How to plan a solo trip to Khajuraho

How to plan a solo trip to Khajuraho

Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.
As the title say, this one here is about Khajuraho, a small temple town in heart of India, Madhya Pradesh. I have already shared my account of what I did on this trip in another post (Click Here); here I will talk about bookings and itinerary planning.
 
As is normally a case with most people planning to travel solo in India, I was also anxious about travelling to this small little town. This was practically my second solo trip in India after Manali (Click Here for Post). I wanted to see Khajuraho for its historical value and beauty of temples. Almost all online accounts of Khajuraho talked about its erotic statues, but what I found there were perfect masterpieces of art and architecture. You can read about my Khajuraho experience in the posts about that trip. For now, let’s jump right into my planning process:

Best Time to Go

Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
I visited Khajuraho in August, it was just after monsoon, but peak season had not yet started. Thus it was a great time for me as I could click some amazing pictures without worrying about people coming into my frame. It wasn’t too hot either, keep yourself hydrated and you should be fine. But some good cafes and restaurants were closed.
 
However, as per the norms, best time to visit Khajuraho is during colder months – September to March.

Travelling to Khajuraho

Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
As I was anxious, I kept searching for best ways to reach Khajuraho for a very long time. Given my work commitments, I had a short window to travel. The flight I checked out 2 weeks before booking was cheap (INR 1,500 – one way), but I delayed my booking and by the time I decided to book it, price had shot up to INR. 10,000 – One way. With this situation I decided to book a train and the only train that directly goes from Delhi to Khajuraho was all booked. Few more searches later I booked my tickets First on a bus to Gwalior – another beautiful city in Madhya Pradesh (my photo album) and then took onward train to Khajuraho. I spent a night at my Aunt’s place in Gwalior.
 
By Flight: Air India operates flights to Khajuraho from Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, and Mumbai and Jet Airways offers flights Delhi and Varanasi. These are not daily flights and as frequency is to very high these flights get expensive closer you book to your travel dates. Just like what happened to me. If you can plan in advance, it is a great way to reach Khajuraho. Airport is just 5km from the city centre and tuk tuk (auto rickshaw) and cabs are easily available.
 
Khajuraho is decently well connected to major cities in India by train, flight, and road. Thanks to vast road networks in our country, these places can be reached by road also. All modes of transport are safe, just be careful of what type of bus or train coach you are booking. Usually a bit expensive, AC (air conditioned) buses and train coaches are fine for female travellers. I took Volvo AC Sleeper bus to Gwalior and then 3AC (3 Tier AC Coach) train to Khajuraho.
 
By Train: Khajuraho train station was opened about 10 years back in 2008, linking the town to Jhansi which provides it direct connectivity. There is a direct train from Delhi to Khajuraho – UP SAMPARK KRANTI Express (Train number 12448) – which starts at around 8pm and reaches Khajuraho next early morning around 6:30am. Book your tickets about a week in advance during peak season to ensure reservation. (How to book trains in India – Click Here)
 
There are more trains to Khajuraho from Udaipur (I took this one – UDZ KURJ Express), Gwalior, Jhansi, and Satna. One can reach Khajuraho via Jhansi – it takes about 3-4hours. The train I took from Gwalior started from there in afternoon but got delayed by about 3 hours and I reached around 9:15pm. As I was a bit sceptical about taking a tuk tuk late at night to reach my hostel, I called the reception, asked for fair price to pay (it was INR 100) and if it was safe to travel alone at this hour. They assured me that it is totally safe and that’s how it actually was. I was still super conscious about my surroundings and was carrying my camera tripod in my hand, just in case.
Erotic Statues on Khajuraho Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
By Bus: There are daily bus services from Satna and Jhansi to Khajuraho and buses and roads are in good condition. But they take a bit longer than trains. You can use redbus, makemytrip, or goibibo to book your seat or you can buy tickets from the bus station itself. Frequency of buses to Khajuraho decreases a lot after 5pm from Jhansi, so better to take your onward bus before that. Also, there are daily buses to Khajuraho from Harpalpur, Chhatarpur, Mahoba, Sagar, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Panna, Agra, Allahabad and Varanasi.
 
By Car: there are private cars and taxis available to Khajuraho from Delhi, Gwalior, Jhansi, Satna, Varanasi, etc. but I am not sure about the charges. One of a fellow traveller took a taxi from Delhi to Khajuraho – Orccha – Agra – Delhi for 3 nights, I guess, and she was paying INR 28,000 + Driver charges.

My travel cost to Khajuraho (Delhi – Gwalior – Khajuraho – Gwalior – Delhi)

Delhi to Gwalior and back by Bus – INR 1,620 (INR 810 one side)
Gwalior to Khajuraho and back by Train (3AC Return) – INR 900 (INR 450 one side)

Where to Stay

Western Group of Temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

I stayed at Zostel Khajuraho. It had perfect location, only about a minute walk from the main UNESCO World Heritage Site – Western Group of Temples. It was the only decent hostel in Khajuraho. I had some issues regarding no water in washrooms and cleanliness in the kitchen, but overall I was able to manage. However, the place is now taken over by another hostel and is now called Headquarter Khajuraho, hope it is better managed now. It’s the most convenient location with everything just stone throw away distance. There are only few hostels in Khajuraho. You can however, book hotels for about INR 1,500 – 2,000 per night, but I think it is too much for a solo backpacker. There is Lalit Traveller, Ramada, etc. in Khajuraho. So take your pick accordingly.

Places to Eat

Only place I liked for eating was Raja Café right in front of temple complex. Roof top seating here has a nice view of temples. Another Restaurant I read about with temple view was Blue Sky but it was closed during my visit.

Places to See

Refer to these two post – Part 1 and Part 2
 
These are my tips and suggestions for planning your trip to Khajuraho. If you have any further questions or you need help in planning your trip to Khajuraho/India, write to me on comments section below or contact me via email. I will definitely get back to you.

 

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