Orcha palaces and temples

Trip Start Feb 07, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, March 25, 2007

  Onwards from Jalgaon on a nasty train departing at 2am... We don't arrive at our next destination till 12 hours later. From the Jhansi train station we take a rather hairy autorickshaw ride to a little village out in the middle of nowhere called Orcha. It's an amazing place - a series of palaces and temples, many scattered and abandoned around the town. We score a couple of amazing tents, which are really very luxurious. The hotel is like a haven in the dry and barren landscape and has a lusciously green garden. You can even sit out on the lawn and have lunch served by bow tied waiters! We watch the sun setting behind the temples from the little bridge across the Betwa river (now with little water as we're here well into dry season). There's loads of sadhus (holy men) meditating on the rocks. We then go and have a look at the deserted  cenotaphs and discover that the huge birds on top of their domes are enormous vultures. That night we head up to the fort as there's a festival on. We listen to traditional music and watch a dance depicting some of the many Hindu gods.

The next day we get up at dawn to have a walk around in the cool of the morning. Down by the river we find ourselves at 'ground zero' for village pooing amongst the rocks on the river bank. It's like a mine field and we make as prompt an escape as is possible when you're hopping over rocks AND turds! Just as we leave a pooing group arrive to do their morning ablutions and add to the carnage! Later we have great fun clambering around the dilapidated palaces. There's endless narrow hallways and stone stairways to climb and there seems to be a stunning view from every window. The place has an amazing atmosphere, but unfortunately we have to press on after only one night here and head off that afternoon on a woefully bad road to our next destination. The car we've hired has no horn, a bit of a liability in a country where they drive more by sound than sight!
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