28 September 2019

We left Varanasi in the afternoon on the overnight train to Jhansi, luckily we got the “Honeymoon Suite” and had a room to ourselves. From Jhansi it’s 2½ hours by car along a rough road overflowing with typical Indian rural life to the 300 year old Alipura Palace Hotel.

“Honeymoon Suite” on the overnight Bundelkhand Express to Jhansi
Disembarking at Jhansi Station
Rural India
Cows rule the road

The Alipura Palace Hotel is the ancestral Palace of Manavendra Singh, whose family ruled this district for 19 generations and still live here.  It is straight out of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie complete with power cuts.

We spent 2 nights here.

The remote UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khajuraho is another 2 hours driving from the Alipura Palace Hotel – its isolation protected it from destruction by Moslem invaders. Built between 930 and 1050 AD, originally there were 85 temples spread over 6 square kilometers, but only 25 remain mostly in excellent condition. The temples are superb examples of north Indian architecture and art with hundreds of stunning stone carvings.  Women, sex, war and the gods are the dominate themes of life 1000 years ago.

Originally the 85 temples protruded from a lake – a few weeks ago the water was over a meter deep here
10th-century Hindu Lakshmana Temple adorned with erotic sculptures is dedicated to Vishnu
Don’t try this at home!
Figures on Lakshmana Temple
Matangeshvara Temple is the only active site of worship in Khajuraho
Our guide said last month they were praying for rain, now they are praying for it to stop!
Kandariya Temple is the largest at 31 meters high in a series of increasing spires – “stairway to heaven”
Life in the 10th century: the king and his advisers, fighting off the Moslems
Pratapeswar Temple with Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem domes is new, only 200 years old
A holy man at Khajuraho
Woman selling the coloured powders used for forehead art
Exquisite carving of a woman applying makeup on the 950 CE Jain Parsvanath Temple