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70s-80s overlander

Sanchi>Raisen>Sagar>Khajuraho: Back-Road Path

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I've seen a number of references here and there to a back-road path from Sanchi to Khajuraho via Raisen and Sagar.

Apparently one needs to figure on about 1 hour from Sanchi to Raisen, then about 4 hours from Raisen to Sagar (Saugor), and then about 5 hours from Sagar on to Khajuraho -- for a total of 10 hours plus waiting for the bus or finding the taxi if one doesn't hire a car for the whole way.

The usual -- and most used -- alternative is, of course, to take a train from Sanchi or from nearby Vidisha or from back at Bhopal to Jhansi -- 5+ hours -- then to take a bus from Jhansi to Khajuraho -- about 5 hours.

By taxi or car I am guessing that it would be about 400 km by either the back-road path or the more usual path -- and cost about Rs. 3,500. Obviously, by the local buses that ply the back-road path the cost would be a lot less.

Can anyone comment with some degree of authority about this path? -- or such "back-road" travel in general in that part of India?

Sagar does have an east-west railway connection and does have an old, established university, but I do not have any information about there being a hotel of any kind in Sagar.

I would also like to hear about the landscape along the way -- what there would be to see while traveling the back-road path from Sanchi to Khajuraho.

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I've seen a number of references here and there to a back-road path from Sanchi to Khajuraho via Raisen and Sagar. ... Can anyone comment with some degree of authority about this path? -- or such "back-road" travel in general in that part of India? ... I would also like to hear about the landscape along the way -- what there would be to see while traveling the back-road path from Sanchi to Khajuraho.

'Still hoping for some insight about bus/taxi travel in the part of the country. Thank you.

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I can't comment on this particular raod but can say that in general, even some of the bigger NH roads in Madhya Pradesh are in an awful state. From Khajuraho to Chitrakoot took 6 hours by taxi, a distance of a little over 110 KMs,

The road from Satna to Bandavgarh, Satna to Khajuraho were just as bad and the roads around Mandu and Maheshwar in similar disrepair. Think long and hard about back roads in Madhya Pradesh!! Hopefully someone can tell you exactly what the state of this particular road in in at present!

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Jhansi to Khajuraho is approximately 175 km. It took me 3 and half hour. This road was good smoe two years ago. On the way you can visit Orcha also. Other roads in MP near Panna, Jabalpur are not that good. Hopefully in near future the road condition will improve as the central govt. has taken lot of initiative to improve road condition in India.

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Log Six: Sanchi – [Gyaraspur-] Khajuraho
[url="http://www.rediff.com/travel/2000/jul/day6.htm"]http://www.rediff.com/travel/2000/jul/day6.htm[/url]

Route
Sanchi - Sagar: SH 18 (82kms)
Sagar - Chattarpur: SH 15 (145kms)
Chattarpur - Khajuraho: SH 6 (47kms)


After seeing the stupas at Sanchi, we headed out towards Khajuraho. We wanted to make it all the way in one day, so we knew we had a long day ahead of us. Gyaraspur is a village along the way with five temples.

We stopped off to see the tenth century Maladevi mandir , which was visible in its mountainside setting from the 'highway' and looked striking.

At first glance the temple looks like a pile of stones piled on top of each other, very artistically of course. On a closer examination one discovers in disbelief that the temple is a pile of stones!

The temple was struck by lightning and split through the centre. The archaeological department has since then pieced the temple together... but this is temporary. They intend to restore the building, taking it apart completely right down to the foundation.

An attendant from the Archaeological Society of India opened the door and walked us around. You can inquire for the gatekeeper at the village, below before heading up to the temple. The temple was once a Hindu temple but was later converted for use by the Jains. The sanctum sanctorum contains a Jain statue.

Some of the carvings on the outer walls are quite intricate. From the mandir (and the highway) we also saw the ruins of a fort.

The village also has a couple of other ruins of temples and stupas, which we didn't have time to check out. For someone driving from Sanchi to Khajuraho, Gyaraspur is a no-brainer as a short stopover.

Chattarpur pretty much just served us as the crossroads between Khajuraho (on the way from Bhopal) and Orchha (on the way back west). The town deserves little mention, though we did pass two or three interesting looking buildings that might be worth a peek.

But for hungry travellers passing through -- who haven't been able to lay their hands on a good meal for quite a while -- the food at Hotel Jatashankar Palace [Chattarpur] was absolutely amazing. Somebody on the roadside directed us to the hotel and when we walked in, the dining room looked unused in weeks. But the food was something to write home about. Although we didn't stay there, the rooms seemed quite reasonable, starting at Rs 400 for an AC single or Rs 500 for a double.

[b]Road conditions
The road in general was very bad. Single lane and full of potholes. We must have averaged about 30 km per hour, which is why it took is pretty much the entire day to reach Khajuraho. The road from Sanchi to Sagar was worse than any dirt road I have driven on. From Sagar it got a little better (but there was more traffic).[/b]

The countryside was quite pretty, especially the further north we got, with little villages and farmlands on every side. But the going was still quite slow, especially given the number of cattle that just seemed waiting for a car to pass in order to dart across the road. Once we hit Chattarpur, we turned onto a well-laid pucca road. Evidently the Madhya Pradesh government has at least built a decent road for visitors to Khajuraho.

As soon as you turn off onto the road to Khajuraho, you know it leads to something important. The drive was so smooth -- freshly laid roads and little or no traffic. Getting out of Chattarpur on to the road to Khajuraho proved a little difficult. The signs have been covered up with local advertisements and can be easily missed. However, everyone in Chattarpur seems to know the road to Khajuraho so don't hesitate to pull over and ask your way out.

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