #4
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Default Re: Bhopal Khajuraho roadtrip

Overall road conditions look bad and enough to deter anyone wanting to use this route, but since you are going from Bhopal I guess you no better choices.
Is the Sagar bypass complete?
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Old 23rd April 2011, 12:23   #5
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Default Re: Bhopal Khajuraho roadtrip

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Overall road conditions look bad and enough to deter anyone wanting to use this route, but since you are going from Bhopal I guess you no better choices.
Is the Sagar bypass complete?
No other option was available to me. I made use of Sagar Bypass but the road is not fully complete and has some bad patches.
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