Delhi to Khajuraho
After our Leh trip in 2015, this was our first trip within India for the year 2017. The fact that 26th January, Republic Day, was on Thursday, we could easily take Friday off for a 4 day extended weekend trip. Since we always wanted to visit Khajuraho, we planned a trip for Khajuraho-Panna-Orchha.
I love jungle safaris. Watching wildlife is my primary motive to travel. I admit that I am not an avid traveller, but being a hardcore Animal Planet fan, I love safaris and animal watching. Therefore we planned two jungle safaris in Panna in this trip.
Train is the best & most comfortable way to travel to Madhya Pradesh. So we booked 3AC seats in UP Sampark Kranti Express. We reached Nizamuddin Railway station on 25th evening, and took the 9 PM train to Khajuraho. We didn’t know that one bogey was only reserved for Khajuraho because the train will move to Manikpur leaving the Khajuraho coach on a slip line for another train. The train journey was quite comfortable and we were able to catch 5-6 hours of sleep.
We were expected to reach Khajuraho by 6:30 AM, but the train was a bit late and we reached by 9 AM. Since we had already booked transport from the hotel, the cab from Syna Heritage hotel was waiting for us. We took the cab and reached our hotel. I was surprised to see that roads were really smooth and the city had a population of just 20,000 people.
Our hotel, Syna Heritage, was nice and really close to the Western Group of temples. We took a bath and after breakfast left for the temples. The whole experience was mesmerising and we were left spell bound. We hired a guide who was really knowledgeable. Govt charges were around 1400 INR, but we negotiated for 1200. Tips for Khajuraho:
1. Western Group of Temples has the most beautiful temples, and it will take more than 2 days just to absorb all the beauty and the architecture.
2. It’s better to stay near the temples so that you can walk down without bothering about transport. Autos are cheap and people are usually very nice.
3. The light and sound show happens in the evening with the English show from 6:30-7:30 PM followed by its Hindi version. Ticket was for 200 INR per head and it is worth it. You get to know the history of the temples. We recommend the Hindi version of the show.
4. For eating: Raja Cafe is really nice. It’s right next to the temples.
We were so much spellbound that the very next day we decided to visit the temples again. In our second visit sans guide, we noticed much more than our earlier visit. After lunch we left for Panna via an auto rickshaw. The driver took us through an alternate route which passed through a lot of villages. The whole journey was very scenic. He charged us 800 INR.
We reached Panna after 1 hour, and our stay was at Ken River Lodge (right next to the Ken river, which is its modern name as the British couldn’t pronounce Karnavati). After having lunch, we left for our private evening safari at Panna Tiger Reserve. The key to the safari is to have a good guide. We love jungles and bird watching. Even though we were not lucky to see a tiger, we saw so much wildlife and were thrilled with the safari.
Next day we got up early at 5 AM for our morning safari which started around 6:45 AM. The morning safaris are a lot better as you get more time (around 4 hours) whereas evening safaris are from 3 PM to 6 PM.
We left for Orchha from Panna at around 12 PM (cab charges 5K INR). We reached Orchha at 4 PM. Our stay was at Bundelkhand River Resort. This was an old palace converted to a resort. It is quite close to Orchha temples. Next day after breakfast we booked two bicycles and booked a guide for the Orchha Reserve. The whole 4 hour journey in the reserve on the bikes was an adventure. I wish the guide had mountain bikes as the terrain was very challenging. Only a proper mountain bike would do justice. We highly recommend our guide Mr Manhohar, who is a trained mountaineer, kayaking expert, river rafting guide and a professionally certified swimmer. Here are his details:
Cycles in Orchha
RAM RAJA ADVENTURES
Mr Manohar Lal
Mobile: +91 9893378581
After our bike ride, we hired a guide and an auto and visited the various temples and Chattris in Orchha. The history and stories behind these temples is amazing. It was indeed another highlight of our trip after our Panna safaris.
In the evening we took the Shatabdi from Jhansi station which was again very comfortable. We reached Delhi on time at aorund 11:30 PM, it was a pleasant 4.5 hours journey with some nice food too.