Khajuraho Erotic Temples
If you want proof that the Kama Sutra originated in India, Khajuraho is the place to see. Erotica abounds here with over 20 temples devoted to sexuality and sex. These sandstone temples, which date back to the 10th and 11th century, are the only ones remaining out of 85 temples constructed during this time.
There are 3 groups of temples — Western, Eastern, and Southern. The main temples are in the Western group, which features the magnificent Kandariya Mahadeo Temple. The Eastern Group contains a number of exquisitely sculptured Jain temples. There are only two temples in the Southern group.
Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh is best known for its spectacular setting, as well as having the highest concentration of tigers at any park in India. It’s relatively difficult to reach but it offers the best chance of seeing tigers in their natural habitat.
The park features dense green valleys and rocky hill terrain, with an ancient fort built on 800 meter (2,624 foot) high cliffs. It’s a relatively small park, with an area of 105 square kilometers (65 square miles) that’s open to tourists. In addition to tigers, the park has a large array of wildlife including sloth bears, deers, leopards, jackals, and birds.
Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park has the honor of providing the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel, The Jungle Book. It’s rich in lush saal and bamboo forests, lakes, streams and open grasslands. The park is one of the largest national parks in India, with a core area of 940 square kilometers (584 square miles) and surrounding area of 1,005 square kilometers (625 square miles).
Kanha is well regarded for its research and conservation programs, and many endangered species have been saved there. As well as tigers, the park abounds with barasingha (swamp deer) and an extensive variety of other animals and birds. Rather than offering one particular kind of animal, it provides an all-round nature experience.
Ancient and imposing Gwalior Fort, one of the must see tourist places in Madhya Pradesh, has a very long and turbulent history.
The Fort’s initial construction dates back as far as 525 AD. Over the years, it was subjected to many attacks and had many different rulers. It wasn’t until the reign of the Rajput Tomar dynasty that the Fort really rose to prominence, and was built to its current scale and grandeur. During this time, ruler Man Singh constructed one of the Fort’s main highlights, Man Mandir Palace, between 1486 and 1516. Its outer walls are distinctively decorated with blue mosaic tiles and rows of yellow ducks.
Orchha is located on the banks of the Betwa River, a comfortable hour and a half south of Gwalior. It’s another relatively peaceful place, full of well preserved palaces and temples, with a distinctly medieval charm. Three main palaces are enclosed in Orccha’s fortified walls. The Jahangir Mahal is the largest and most impressive, and its upper levels offer some arresting panoramic views. A stay inside the Jahangir Mahal, at the Hotel Sheesh Mahal, completes the experience. Being a government run hotel, it’s not luxurious but it is full of character.
Some of India’s oldest Buddhist relics can be found at Sanchi, northeast of Bhopal. Most notable is the Great Stupa, built by Emperor Ashoka in 262 BC after he embraced Buddhism, as penance for the atrocities he inflicted on the state of Kalinga (in Orissa). You’ll find a number of other stupas, temples, and monasteries there, along with an archeological museum. Sanchi can be visited on a day trip from Bhopal, but it’s worth staying there its a convenient base for numerous other side trips.
Maheshwar, often referred to as the Varanasi of central India, is a small holy town dedicated to Lord Shiva. Set along the banks of the Narmada river, it’s said that only Shiva is worshiped where the Narmada flows, as he’s the only god with the inner peace to calm her.