Khajuraho is known for its temples filled with erotic sculptures. And once you are done exploring the group of temples at Khajuraho, you can spend the day a little away from the city at Raneh waterfalls. Depending on the season you are in, Raneh falls could be roaring waterfalls or you get to see what is famously known as the Grand Canyon of India. Well, Gandikota in Southern India is also known so. I have not been to Gandikota to compare the two but I can promise the beautiful gorge that the Ken River passes through is a sight to see.
Raneh falls is about 20km away from Khajuraho en route Panna National Park. It takes about only half a day to visit the falls. So you can either make a stop here on the way to Panna or do like a half day trip from Khajuraho. I did the later. Hired an auto guy and he agreed for a to and fro trip to Raneh falls from Khajuraho. Early morning I and my friend set out to visit the falls. So along with the Raneh falls there are a couple of things you can do. The waterfall is within the forest range of Panna. And so if you go early, you can opt for nature walks, bird watching, visit Ken Gharial sanctuary and some more. You can get a ticket for all that or just to watch the Raneh falls area. We skipped nature walk and other stuff as we had a train to catch in some time. There are also nature guides for you to hire if you wish to.
The auto reached almost close to the gate and from there, there are neatly laid walkways. We went on December winter, there was no waterfall, just water stagnated in crevices created by the Ken river on the rocks. But the highlight here is the rocks itself and not the waterfalls. The rocks were reflecting the light so much that it was all bright and shining. The first set of rocks were a contrast of black and pink. It is surprising to see rocks of the same area in different colors. Greenish water from the Ken river had filled up a hole and it must be one of the waterfalls as the flowing water had left a trail on the rock.
The formation of rock in Raneh falls is what intriguing. There are red, pink, black, brown all different shades of smooth and structured rocks. Do you remember Geography and about Deccan plateau? :) Once upon a time Deccan plateau was prone to the maximum volcanic eruptions. And most of these areas are covered with volcanic basalts. Basalts are the sudden cooling down of the lava eruptions and giving it unique shapes, sometimes columnar, sometimes cylindrical, and so on. Even Ajanta Ellora caves are part of the Deccan Trap too, you can see such rock formations. The other rock also found at Raneh falls is the Granite. Granite is usually found deep down on earth as opposed to basalt which forms over the lava on the surface of the earth. Granite looks more like crystal and Basalt more like smoother edges. And it is here in Raneh falls you get to see both the different rock formations of the Deccan Trap.
The pathways are neatly laid and it leads to viewpoints from where you can stand and take a good look at the gorge. The canyon is about 30 meters in depth and runs for 5 km. You don't have to walk for the entire 5km though. It is said that during monsoon the water force is too much that it flows through these walkways and so the place remains closed. I feel more than the waterfalls, the rock pattern is what you need to see and that is best done when it is not a monsoon.
Also read. Erotic sculptures of Khajuraho - Decoding The Sculptures Of Khajuraho
Further down the river is the Ken Gharial Sanctuary. At the confluence of river Ken and Kudra is the conservation center for Gharial. The gharial is more like an alligator but an even narrower snout. At this place, you can do boating or just sit around and watch Gharial. We were told that either early morning or in the evening, you may get to see them basking on the volcanic rocks. Otherwise, they are comfortable to remain in the deep cool waters of the river. My good friend Svetlana from Maverickbird has few pictures of Raneh Falls and Ken Gharial sanctuary here. If you have some more time you can also do Pandav falls which is almost inside the Panna National Park.
Stay at Khajuraho and do trip to Raneh falls and Ken Gharial Sanctuary. Book your stay at Khajuraho here - Accommodation at Khajuraho
Here is a map to figure your way to Ranch Falls: