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Twining in Jhansi, Orchcha & Khajuraho :)


Tripoto.com
Duration: 3 Days

Finally, I got the much needed break after my exams. Since my friend got over with her exam too, we decided to get away from the city as soon as possible. After cramming textbooks & studying for hours, we needed a change. So within a day we shortlisted the weekend getaways and finalised on one - Madhya Pradesh it was!


DAY 1

Jhansi

We left Delhi in the morning and reached Jhansi by 2pm. Since we only had half-a-day in Jhansi, we had just enough time to visit the Fort. So we had lunch and without much further delay, left for the fort.

Photos of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, India 1/1 by Yamini Singh

This is the place that belonged to the famous Rani Lakshmibai, who stood as a powerful symbol of resistance to the oppressive British rule. Her story has been told in ballads, novels, movies and school textbooks. As a young girl when I was growing up, she epitomised courage & valour for me. Her name instantly evokes the couplet -

बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,

खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।।

(Bundello harbolo ke muh humne suni kahaan thi, khoob ladi mardaani woh toh Jhansi waali Rani thi)

This describes how valiantly she fought the British. Sir Hugh Rose compared his fallen adversary to Joan of Arc. ‘Although she was a lady,’ Rose wrote,’she was the bravest and best military leader of the rebels. A man among the mutineers.’

The fort thus evoked a sense of awe. This was the place that left an indelible imprint in the books of history.

Jhansi fort is spread across quite an area. Built on a hillock, it offers panoramic views of the city.

Photos of  1/3 by Yamini Singh
Photos of  2/3 by Yamini Singh
Photos of  3/3 by Yamini Singh
DAY 2

Orchcha

The next day we left for Orchcha. Literally, the hidden beauty. It was the capital of the Bundella kingdom during the medieval period and boasts of gems of Bundellas architecture hidden among the jungles of Central India.

It's actually a non descript village which comes across as quite unimpressive as you arrive. But as you enter into the Fort, one is transported away from the quaint village to a royal palace that must've been a tribute to the valour & fame of Bundellas.

Photos of Orchha State, Madhya Pradesh, India 1/1 by Yamini Singh

The Fort was huge & beautiful. It had lovely architecture encompassing citadel, crenellations, chhatris & temples. It was composed of stone work and some of the stucco work adorning the walls of turquoise & jade added a hint of vibrance of blue & green to the otherwise yellowish walls.

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh

We walked around the fort leisurely, admiring it's beauty, trying to imagine it's glory in its heyday. We checked out the other ruins surrounding it, smaller palaces, gateways etc.

All this while, the river had been temptingly inviting us so we decided to give it a visit. It was surprisingly very clean. The setting sun made the water glisten and provided a picturesque view. There was a narrow bridge across which we carefully traversed keeping the vehicles in mind. We climbed the rocks on the sides to admire the beauty of the place. But unfortunately the fowl smell there made us end our sojourn on the river quickly.

We then visited the beautiful cenotaphs constructed nearby in memory of bygone kings. They were quite pretty especially during the dusk, about half a dozen of them sprinkled away from the main fort & village embedded in a more tranquil setting.

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh

We returned to the fort for the light & sound show. The fort was beautifully lit during the show & traced its history during the medieval times. It was quite informative and put the place and its importance in context.

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh
DAY 3

Khajuraho

The third day was the show-stopper. If I had to describe Khajuraho in one word, it would be - Breathtaking. The temple architecture was nothing less than awe-inspiring. It breathed of the aura of grandeur. The statues with their intricate carvings seemed to dance & talk of the bygone era of the Chandellas.

Photos of Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India 1/2 by Yamini Singh
Photos of Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India 2/2 by Yamini Singh

Voluptuous women & sexual depictions are the magnets that attract thousands of tourists every year to this World Heritage site.

It is worth noting that sex is depicted in only about 10% of the depictions, still it probably gets 90% of the attention, or maybe even 100%!

Even though Khajuraho is acclaimed for its erotic sculptures, it is much more than kamasutra (yes, it is)! Most of the sculptures and carvings represent the socio-economic life during the heydays of that era, portaying the normal lives of people the day-to-day chores alongwith battle scenes.

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh

One of the stories that goes around is that, in those days the population of the empire was declining. Hence erotica was depicted to educate the illiterate public on procreation, encouraging them to reproduce & revive the strength of the kingdom instead of it getting obliterated into oblivion.

The carvings on the outer temple contain sexual sculptures, depicting the materialistic world that keeps us enamored & engaged. It is believed by some that only those who are able to go beyond this world, enter the spiritual world by stepping inside the temple invoking the blessings of the deity.

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh

Khajuraho is also an eye-opener into the open-ness of the society during the medieval times. Their liberal thinking allowed them to talk, discuss & engage in conversations, even if via artistic depictions, so freely so as to include private issues like sex in an unabashed manner. This is probably because they viewed sex as a part of their normal lives and not as a topic to be hastily shoved under the carpet.

So, it is very much there. Everyone indulges in it. But no one dares to talk about it. Atleast openly in the public. Instead of having progressed, the so called 'modern society' seems to have regressed; the term sex eliciting wide gaping stares & gasps, followed by a shhh.. rather than evoking a candid conversation. Ironic, is it?

After having spent 3 hours in the temple complex which was still not enough, we gave in to our rumbling stomachs. Having read reviews of Raja's Cafe in the Lonely Planet, we headed towards it. Also because it seemed to offer a lovely view of the temples via its terrace view. We ordered chicken & waffles and soaked in the place while hunger our stomachs.

We could've easily spent 1-2 hours more ambling in the temple complex happily but we had to head back to Jhansi to catch our train. I have to admit I haven't seen temples so richly carved anywhere across India. It was a delight indeed, worth a visit. No wonder, Khajuraho is probably the only nagar panchayat across India to have an international airport of its own! It definitely deserves it :)

Photos of  1/1 by Yamini Singh
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