I am passionate about many things in life, but if I had to choose one it would definitely be travel. Over the years we have travelled to a lot of different destinations, both inside and out of India. I always look forward to a new year thinking of the new places we may get to visit or the old ones where we may rediscover new experiences. In 2018, one of the places I had on my radar was Khajuraho and I am happy that we are going there this week.
Planning for travel is one of the activities I truly enjoy and, over the years, I have got pretty good at it. This time, the idea of a Khajuraho visit came to me in January. My mother-in-law, who is normally with us in December and January to avoid the Delhi winters, was leaving on 11th February and our daughter Rinki was coming back home after completing her BM program at XLRI on 27th. So we really had to go in the intervening period. What really sealed the deal for me was seeing the news of the Khajuraho Dance festival being held this year between 20th and 22nd February. I am a great fan of all types of Indian cultural performances and one of my great joys was to watch the dancers perform in the Mamallapuram Dance festival when we were in Chennai. The Khajuraho dance festival seemed like the perfect occasion to visit there.
Life today has got much easier due to the amount of information present on the internet, especially if you know how to search for it well. I normally start by reading up on the place first to get a general sense of the location, transport options, sightseeing options etc. Next, I search for any travel blogs written about the place and also the itineraries by different tour operators. This gives me a rather good idea about how many days we will need at the place, travel options to reach there, food and stay options. Once I am clear on these I plan my itinerary and check on the dates, travel options and bookings.
Here is how I planned for Khajuraho:-
- Based on my readings I decided that 3 days will be enough to visit the Khajuraho temple complexes, view performances at the dance festival as well as go for a half day safari to Panna national park.
- From Hyderabad the logical way to travel will be through Bhopal or Jabalpur. However, both involved long train journeys and expensive flight tickets with not very convenient timing. It did not make sense to travel 2 days for a 3 day trip.
- As there was a good night train between Delhi and Khajuraho, I decided to do the unusual and go through Delhi, despite it not making geographical sense.
- I booked the tickets for the train both ways first and then looked at the flight options. As I was having some flexibility of dates, courtesy some stay options in Delhi for night stays if needed, I was able to get tickets at great prices.
- Next step was to book accommodation for 2 nights in Khajuraho. I looked at Trivago site to get a good deal from Booking.com
- Final step was to book the evening safari at Panna national park through the online facility in the MP government site. This is a great option as you can do things directly yourself without getting entangled with touts etc.
Now finally for the costs:-
- Train costs were 1920 Rs for onward journey in AC 3 Tier and 2720 Rs for the return journey in AC 2 Tier.
- Flight costs were 9800 Rs for both legs of the journey 🙂
- Hotel cost for 2 nights was about 4200 Rs.
- Safari permits were 520 Rs, Jeep and Guide costs will come to another 700 Rs or so.
- Food, taxis and incidental expenses will be in the range of another 7000 Rs or so.
So at an overall cost of 27000 Rs or thereabouts we are leaving for a reasonably comfortable trip to a long awaited destination. Must say that I am feeling quite kicked about it.