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Khajuraho is admired by the travellers for the distinct cluster of temples and assortment of leading Hindu deities. While the shrines make an important part of the Khajuraho tour packages, there is more to explore in this destination.
Thrillophilia brings you a list of temples and sightseeing places near this fascinating location to make your trip trouble-free and memorable.
Some of the best Khajuraho tour packages:
Khajuraho Temple Tour
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Till date Khajuraho remains an established name in the temple architecture of the world. Supported by generous and artistic line of Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples were constructed which were not only magnificent but were truly different from the main stream temple architecture of that period. Some of the best temples to visit in Khajuraho:
1) Lakshmana Temple
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Well planned Khajuraho tours can never be complete without a visit to the legendary Lakshmana temple. This grand temple is the second largest among all the others found in Khajuraho. It is one of the best conserved temples in of this region.
Let us take a peek into the history of this legendary monument. During the period 930-950 A.D. this temple was constructed by the Chandela king Yashovarman and was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Lakshmana temple is believed to be one of the most beautifully designed temples existing in India. Made of sand stone, this sacred place upholds the true Indian culture.
The complete temple complex is based on a high platform. The construction has all the elements of a well developed temple. Following a planned design, this shrine consists of a patio at the entrance which is also known as Ardh mandapa. The roof of this patio has been designed with carvings of lotus in four concentric groups whereas the supporting beams bear carvings of nymphs (apsaras).
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Inside the temple is a sacred area which is quite huge, called the Maha Mandapa designed for conducting rituals. The idols are placed in the sacred Antaral and underground Garbhagriha which is the inner most chamber of the temple. The chamber which housed the main deity is designed as a chariot and thus is also termed as Pancharatha. The windows here are intricately carved out and the walls depict about 600 Hindu gods and goddesses. Couples in erotic positions are engraved in the south eastern part of the temple.
The main entry has seven sections and the main section portrays outstanding designs of Lord Vishnu etched on the walls. It showcases the Lord in different forms or ‘avatars’ such as Lord Narsimha, Lord Varaha, and Bhagvan Vamana. The chief idol of this place of worship is that of Lord Vishnu, in the form of Vaikuntha Vishnu. This magnificent idol is carved out of sand stone with three heads and four hands.
The main figurine depicts the whole individual where as the head to the right portrays Lord Narsimha, the lion and to the left is a boar or Varaha. Another idol is designed with goddess Lakshmi in the centre with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu on either side.
2) Dulhadev Temple
The Dulhadev Temple belongs to the Southern Group of Temples of Khajuraho. Constructed in the year 1130 AD, this place of worship is reminiscent of the Chandla rule. No Khajuraho tours is considered to be complete without stepping into this temple which glorifies the magnificent form of art and architecture under the Chandelas. It is a five chambered shrine, which is not very big in size. The total length of this temple is 0.06 kilometres.
The principal deity of this sacred temple, Lord Shiva is housed in a closed hall. A Shivlingam which is installed in the closed hall is an added attraction. Carvings of Shiva and his companion, Parvati, richly decorated with minutely carved jewellery are extremely intriguing. The ceiling is ornamented with the beautiful apsaras and other decorative sculptures. Though this temple does not match the magic and the charm of many other temples of Khajuraho, yet its location on the banks of river Khudar gives it a special touch.
3) Kandariya Mahadev Temple
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The renowned Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is not just considered sacred in India but also the world. It is believed that this structure was built in the year 1030 AD by Master Vidyadhara. This temple, just like the others in Khajurano is built on a raised platform and can be reached by a flight of stairs. At the entrance there is a gate called the makara torana, which is worth a glimpse.
The interior portion of the temple is delicately designed with hallways stretching till the sanctum which houses a ‘linga’ carved out of stone. This area holds a special four-footed sculpture which is also known as chatushpada often called sacred Sadashiva. Bhagvan Sadashiva is believed to be the greatest deity by the devoted followers called the Shaivaites.
Besides the stone linga, the main section of the chamber contains statues illustrating three different moods of Lord Shiva. One of them is the renowned suppresser of the sightless devil Andhaka, another is a cosmic professional dancer the great Natesha and a sacred Tripurantaka.
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Along with Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva-Virabhadra, this significant temple also houses seven holy ‘matrikas’ also known as mothers. The sacred matrikas are place in the main temple along the route which is taken for pradakshina or to go around the deity.
As a result when the devotees begin to move around the temple in a clockwise direction, they are come across Lord Ganesha followed by the seven sacred Matrikas namely Chamunda, Aindri, Varahi, Vaishnavi, Kaumari, Mahesvari and Brahmani . At the end of the route the devotees can seek the blessings of goddess Virabhadra. According to historians, the Matrikas were carved to develop a feeling of safety in the temple.
There are about 226 statues which adorn the internal walls of the temple while 646 of them are depicted outside. The exterior has engravings of nymphs in different forms such as reptile nymphs, surasundies or women in posture of serving wine.
Khajuraho with Wildlife Tour
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If tourists are interested to combine their Khajuraho tour packages with wildlife tours, many travel companies offer combined trips from Mumbai and Delhi to Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh, Kanha and back.
4) Panna National Park
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Panna National Park is considered to be a ‘must watch’, under the Khajuraho tour packages. It is located at a distance of about 75 kilo meters from Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Due to its close proximity to one of India’s best known tourist spots, this wildlife park has been accepted as a thrilling stop-over destination. As this place has a tropical climate with scorching summers, the best time for visit would be during the cool and comfortable winters.
This national park is home to many tigers and also provides shelter to many other varieties of animals and birds. This animal reserve is known all over the world for is wild cats which also includes the majestic tigers. A huge number of deer and antelopes also find refuge in this wilderness.
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Besides the tiger, the king of the jungle, the other animals which roam about freely here are the leopard, wolf, wild dogs, hyenas, caracal and a variety of other smaller animals that belong to the feline family. This wooded area is teeming with a number of Indian deer such as chowsingha and chital. Other herbivores residing here are the nilgai, sambar and the chinkara. The sloth bear also finds his home in this natural surrounding among the caves among the rough stones.
The avifauna comprises of about 200 species, which contain a number of migratory birds. The visitors can find bareheaded goose, white necked stork, King Vulture, Paradise flycatcher, honey Buzzard, Blossom headed Parakeet, Slaty headed Scimitar babbler among many others. To add on to the wildlife thrill one could also be lucky enough to spot a variety of reptiles including the python.
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This dry mixed forest has a pre dominance of teak as far as tall trees are concerned. However the dominating type of vegetation is assorted with dry deciduous forest with patches of spread out grassland areas.
There are no jeeps arranged by the authorities which take the visitors around the forest. Therefore tourists are advised to book their own jeeps from local sources. Though, a long boat ride is offered by the authorities when one gets a chance to take a quick look at the water predators. The thrilling elephant safari is the best way to come across a striped beast from close quarters. Another great temptation for the tourists is the night safari at Gangau which is offered by the Ken River Lodge.
5) Bandhavgarh National Park
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When opting for Khajuraho tour packages one must ensure that the trip includes a visit to the magnificent abode of the tigers the Bandhavgarh National Park. Spread across the Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh, it has the maximum density of tiger population. The topography of this area consists of broken rocky hill ranges, interlocked with grassy swamps and wooded valleys.
Supported by a range of mixed vegetation which range from tall grasslands to thick Sal forest, the park is the perfect habitat for a variety of animals and birds. It was the once a hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa and presently is a famous natural hub for the Royal Bengal Tigers and the White Tigers.
[Best offers on Bandhavgarh Wildlife and Tiger Trail tour]
This national park has been separated into three major divisions namely Tala, Magdi and Bamera. Tala is the zone which is frequented the most by the tourists as it offers tiger sighting opportunities. Magdi is also being developed recently by the authorities to cater for tiger spotting facilities.
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A safari through the lush green forest which provides chances of watching the majestic wild cat is indeed a thrill in itself. Unexpectedly the royal tiger may just cut across the path giving an opportunity to the tourist to capture the moment in their cameras.
For getting about in the park there are two options, one in a motor vehicle and the other on elephant back. Most of the animals are now habituated to both. The best time for the Jeep safaris is from dawn until about 10am and again about 4pm till dusk.
[Check out some of the best Bandhavgarh tours]
One must always take a Forest Department guide along to be on the safer side. The guides are well versed with the forest and are helpful in spotting animals. During the safari through this forest one can await for moments to see the majestic Indian tiger along with some of the rarely visible animals like the sloth bear and the leopard.
Other animals which find refuge in this wooded land are common Langurs, Bengal Fox, Asiatic Jackal, Gray Mongoose, Spotted Deer, Wild Pigs, Chausingha, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara and Gaur, small Indian Civet, Lesser Bandicoot Rat and Palm Squirrel.
Khajuraho Sightseeing Tour
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Khajuraho, is an abode of admirable stone carvings and statues. Though majority of the sightseeing places include temples yet other attractions in close proximity to Khajuraho worth a visit are the Benisagar Lake, Pandav Caves and Waterfall, Panna diamond mines, Ajaigarh Fort, Kalinjar Fort, the State Museum of tribal and folk art and the Archaeological Museum.
Other activities which can be enjoyed here are learning yoga and watching the much famed light and sound shows exemplifying the lives of the Chandelas. The shopaholics could grab some brass fabricated sculptures, iron and stone carvings depicting distinctive erotic poses.
6) State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art
The State Museum of Tribal and Folk Art is housed in the Chandela Cultural Complex. It has a wonderful collection of some of the most unique tribal artefacts, which include paintings, metal craft, terra-cotta, woodwork, statues, items made of bamboo masks from all over Madhya Pradesh and the Bastar region which is well known for its tribal craft.
One could also indulge in elegant jewellery items, tattoos and other forms of body art. The stuff displayed here is indicates the rich culture of Madhya Pradesh. This museum provides a glimpse of Madhya Pradesh’s exciting tribal culture through terracotta Jhoomar sculptures, Bhili paintings, masks, statues and bamboo flutes.
After visiting the numerous temples of Khajuraho when one is desperately looking for some change, this could be the perfect place to spend the afternoon during the Khajuraho tour packages.
7) Archaeological Museum Khajuraho
The Archaeological Museum of Khajuraho is an open air museum. It was initiated in an effort to preserve the loosely kept historical sculptures and other significant items. This museum covers a considerably large area. Showcasing prominent Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina faiths, the five galleries are a delight to visit.
The gallery preserves a varied range of gorgeous and graceful artistic delights along with the glory of the bygone era. There are more than a hundred statues and panels of different sizes which are placed in four large halls.
8) Raneh Falls
In its path, the Ken River gives way to a 5 km long and 30 metres deep canyon. The rock around this place, consist of pure crystalline granite of various shades which range from pink and red to grey. A series of waterfall are found in this canyon. Some of them flow throughout the year, whereas, some spring back to life during the monsoons.
At an approximate distance of 20 km from Khajuraho is the Raneh Fall which marks the beginning of the Ken National Park. During the rainy season the fall provides a breath taking view and provides a perfect spot for arranging a picnic. For the nature lovers the Ken crocodile sanctuary which lies in close proximity to this fall provides an added attraction.
Taj Mahal Tour with Khajuraho
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Tourists who plan to couple Taj Mahal with Khajuraho during their trip have a wide choice to select from. From Delhi various tour packages for six to eight days are available where the destinations are Khajuraho, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur Udaipur before returning to Delhi again.
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