A journey to be remembered – Khajurahho-Orchha-Jhansi-Agra India

Orchha

Orchha (Photo credit: Mathew Knott)

English: Jahangir Mahal and Raja Mahal, Orchha...

English: Jahangir Mahal and Raja Mahal, Orchha, from Chaturbhuj Temple, Madhya Pradesh, India. Français : Palais Jahangir et palais du roi (Raja Mahal), Orchha, depuis le temple Chaturbhuj, Madhya Pradesh, Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Agra Fort , Anna & Mel

Agra Fort , Anna & Mel (Photo credit: PradaDearest)

Taj Mahal wall close-up

Taj Mahal wall close-up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Deutsch: Taj Mahal im ...

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Deutsch: Taj Mahal im indischen Agra. Español: Vista del Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Français : Le Taj Mahal, à Âgrâ, en Inde. Русский: Мавзолей Тадж-Махал, Агра, Индия. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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We arrived by train in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal at 1030 PM, two hours late and in thick fog. It had been a very mixed day.

We  had left our hotel in Khajuraho at 9.00 AM and drove to Orchha a journey of 175 kilometers which took three and a half hours, due to the poor quality roads. We spent a half a day sightseeing in Orchha, starting with the Raja Mahal (or the King’s Palace), which is famous for its  cenotaphs and the exquisite murals on the interiors. We learned that most people in Orchha were Brahmans (from the caste of priests). As we wandered around the town and were pestered by hawkers, our guide referred to these  people as the “untouchables” (lowest caste) – this once again reminded us that the caste system in India was still very strong, despite being made illegal in the 1948 Constitution, following Indian independence.

After the sightseeing, we went from Orchha to Jhansi railway station to board the train to Agra. We were early and the train was late, so we chose to sit in the car, outside the railway station for a bit. We sat and observed the fact that this street was also the local lavatory, after watching dozens of men relieving themselves in the street. We decided that had to be a more pleasant place to wait for our train. Even though train stations everywhere seem to be in seedy neighborhoods,  Jhansi seemed  in a special class. Eventually, we went with our guide to the platform and a porter carried our heavy case on his head. We stood waiting on the platform, when to our horror a woman squatted next to where  Marilyn stood, and yes, you can guess the rest! The train was delayed an hour, so we just waited patiently on the platform – the joys of travel!  For entertainment, we observed dozens of large rats, dogs and cows scrambling over the sleepers.

The train trip to Agra was first class and was fairly comfortable and uneventful but we were delayed a further hour en route because of the fog.

We used the train journey to catch up on Agra and the history of the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the modern world. We had a full day in Agra before we were visiting the Taj Mahal, so we hoped that the fog would lift.

Once we had unpacked, around midnight we ordered a snack on room service in our hotel. We had chosen not to sample the food on the train courtesy of Indian Railways! We were now looking forward to visiting some beautiful sights and tried to put the earlier images into a closed book!

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Reflections on Ranthambore National Park Rajasthan India « Discover the Orient

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