Walking around the main square, the atmosphere is sleepy yet picturesque. It seems to be similar to a town in the south of France, with a relaxed rural life ambiance to the place. Men sitting in plastic chairs chewing panaad watch the world wander by, shop sellers greet tourists with enthusiasm to make a sale and kids cycle on well weathered bikes to and from school.
The western temples are situated within the square, whilst the town life forms around it, meaning many restaurants have rooftops with green canopy’s and brightly coloured walls, giving a combination of tasty food with superb views of history. We decided to rent bicycles to allow us to visit all of the temples dotted around Khajuraho. Sitting on rickety bikes which made us bounce and jiggle on the broken plastic seats, we cycled to the eastern temples. Passing pastel and white coloured walls of houses, women leading herds of donkeys, men using all their strenuous force to push water out of water pumps, and children running along side our bikes pleading for chocolate with hopeful eyes, we caught glimpses of what life would be like in a village in India. Greeting Namaste to all those we passed, we felt the springs within each of our seats as we went over every little bump or large stone.
The temples are beautiful, as they are set in a serene landscape of lazy buffaloes and mountains surrounding each one, although beware of the touts at every temple. After cycling around Khajuraho and the eastern temples, we passed plush international chains of hotels neighbouring barber shops with cracked leather seats and broken mirrors. We had lunch at Majahara Cafe, where we sat in our own little terrace in a dome, overlooking the eastern temples whilst munching on Indian kebabs. We planned our visit to the main temples at sunset, as we thought this would be the perfect camera opportunity. However, not reading the sign, the temples close half an hour before the sun actually sets- so factor this into your travel plans.
The next morning we rose early to catch the temples at sunrise, before our train to Agra. The red Indian sun glared with menace as if on fire, dominating the sky with its powerful sheen. Its rays reflected onto the world heritage site, whilst we quickly wandered in and around temples with erotic carvings on each side- suggestive to all that visit on ways to ramp up their sex lives. I really recommend going to Khajuraho, it is based in the heart of India, and I found these carvings more beautiful than those in Ellora Caves, (although carvings within the wall of a cave are pretty fascinating) as well as the village of Khajuraho is a much more welcoming and pleasant place to stay than Arungabad.
We stayed at a hostel called Yogi Lodge, where we had called and booked previously. The place was very spacious and leafy, with welcoming staff and a number of facilities were on offer. Although the rooms are basic, combined with a central location and a cheap price- it is a good place for a backpacker. Also make sure you don’t eat here, service is slow and food is appalling.