A step too far off the beaten track?
Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
152Trip End Dec 05, 2011
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No drama this time with people scrabbling to get onto the train, so we headed off to our destination in the van, via tiny winding single track roads through beautiful forrested countryside and past numerous cows and water buffalo on the road. We finally got near to Bainsrorgarh and started seeing tatty signs pointing the way as we wound our way down tiny streets and around the tight corners of a typically run down Indian hill top village.
We have tried to get off the beaten track as well as seeing the main sights in India. The place we were headed to was not recommended by our agents, and was placed in the itinerary at our (Brad's) insistence. With hearts slightly in our mouths we drove through the battered front gate of the fort - we had walked on to a set from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! - complete with a local colony of fruit bats and swallows circling the building at dusk. The online blurb had said fully restored, what we found was completely decrepit at best and falling down everywhere else.
What a contrast from the plush hotel in Agra. We immediately wondered how the children would cope. It was a ruined old fort that that just happened to have a couple of rooms to stay in. The people that met us hardy spoke and certainly did not explain anything and so we were left to piece together how the place would work, when we would have dinner, what we would do while we stayed there. Random people kept wandering around, but no-one said who they were or introduced us. All very strange. Maybe more of the real India than we and especially the kids could cope with so early on?!
The rooms were actually quite nice, spacious and full of old antiques dating back to when the fort was constructed in the 1700s, and the last time it had seen a paint brush. There was a great terrace overlooking the river and village…..but with walls about up to Benjamin’s knees so we were terrified about the children plummeting to their deaths in the river down below.
Manjeet came to the rescue and got out the cricket bats he had bought for the children, and so we all played cricket before heading into dinner. To their credit the kids did well, eating a set meal of little spiced chicken and rice.
The warm bright morning and a good sleep on everyone’s part brought a very different perspective. While still somewhat ruined, the place has real charm and is in the most beautiful location. We had breakfast on the terrace watching Indian crocodiles (Garhails) hunt in the river and only just missed a large cobra sunning itself on the lawn where we were playing cricket the afternoon before.
We had a great day being rowed on the river – there are no motor powered boats allowed on the river – watching life unfold in the village and the fields around and playing cricket on the lawn.
All in all its been a great place and well off the beaten track, full of untouched rural beauty and the simple things in Indian life – but it might be a while before we recommend this place to another family with kids.