My Perfect Vacation

“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!


Credit: Wiki Commons (P.S. Sahana)

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.

Khajuraho 1

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.

khajuraho 3

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.

khajuraho 4

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!

khajuraho 2

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.

119 responses to “My Perfect Vacation

  1. Looked like some beautiful journey going through your vivid and lucid narration 🙂 a stunning post !

  2. Just an amazing journey. I’m so glad you had this opportunity to enjoy these marvels. Traveling and experiencing new regions is an important part of my life as well.

  3. Never been to Khajuraho but I am sure when I do go someday, I will be visiting this post for pointers first. I so loved your idea of travel Mani, resonates with mine!🙂

  4. Excellent post… I much enjoyed your travel chronicles… Madhya Pradesh looks beautiful. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments look stunning, with the accuarte depictions of gods and goddesses… You are quite right when you state that “the technology and architecture used for building the temples were much ahead of the time”…. those who believe in aliens might argue that extraterrestrial creatures might be involved with this constructions… same as happens with the egyptian piramids… Sigh, Odd!…🙂
    Sending love & best wishes, dear Mani… have a great weekend. Aquileana😀

    • I have read about those “alien” theories. Though I don’t believe in aliens… hehe…😛

      The Khajurahos are wonderful …all the temples have such perfection! Thank you for dropping by and reading…❤

  5. It seems like different people travel for different reasons. Some people just want to break monotony. Some people are interested in learning about new cultures. Some people want to experience the art and history of a place first hand. I tend to want to feel like I live there. I experience the place as if I had just barely move there. Which places would I like to visit on the weekend? Where would I like to eat? Not sure why that’s my primary interest. Maybe I wonder what it is like to live different kinds of lives?

  6. I had visited Khajuraho in 1995 and was spellbound by the architecture! A must visit place! I would like to visit again whenever I get an opportunity.

  7. Bedhaghat – I was a kid and very very scared to be honest… I wish I could go back and change it. But MP is my Dad’s fave travel location – This brought back some wonderful memories🙂

  8. Loved reading the detailed travelogue Maniparna. You have rightly pointed out how travelling rejuvenates and breaks the monotony. The sculptures of Khajuraho have captured the imagination of people since ages and are widely talked about. One can’t help marveling at the intricacy with which these were built and how they have withstood the test of time. I wasn’t aware of the Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat. On my bucket list.🙂

  9. Amazing architecture, such wonderful detail and history. I don’t blame you for your unquenchable thirst, it is a wondrous place, UNESCO are always spot on with protecting our heritage.

      • You can always split it into parts, I remember doing that and not wanting to do a three part post, so eventually had, part one, part two part one, part two part two(part one) and part two part two (part two). I’m weird I know.

  10. Well, summer vacations have started so I can expect more from you I guess. Madhya Pradesh is one of the largest state and one needs to go many number of times to cover the whole of it.

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend🙂

  11. Beautiful pictures of both the wonderfully placid waters and the detailed sculptures. I’m always in awe of the art and craft of ancient/medieval history. Great post Maniparna. Chevvy.:-)

  12. Thankyou for this evocative virtual tour, Mani, to a country I sadly have never visited at all, let alone to the very heart of it. Instead, I have contented myself with reading on its rich history and culture, and studying its wonderful profound philosophies.

  13. Amazing vacation – it sound like the trip was wonderful. I especially like the picture of the Narmada river! Thanks Maniparna for sharing. 🙂

  14. What a beautiful journey.. Loved each picture and narration to go with it.. Such a wonderful place.. Many thanks for sharing Maniparna.. Such history …🙂

  15. What an uplifting post, Maniparna! I really like the guide’s explanation about entering the temple. That makes perfect sense. The marble cliffs made my mouth drop and I can well imagine your response being there in person. What a wonderful trip to see such glorious sights! Thank YOU for sharing them!!❤

    • Thanks, Amy🙂 Khajuraho temples are famous for their explicit sexual figurines and statues. I avoided publishing all the pictures on my blog for obvious reasons. But, they are wonderful! Just like you, I found the guide’s explanation perfect…🙂❤

      • So many are offended by sex, Maniparna. Our very nature which is sexual people resist. Yes I do know about those temples, yet if you would just stop to understand the meaning behind the statues as you did, the “offense” would be gone. Good for you for going to one of these temples and not being offended!!

  16. Encouragingly informative and pictorial depiction of khajuraho. I have not seen anything of Madhyapradesh beyond Indore, thus your narrative is one more compelling reason to pick up my travel bag and explore the heart of India.

  17. I love the idea of taking a train across an area, traveling brings us rejuvenating experiences and you found gorgeous places to see. Thank you for taking us along for the ride!😉

  18. Sounds like a beautiful and relaxing getaway there, Mani, and also one where you got to connect with a bit a culture. “The technology and architecture used for building the temples were much ahead of the time.” I have to agree! Khajuraho Group of Monuments and temples look so intricate and those who carved them all out must certainly have a good eye and patience for art. Good to hear that it is a UNESCO heritage site – looks like a place that captures so many stories from the past and gives the background of different religions that have their relevance today.

    By the way, it is very nice of you to be accommodating to your travel companion who does not like flying😀

    • UNESCO has done a great job. The monuments are really awe-inspiring..every figurine, every statue is so perfect, impeccable!

      Thanks, actually train journeys are quite comfortable if we can manage the time…🙂

  19. You really had a time of your life! I’m not much of a traveler myself, but love to read travelogue, provided they are detailed and captivating, like this one. I had read about the Khajuraho temples during my architecture studies and was too impressed by the beauty of the figurines and the overall architecture.

    Some day I’ll kick myself out of my house and really visit such beautiful places.🙂

    • Thanks. You must visit Khajuraho, trust me, words fail, at least for me, to describe the timeless, intricate and PERFECT sculptures on the walls. From the base platform to the ‘garbhagriha’, they are impeccable. I was speechless, literally…🙂

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