Orchha – A Serene quite place is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh bordering Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
Orccha to me always sounded like a small less prominent destination used more commonly as a stopover for lunch while driving to Khajuraho after getting down from train in Jhansi. However on the insistence of my colleagues we all agreed to spend a weekend at this place.
We boarded Bhopal Shatabdi (supposedly the fastest train in the country) from New Delhi. On the way we came across many tourist places such as Agra and Gwalior. Gwalior has a majestic fort which is visible from the train. Gwalior also has some other monuments which are quite interesting but as our destination was Jhansi, we unwillingly remain seated in the train. It took another one and a half hour When we were about to reach Jhansi, we saw some beautiful white monuments. When enquired about it from fellow travelers we were told that these are Jain shrines known as Sonagiri. We got little curious about these temples as they looked stunningly beautiful. We immediately hooked to our smart phones to know more about these temples. There we got to know that there are appx 77 temples that dates back to 9th or 10th century. It is an important pilgrimage center for Jains.
Our train passed through a small station Datia which struck a chord in my brain. When stressed over this name, I recalled that this place was once visited by my Grandmother to visit the temple of Mother Goddess which is quite famous.
Soon we arrived Jhansi which is the nearest railhead to Orchha. Our driver was waiting for us the station. Jhansi is known for Rani Laxmi Bai, the renowned freedom fighter who laid her life in a fierce battle against British for the freedom of India from their clutches.
Jhansi is like any other B town in India where the metropolitan culture is slowly creeping in. Like other B towns in India the traffic there was haphazard. We were thinking that it will take atleast 01 hour to reach Orchha but we got happy when we were told by our guide that it won’t take more than 30 minutes. We got a glimpse of how Orchha is going to be while on the way as we could see greenery on either sides of the road.
Soon we arrived our destination Orchha. It was like an Oasis. We never imagined such a beautiful place in the city like Jhansi which falls in Bundelkhand region. This region is constantly under the drought but still it was green beyond imagination. It is located on the river of Betwa and the river bed is unexpectedly clean.
Upon arrival we checked in at the hotel and even though we were tired we could not resist going out for sightseeing. First we decided to visit the Fort which has connection with the Mughal ruler Jehangir. Most of the buildings are dated back to Jahangir era. Initially we thought that it won’t take us long to visit the fort but it was so interesting that we ended up spending atleast 2½ Hrs. By the time we were out of the fort we all were dead hungry and we were unable to move further. On the recommendation of our guide we decided to have lunch at The Amar Mahal hotel. It was really nice and we soon got indulged in sumptuous lunch. By the time we finished we already ate more than our capacities. Unable to walk further we decided to head to our hotel for a small nap and change clothes.
Everybody right from our driver to the hotel receptionist recommended us to view sound & light show. My personal experience with sound and light show was not very pleasant and so I was no mood but somehow everybody convinced us. In the evening we went for sound & light show and to our surprise, everyone who convinced us was right. It was really very nice and lively. As we had just one night in Orchha and we also had to witnessed Arti Ceremony at Raja Ram temple we had to slip out of sound & light show midway. We then headed to Raja Ram Temple to witness Arti Ceremony to satisfy our divine craves. It was indeed divine. We then decided to come back to the temple next day morning as during Arti it was not possible to have “darshan” of Lord Ram without spending couple of hours. We then moved out of the temple. Some of us were hungry and some still were in the dreams of afternoon lunch. Those who were hungry decided to try local food. We had quick bites and returned back to our hotel as we were extremely tired by that time and wanted to slip into our beds without any further delay.
Next day we started our day early and after a filling breakfast went to Raja Ram Temple. We spent some time there and worshipped Lord Rama. After that we visited the famous Chaatris or cenotaphs. Post that we visited Chaturbhuj temple. We were told by our guide not to miss Lakshami temple. When we reached the temple we were taken aback by the fact that there was no deity. Guide told us that it was stolen twice and so its without a deity. It was extremely beautiful with fresco paintings dated back to 500 years. We were saddened to see the pathetic state of affairs of the beautiful temple. We were little relieved that there was restoration work going back.
We then went back to our hotel where after staying couple of hours we headed to Jhansi to board the train for Delhi.
With this a memorable trip came to an end. It was a short trip but has left a deep impact on our minds.
Not even a drop of the ocean called as Incredible India