“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Travelling breaks the monotony of the life. It rejuvenates us with the much-needed freshness. For me, travelling doesn’t mean a mad rush from one place to another. I, rather, like to ponder and wander, garnering small happiness in the process. Walking down a snaky mountains road on a misty morning, as the pristine surrounding unveils itself slowly with the sun rays, makes me happy. My heart leaps up at the sight of an unknown flower smiling all by itself.
“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I found the above quote relatable during my visit to Madhya Pradesh, adoringly called as the ‘dil’ (heart) of India. A large state like Madhya Pradesh needs quite a number of visits if one really wants to explore all the beauties. We decided to cover only a few places.
It was a 7-day-long tour starting from Jabalpur. Though domestic Flight Schedule from Kolkata to Jabalpur was available, but we had to opt for the train as one of our friends had severe flight-phobia!
We reached Jabalpur on Day 2. Jabalpur is like any other city of India, nothing spectacular to be noted at a glance. Most of the hotels/restaurants serve veg foods, but even Bengalis like us, passionate about non-veg dishes, were simply bowled over by the variety of delectable dishes.
Day 3 started with our visit to one of the wonders of Mother Nature, the exquisite beauty which can make every eye awed; the Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat.
The Narmada river, one of the main rivers of India, flows between Satpura and Vindhya range. The Narmada originates at Amarkantak, western MP, and flows eastwards. Just at the south of Jabalpur it takes a great plunge making its way through the steep limestone cliffs producing a spectacle that literally leaves one speechless!
We availed the 6 km (approximately) long boat ride through the gorges; the tranquil blue water of the Narmada flowing through the shining, steep, marble rocks rising perpendicularly to a height of above 40 metres at places, produced a grand spectacle.
After the boat ride, we headed for the Dhuandhar Falls, a short drive from Bhedaghat. This time, we availed the ropeway to have a bird’s eye view of the exquisite scenery.
On Day 4, we started for the most coveted part of the trip, The Khajuraho Group of Monuments. We hired a car and started off early to cover a distance of about 250 km. It took us almost 7 hours to reach Khajuraho via NH 7. We stopped at a few places for tea and snacks in between, though.
We reached Khajuraho in the evening and, decided to spend the rest of it having a lazy stroll through the local market.
Next morning, Day 5, we felt over enthusiastic as our car made its way towards the monuments.
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments located in the Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh (India) is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites which India has to offer to her visitors. The Hindu and the Jain temples located here display an array of exquisite erotic sculptures along with a detailed depiction of everyday life. Between AD 950 and AD 1150, these temples were built under the kind patronage of the Chandela rulers.
Based on the Tantrik cult which was in vogue at that time, the impeccability and perfection of the sculptures are awe-inspiring. The name ‘Khajuraho’ has been derived from the Sanskrit words ‘khajura‘ meaning date palm and ‘bahaka‘ meaning the carrier.It is one of the heritage sites of India as declared by the UNESCO. Stretched along a vast area the temples are broadly divided into three groups, western, eastern and southern. There were about 85 temples of which only 25 (or 22) have survived the test of time and from the invasion of foreign rulers.
It’s really a wonder how these temples had been sculptured with a perfect accuracy. I was literally stunned by the marvel which Khajuraho offered. Mostly sandstone had been used to build the temples. The remarkable architecture has truly made it one of the seven wonders of India. There are temples of the Chausath Yogini, Brahma, Shiva, Varaha, Surya, Vamana, and Vishnu. The technology and architecture used for building the temples were much ahead of the time.
We asked a local guide about the existence of such erotic figurines on the outer walls of the temples, considered to be a holy and sanctified place. He said,“bade bade log hazar baatein kehte hain, mujhe to yehi samajh mein aata hain ki ye tasviren kehte hain ke bhagwan ke mandir mein jaane se pehle sab basna aur kamna bahar choDke jana chahiye.” (Though historians have opined in a hundred different ways, but I think those figures depicted on the outside walls instruct us to leave behind all the hedonistic pleasures before entering the main temple, or the sanctum sanctorum). I actually contemplated on his theory and wondered on his hermetic profoundness!
We spend the whole day visiting the monuments. Still, to me, it seemed the thirst was unquenchable. However, it marked the end of our tour.
Day 6, the next morning, we started for Satna, 117 km from Khajuraho, from where we were supposed to board the train to Kolkata.
Khajuraho is well connected with almost all the big cities of India. It is connected to Delhi and Agra with regular flights. There are regular bus services from Mahoba, Harpalpur, Satna, Jhansi, Agra and Bhopal.
This trip was a memorable one for it made me wonder, helped me explore and know the ancient history and culture of my country. A perfect vacation, as they say.
All the pictures, except the first one, are my clicks.