My husband and I had made an unplanned journey to the world-famous Orchha and Khajuraho temples, via Gwalior and Bhopal in 1999.
Our purpose for traveling to Gwalior was to visit an old friend of my father-in-law and his family, who had attended our marriage a year before. From our hometown of Raipur, we boarded the Rajdhani Express at 8 p.m. and landed the next day at the Gwalior railway station in the hot afternoon of June.
Obviously, by getting down from the train’s A/C coach, I’d caught heat waves immediately. And I fell ill the same night in the house of Uncleji. The host family members looked after me continuously for two days, but I showed no relief from my feverish conditions.
Only during the fourth-day stay, did I show some signs of improvement. But on the insistence of dear Auntyji, my hubby and I stayed for a week before bidding them adieu for their generous hospitality.
Along with their children, we both also visited Gwalior Fort for sightseeing, during the last day of our stay. Apart from the fort complex, we visited the nearby Gurudwara and also saw the mesmerizing light and sound show of the fort’s history in the late evening.
Onboard the train from Gwalior to Bhopal, my hubby pacified me that we’d have a good time visiting his college friends in Bhopal. And do plenty of sightseeing in the city itself. He had graduated from Hamidia college in Bhopal.
In one hour and fifteen minutes, we reached the railway platform of Jhansi. There I saw an attractive banner of the tourist spots in Orchha and Khajuraho, not so far from Jhansi. An idea clicked on my mind.
In the banner, I had read the distance between Jhansi to those world-famous tourist attractions. It was just a thirty minutes drive to Orchha, and a four hours journey to Khajuraho by road.
I pleaded with my hubby to get down from the train with our luggage, for a night halt in Orchha. But he was a bit apprehensive about my sudden plans. So he advised me to have patience, and proceed to Bhopal first as scheduled. From Jhansi, the train was about to take 4 hours and just a few minutes more.
Upon reaching Bhopal, we both got down first. Now even he was getting excited about going to an exotic destination of Khajuraho. So, in the railway station itself, he made calls to his friends. Luckily, one of his friends booked a room for us at the M.P Tourism Board’s resorts in both Orchha and Khajuraho.
Brimming with enthusiasm, my hubby and I hopped on the next train going back towards Jhansi, where we arrived late in the evening. From there, we took a taxi to the resort in Orchha, where our room was reserved.
(At M.P Tourism Resort in Orchha)
(Sitting outside the Laxminarayan temple, Orchha)
The next morning, we got ready for the early morning aarti at the Laxminarayan temple of Orchha. After attending the aarti, we came out of the beautiful temple to pose for a few snaps. There are many charming places of interest in Orchha.
Thereafter, our taxi driver took us to the Jehangir Mahal. Its Mughal architecture is marvelous from the outside too, so we clicked on several pics here. It has been converted into a hotel, so there’s no entry inside for the general public.
(Me, admiring the exterior of the Jehangir Mahal, it’s the same site, like that of the header/title pic, Orchha)
After having a heavy breakfast at the resort, we checked out. And took a taxi to our dream destination Khajuraho, a little more than a 3 hours journey by road from Orchha. The weather was very hot that day, but the air-conditioned taxi made the trip pleasant.
To our surprise, after a 3-hour journey, the weather became extremely favorable, as there was heavy rainfall at noon in Khajuraho. After lunch, we both took some rest before heading to the major attractions of the otherwise sleepy town of Khajuraho.
The weather was still cloudy in the early evening with cool breezes all around. It was a welcome respite for us to move around at the spectacular Khajuraho temple complex.
The guide told us that this grand temple complex built by the Chandel Kings between 885 AD and 1050 AD lay hidden by the dense forest cover and heavy vegetation for several centuries. That’s why these beautiful structures remained untouched by the Mughal invaders.
My hubby and I enjoyed every minute of our holiday in Khajuraho which is well connected to the major Indian cities. And the lesser-known Orchha, which is a half an hour road trip from Jhansi railway station. Thus, my dream of having a memorable experience of traveling to a stunning destination got fulfilled by a chance encounter with a promotional banner at the railway platform of Jhansi.
(Both the above pics are from the Khajuraho temple complex, depicting Kamasutra)