This short road trip in Madhya Pradesh is a great option if you are not keen on catching on a flight from Delhi and have 4-6 days to spare. It is ideal for lovers of history, culture, and wildlife. You will see temples, historical monuments, and waterfalls on your road trip in Madhya Pradesh – it really helps to have a car to explore the area, so we would suggest renting one if you are covering these places by flying down to Khajuraho Airport.
Day 1: Drive from Delhi NCR to Orchha
Day 2: Explore Orccha and drive to Khajuraho
Day 3: Explore Khajuraho and surroundings
Day 4: Drive from Khajuraho to Delhi NCR
*If you have 2 extra days, you can also add a pitstop at Panna National Park. This is a great place to spot tigers
Best time to go
Winter months – November to February
Monsoon – August end – October. Do beware that it is quite humid at the time but there is greenery everywhere and the waterfalls are lush and full of water
Expect to spend INR 10,000 on fuel if you are driving from Delhi NCR, INR 1500 (or thereabouts) on toll fees, INR 5000 on meals and activities, and approximately INR 10000 on accommodation (of course this is dependent on the kind of accommodation you choose).
So this 4 day road trip should cost INR 26,500. If you choose to extend it and visit Panna National Park, add another INR 10000 for naturalist guides, entry fee, safari etc.
Day by day breakdown for a road trip to Madhya Pradesh with details & tips
Day 1: Drive from Delhi to Orccha
Start early from Delhi-NCR and drive to Orchha. The drive is a smooth one and highways are in decent shape. The drive to Orccha will take around 8 hours
Quick tip – top up your fuel tank before entering MP as Petrol is considerably more expensive (over INR 12-15/litre more than neighbouring states, correct as of September 2021)
Day 2: Exploring Orchha
Check into your hotel in Orccha. We had a really bad experience staying at Orccha Palace Resort, so please don’t book that hotel! It is touted as a luxury hotel and Rooms are spacious but so dated. Mirrors were stained, pillows were limp, the phone was not working and the list goes on! Moreover it is a few kilometres away from the centre of Orccha
Unfortunately there isn’t too much choice in the area but we would suggest booking something like Amar Mahal or Madhya Pradesh Tourism’s Betwa Retreat (nothing fancy, but right next to most of the attractions) by the river so that you are at walking distance from all the monuments and can easily explore them on foot
Orccha is a small place, with most historical attractions concentrated at the centre. So you can easily explore it in 1.5 days. Be careful of the monkeys, langurs, and cow dung when you are walking around. Here are some things we suggest doing when you visit Orccha on this road trip to Madhya Pradesh:
- You will be tired from driving. On the first evening, watch sunset by the Betwa River taking in the view of the Chattris (cenotaphs) followed by dinner
- On Day 2, explore the Chattris (cenotaphs) from inside for gorgeous examples of Bundeli architecture. They open at 8 am (you can try and go there earlier around sunrise and check if the guard lets you in). Entry tickets for these attractions are to be bought from the Orchha Fort complex
- If you enjoy history, you should visit Orccha Fort Palace & Jahangir Fort Palace – the historic compounds tell of times gone by
- If you’re a foodie, try out local Bundelkhandi foods such Dal Bafla, Matar Ki Kachori, and tikra (thick rotis) – they are many small restaurants and vendors that sell these things
- Visit Chaturbhuj Temple – the historic building is quite dilapidated and not in the best of shapes. But if you are a photography buff, make sure you go to the top of the temple via a staircase in the main compound – barely anyone goes there but it’s perfect for a birds eye view of the area
- If you have some extra time in Orccha take a short trip to Datia, approximately one hour drive from Orccha to see Beer Singh Palace, on top of a rocky mound. Make sure you climb seven storeys to get a birds eye view of the surroundings. Datia is also home to many beautiful temples and is often known as ‘small Vrindavan’. You can also visit Sonagiri’s Marble Temples, 15 kilometres away from Datia
Day 2 evening: Drive to Khajurao
Since you have spent a tiring day exploring Orccha, you might want to rest in the evening. In that case you can spend this night in Orccha.
But if you are with a driver or not feeling too tired, you can also drive down to Khajurao during the evening on day 2 itself. The drive takes around 3 hours and roads are mostly smooth, with a few rough stretches
Check into your hotel. Khajuraho has plenty of options including Raddison and Ramada. For a budget-friendly option check out Hotel Isabel Palace – it is close to the temples and boasts of clean rooms and good service
Day 3: Exploring Khajuraho and surroundings
If you have half a day to explore the temples of Khajuraho, we suggest visiting the Western Complex. It has some of the most beautiful & well preserved temples in Khajuraho.
Lakshmana Temple is incredibly well-preserved and usually the first stop for most visitors in the area and Kandariya Mahadev Temple, the largest of temples in Khajuraho is a must visit.
Some of the temples that stand out are:
- Vishvanatha Temple
- Parshvanatha Temple
- Chitragupta Temple
- Varaha Shrine
If you love going offbeat, reserve an evening in Khajurao for exploring Raneh falls, often known as the Grand Canyon of Madhya Pradesh. There is a small crater formed in the centre of the canyons, accessible via a Nature Trail, which must not be missed. Entry is INR 600 per car up to 6 people and a fee of INR 100 needs to be paid for a compulsory guide. It is open from sunrise to sunset each day except Wednesdays
Dhubela Museum or Mastani Mahal, around an hours drive away from Khajuraho is also a truly scenic and offbeat spot. It was made for Mastani, who went on to marry Bajirao.
Day 4: Drive to Delhi/ Panna National Park
You can enjoy sunrise in Khajuraho and leave for Delhi. This is a long drive and takes upto 12 hours, so don’t leave too late. If you wish to stick around in Khajuraho for another day or continue onto Panna National Park & Pandav Falls (highly recommended)
That concludes our short road trip to Madhya Pradesh from Delhi. If you have longer, the state also has many other gems such as Jabalpur, Mandu, and Indore. We will surely be planning another trip to Madhya Pradesh soon 🙂
If you need more ideas of where to travel in India, do check out all our trip suggestions for India