Inbound Travel

Bad roads cost Khajuraho foreign visitors

BHOPAL: Khajuraho, famous the world over for its erotic sculptures, is losing its charm, thanks to the bumpy ride to the temple town that is about 369 km from Bhopal. In the last four years, the number of tourists has plummeted by a shocking 32%.

While demonetisation did have some impact in the past couple of months — peak season — the real problem lies with connectivity, reports The Times of India.

The downhill trend became evident in 2012 but the government did nothing even as roads crumbled and the bad word about bone-jarring rides spread. Backpackers — the backbone of Khajuraho tourism — disappeared because they travel on a shoestring budget, severely limiting their travel options to the UNESCO world heritage site.

There is only one train, Sampark Kranti Express, connecting with Delhi and there is none from Kolkata, Mumbai or Ahmedabad, say travel agents. Few would be willing to take the back-breaking road trips from Delhi (660km), Agra (440km) Indore (560km) or even Gwalior (300km).

Balbeer Gautam, president of the guides association in Khajuraho, said, “All the roads leading to Khajuraho are in very poor condition for many years. Flights are very costly. A 45-minute flight from Varanasi to Khajuraho costs anywhere between Rs 18,000 and Rs 36,000.”

There is no direct flight from Delhi or Mumbai, the two most important arrival points for foreigners.

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