A magical place

Trip Start Jul 03, 2010
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , Madhya Pradesh,
Monday, September 6, 2010

We headed to Orcha today by car but not before our friends came and said good-bye to us!

Our drive to Orcha was very nice, again the scenery is beautiful and you are always passing through a small village or town or there is something happening on the side of the road so you don't have time to get bored. Plus the continuous dodging of animals, people and potholes and overtaking in situations we wouldn’t even dream of but that’s India and at no time do you feel unsafe, which is strange cause if any of you did it back home Id be very concerned…..

We stopped half way at a place called Alipuri and had lunch at the palace which has been converted into a hotel. This looked like a very interesting place and Id like to come back one day (yes Im already planning my next trip to India).

We arrived in Orcha early afternoon, this place is just magical. Our hotel has fantastic views of both the temple and the palace as well as the amazing country side. Orcha is very small and only has about 6000 people living here but that only adds to the atmosphere. We headed out this afternoon with our guide and visited the palace, Jehangir Mahal. This palace was built in the 17th century for the King at the time and amazingly he only spent 1 night in the palace, the remainder of the time it was empty! The palace is massive and very impressive, the architecture is beautiful and it has great views from the top levels. From here we walked to the Raj Mahal palace which was built in the 16th Century, this palace is not has attractive from the outside but its attraction is the beautiful murals painted on the walls and ceilings of the King and Queens rooms. That’s right, Queens. The King lived here with his six wives!

We continued to walk (as everything is so close) and wandered through the small main town area and onto the Ram Raja Temple, once a palace this building has been turned into a temple. The building is striking and adding to its architectural design is its pale orange and white colourings. From there we walked to the Chaturbhurj Temple. We climbed to the roof of this temple and were awed by the amazing views, however this was not easy… back in the day stairs in the temples and palaces were built very steep and with high steps for defence purposes. To get to the top of the temple we had to climb three staircases from the main level of the temple. I was almost shoulder to brick on both sides of the staircase and even my long legs had trouble stepping up if that indicates how high these steps were. They stairwell winds its way up to the next level and in the stairwell there is no light so we had to use torches and mobile phones to light the way. The humidity increases about 100% and by the time we made it to the top we may as well have stood under a shower we were so sweaty but it was well worth it!  I can see how it would have worked well for defence, no one is moving up and down those stairs at a fast pace.

On the way back down we or should I say Sam was not quite as successful, adding to everything I have mentioned above, on the stairwells every now and then the ceiling dips lower so you have to duck, we have been very good with watching out step and heads everywhere but a momentary lapse and Sam walked straight into it splitting her forehead open… thankfully it was only a small split and it seems to be healing quite well already. The doors of the temples are so small, we feel like we are Alice in Wonderland.

Our last stop of the day was the Cenotaphs (memorial buildings). This collection of beautiful open aired buildings were built in memorial of rulers of Orcha, they had no other purpose and are all sitting on the banks of the river.

In the evening we wandered into town and had a lovely dinner on the rooftop of a restaurant, strolled through town and then home to bed, onto Agra tomorrow by train and its an early start.
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