2014-10-27

No it was not my first stay here and it will be not my last. Khajuraho is a village with a rich cultural heritage but still in a rural ambience. The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. March 2013 I arrived the first time in Khajuraho MP, came back and back again. No it’s not only the temples, the streets, festivals and mela with a lot to look at, the rual feel and good size of the village(s)... something just worked fine and I found another restfull place for me. Even after 5 months staying at Khajuraho, there is still a lot on my to-do-list; like the Jain Temple, the Sound&Light-Show, Rajnagar, Panna National Park,...haven’t visited or done so much of it as we often miss to do it, when we have too much time. I would recommend at least a stay o 2 days, if you want to relax take 3-4 days (enjoy an lazy afternoon by the swimming pool at Hotel Jas Radisson or Chandela, for Rs 300 onwards). More about all different temples & things to do, check the virtual tourist or google it. Khajuraho is located in Central India (Region Bundelkhand) District Chhatarpur in Madyha Pradesh, between Orchha and Varanasi. Easy to reach by train from Delhi, Varanasi, Agra and also Udaipur, Jaipur. Train station (Code: KURJ). If you don’t find a good direct connection look out for trains via Jhansi, Mahoba Junction or Satna, this gives you some more options. The train station is about 9 km away from centre/Western Temples group. A three-wheeler will cost between 100 - 150 Rupees one way, there also shared autos. If you leave on night train, don’t forget to arrange the pickup ahead. The airport of Khajuraho (IATA code: HJR) with domestic flights from/to/via Varanasi/Delhi (Mumbai/Agra). During low season (summer season to end of September), there are less flights and sometimes from Delhi via Agra via Varanasi, so check out different possible date it may give you new journey opportunities Airport is closer to the centre about 5km, cost between 80-120 Rupees. Guess for most traveller my days in Khajuraho will seem pretty boring but remember I was there for a looong time-out and not for work, So its more a kind of homebase for me Already after my very first days stepped into a kind of daily routine, still growing in its variations by visiting people I get to know better every time I came back. My main friends/families own shops. I feel at home in every one and switch sitting around between them. But most of the time I stayed at the Cottage Craft Centre or at AliBabas Treasure, if not they always know where I am. My normal day at Khajuraho: Early morning: Wake up, drink my coffee, stand/sit on balcony watch street life. Going down to “help” open the shop, short morning stroll to the Shivsagar or through other areas, get newspaper, read, watch, drink chai (or coffee), share pani, chat, sometimes with netbook and extended use of wifi, crochet topi for the boys, greeting the many people you know, just sit there and watch street life, sometimes a sweet breakfast at the Lassi Corner. Around 11am or late afternoon: going to Mr. AB’s house to see Madam and the girls, and also the other ladies there, sometimes have late breakfast/lunch/dinner with them, sit, watch music clips, play and dance with chota, talk, “help” prepare food, sometimes get massage, say no to more khana. Going to my Kashmiri friends home: talk while J. prepare lunch, watch/hear movies/clips, help to make salad and set up the “table” (cloth). When M. comes home from shop we have lunch together. As soon as it finished J. and me are going back, he to shop and me upstairs to my room for short nap and shower. Late afternoon and evening I did mostly more or less the same. Since there are boys and some friends who step by for a short chat it’s never boring, sometimes we go to play some “skipbo-cardgame”. On Thursday we, like whole village, go shopping on the veg-market at the mela ground. Every evening (also at morning time) around 6pm hundreds of birds are coming to the trees at the market close to the Western Temples, you will hear them. If there are customers or clients everybody is busy and running and I have a bit of a silence. Around 10pm the shops close and we go to my friends place to make and have dinner. Mostly around 11pm one of them escorts me back to the hotel, where I make my last coffee for the day. Of course there are special events like birthday parties, weddings, invitations, excursions, mela, shopping in Chhatarpur, family visits, riding bicycle, sight seeing, and taking part of the many different festivals. Even if I spend most of the time being at the market or at my friend’s home, I sleep and live always in my room at hotel/guesthouse. This provides me with my needed independence and I’m able enjoy my privacy. Hotels/Guesthouses, I stayed at so far: Guesthouse-Hotel Pramod Palace, Jain Temple Road direct at the now open gate, ca. 250 m to the Western group. I stayed there 3 months. My favourite non-ac-room, direct above the shop and has a nice balcony, It’s often used by small indian groups tourists, so expect some early morning noises. No I would not bring my family here but for me its fine. Between 300 and 700 depends on duration, AC and season. Hotel Harmony, Jain Temple Road ca. 700 m to the Western group, was a nice stay. I would stay there with friends. From 900 to 1200R (2013) Shri Krishna Jungle Resort, By Pass Road, near Hotel Radisson, ca. 3.5 km to the Western group. I had a cottage, was a nice and quiet stay, I would stay there with friends. You can rent a bicycle to get to the centre. Hotel Radisson Jass, By Pass Road, very nice I would bring my parents there but I just used their pool for some holiday feeling during hot days (400R) Hotel Gupta Palace, Jain Temple Road ca. 300 m to the Western group, was a cheaper stay too. (2013) During my travelling, I did not seen big differences between a room for 1200 or 500 Rupees. So I prefer to give the keeper something that he cleans mirror, bathroom and floor properly and/or gives me a new bucket or sheet, before I move in. Restaurants: Since I’m enjoying meals mostly at private homes, I visit just a few restaurants. Mostly for a short break from the fabulous but everyday rice and curry. “Raja’s Cafe”, opposite Western group, for a Roesti with Egg or a very nice Capucchino. Also with Rooftop and view to Western Temples. “Mediterraneo” Restaurant on Rooftop, Jain Temple Road, Opposite Surya Hotel.. For a chilled glass of Indian White Wine (450R) or in need of some mediterranean food like a good Pizza. "Bella Italia”, opposite Cottage Craft Centre and Pramod Palace. Rooftop on 1.floor good sight onto streetlife. For fast wifi, cold coke or fresh fruit salad with curd and honey. “Maharaja” Cafe & Restaurant, Rooftop with a shelter, opposite Western Temple entrance. Generally good food, I’m there for shadow, to read, garlic naan and mixed salad. “Lassi Corner” Shack at the corner behind bicycle-rental at Jain temple road, 150m to the Western Temples. Doesn’t look like but great “chocolate pan cakes” or stuffed paratha. Soon they will move into a real building. Khajuraho is a place to train your handling with touts/street-guides and boys. Many of them talk a foreign language and will follow you. They are sometimes a pain your neck but try to understand, it’s their job and they’ll get commission from successful sales. You will not only be a new, good friend but also possible business to them – but this could be a win-win situation for you too. Ask them and they will show and help you with nearly everything. On the market there are rules too, so if one is too much forcing ask someone for support. My boys are quite helpful and very nice, sometimes I wish I could have them around here too. Please do not give pens, gifts or money to school-children. They shall also not beg. Parents are taking their children out of the school, if they “earn” more on the street. And already too many people in Khajuraho are dependent on visitors and tourism. Khajuraho is somehow quiet but it’s like everywhere. Have always a little torch or your phone with you, we have power-cut somewhere nearly every day. I don’t like when stray dogs are around, sometimes they make small hordes. Don’t do anything you would not do at home. Don’t walk alone at night, not true, do walk if you feel good about but not everywhere. Be aware of drunk or strange-funny people, close the door and use your common sense… My friends take good care of me. So everyone is very protective. Sometimes, as usual, a bit too much but I found a good way to handle it. When they say “go inside”, come to or go there, stay, don’t talk to this person or whatever… I do, but always want to know the reason and sometimes I have to fight a bit for my arguments. I can recommend the festive season from the end of September until November, check out the data and also March with the mela for 1 month. In February there is the famous dance festival but I havn’t seen it yet. During December until February it can get pretty cool at night but still nice warm on a sunny afternoon. I’m happy and grateful that I had the possibility to enjoy another life and found friends there. And of course I hope to go back to see my friends and their growing families again.

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