Below is the map depicting our Madhya Pradesh trip, mostly we followed this trail exactly, spending 2 nights at each Major stop. Total 6 days trip.
( Gwalior – Day 1 & 2 detail post here)
2:00 p.m. Reached Gwalior by train / by flight via Mumbai
Checked in to Neemrana Deo Bagh [Rs.5000/- per night for double room, complimentary breakfast, Free WiFi everywhere in campus – booked via Booking.com]
3:30 – 7:00 p.m. Hired auto to roam around town, places covered were –
Jai Vilas Palace museum, Tansen Tomb, Sun Temple, Moti Mahal, Chowpaty, Bahadura Sweets at Naya Bazaar and several other landmarks of significance in Gwalior. Sampled chaats and savouries (tip: don’t try it at chowpaty, it is better in rest of town market stalls)
8:00 p.m. Dinner at hotel
Breakfast at hotel. Hired taxi with historian/guide with help of INTACH Gwalior
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Gwalior Fort tour (entry Rs.15/-), Fort backyard palaces tour (Entry Rs.25/-)
11:00 a.m.Packed Poha for lunch, headed to Morena to see Mitawali | Padhawali | Bateshwar (40 kms/1 hour drive)
On way detour to Shani Dev mandir
Recommend to cover Mitawali first, as it has a slight trek to top, then head to Padhawali & later retire and relax at Bateswar temple complex. We had the packed lunch in the taxi here itself.
4:00 p.m. reached Gwalior
Evening spent at hotel, exploring ruins inside hotel campus
(Orachha – Day 3&4 detail post here)
Breakfast at hotel, pack lunch for Poha+Jalebi from roadside vendor
3:00 p.m. headed to Jhansi in hired taxi (4-5 hour drive) Rs.3500/- for drop only
5:00 p.m. Requested taxi to stop at Datia Palace a bit before Chhatarpur (60 kms before Jhansi)
6:30 p.m. reached Jhansi, hired Auto to reach Orachha (25 kms/1 hour ride) Rs. 300/- for the ride
8:00 p.m. Checked into Orachha Resort tent stay [Rs. 2500/- per night for double bed luxury tent, complimentary breakfast, WiFi only in Reception lobby – booked via Airbnb]
Dinner at resort.
9 a.m. Breakfast at resort
Walk to Orachha Palace/Fort (entry Rs.10/- valid for entire Oraccha), hired the guide who often hang around the entrance. There is fixed Guide fees as displayed on boards, Rs.470/- for small group.
9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Covered Jahangir Palace (Orachha Fort) & Chaturbhuj temple on foot.
11:00 – 12:00 Due to heat and high temperature we hired a auto (Rs.100/-)to reach Laxmi temple and the Cenotaphs complex
1:00 p.m. lunch at a restaurant on the fort entrance
went back to resort, sun was too hot to stay out.
5:00 p.m. went back to market area to catch some hot tea and samosa.
5:30 p.m. walked to the other side of Betwa River, to catch a cool spot and dip our feet in. With lot of difficulty and search found a clean spot, stayed there till 6:30, until a family barged in and their little one took a piss in the water close to us 😦
7:30 p.m. walked to Raja Ram Temple to witness the daily Aarti (can be missed, nothing spectacular, unless you want to see the ancient Ram idol, long lines and waiting time of about 30 mins)
Dinner at the market, and headed back to resort.
(Khajuraho – Day 5&6 detail post here)
Breakfast at resort
9:00 a.m. Hired taxi for Khajuraho (4-5 hrs drive) Rs.2500/- for drop only
On way, taxi driver showed us Chhatrasal Fort ruins near Chhatarpur
1:00 p.m. reached Khajuraho, check into Hotel Harmony [Rs.1500/- per night for double room, no breakfast, WiFi at Rs.100/- in lobby and rooms – booked via Booking.com]
5:30 p.m. walked to Western temple complex, it closes at 6:00 p.m. (entry Rs. 30/-)
6:30 p.m. English Sound & Light show at the Western temple complex
(English one suits foreigners more, sounds quite unauthentic even with voice over by Amitabh Bacchan himself, Hindi show is better, at 7:30 p.m. Entry Rs. 200/- for Indians)
7:30 p.m. Dinner at Raja Cafe beside the complex.
Original plan was to head for Panna National Park in the 6 a.m. safari, but unfortunately our hotel did not get us the tickets in time. The morning safari is always better and longer than the 3 p.m. one, but we had to take the afternoon one.
9:00 a.m. we had breakfast at Raja Cafe
10:00 a.m. bought another ticket to western group of temples, as we hadn’t checked them out well last evening in hurry.
11:00 a.m. Hired taxi to visit southern and eastern temples (Rs. 1500/- to cover all temples at Khajuraho and get dropped and picked at Panna NP for safari)
1:30 p.m. headed to drive to Panna National Park to buy 3 pm safari tickets. (this is a huge waste of time, better make sure your hotel books a ticket online for you a day before – we missed it) This is a huge con being run by M.P. Forest Department, the online tickets can be booked a day before only before 5 p.m (basically you can’t find this info online and can’t be booked without an agent). Every ticket costs Rs.1500/- + Guide fees another Rs.400/- + Safari jeep which is mandatory costs Rs. 2500/- (jeep cost is not mentioned officially anywhere) >> all of this amount can easily be split among 4 people, as the jeep has seats for 4. BUT no one will let you do that, they send separate jeeps for each group out there.
3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Safari ride around Madla & Nekatrana region in Panna NP.
7:00 p.m. Back to Khajuraho, freshened up at hotel and headed for dinner at Raja Cafe.
Flight back to Bangalore from Khajuraho (via Delhi/Mumbai)
7:00 a.m. I took taxi back to Jhansi from Khajuraho to catch a train from Jhansi.
On way checked out Baruasagar Fort & Chhatrasal Fort ruins in Chhatarpur.
11:00 a.m. at Jhansi railway station to head back.
Overall budget of the trip was on higher side, as there are limited means of public transport, and lot of time constraints. Did not face any safety issues traveling solo or as group of women, taxi guys and hotel staff were friendly throughout.
You can read about details of this trip for Gwalior, Oraccha & Khajuraho.