Wednesday, March 16, 2011

India (2010), part4: Orcha



Journey by tuk-tuk from Jhansi to Orcha (45 minutes) should cost around 200 INR. We manage to bargain for 400 INR per half day. Our driver takes us everywhere, shows us what is worth visiting, and leads us to the place where they give good coffee (a regular Indian coffee is made the same way as our chicory coffee with milk and a ton of sugar) and does not try to take us to his friend's shop.
If someone wants to save money, there are buses between Jhansi and Orcha, but apparently lagging terribly. 

The monuments in Orcha are located on a fairly large area. They can be explored on foot, but as we have tuk-tuk available for half a day, why should we shamble in the dust and heat. 
After seeing several complexes we made our minds it's enough. (The local temples and palaces, or actually, their remains, can be visited daily 9-17, admission is paid separately, we paid for several of them 260 INR). 

At the station, we take a bath, they have very civilized conditions as for the station, even better than in Mumbai or Delhi. Station in Jhansi made the best impression on us. At night we go out again. This will be our first night... on the train. We're a bit nervous. Remembering all the things we read in the guides, we’re not in the mood to sleep. We start for Aurangabad on time (19.58, ticket: 195 INR). It's not bad, we can't see worms anywhere, our friends threatened us we would see them. People are very nice. Oh, a guy has just sat next to me to take a picture with me. And what am I? A monkey or what? After some time we'll get used to it, white tourists don't travel often in their sleeping or "no-class" trains. Tourists usually choose the first or second class, air-conditioned, well, at the latest, the third.
Our berths are the highest ones, reportedly the best. The night passes quietly. Crisp air, because there's no glass in the window (only grids), so it's well ventilated. You only need to watch out for those fans in the ceiling, not to bash your head in it.
All the morning we talked with two teachers who want to know all about Poland and so on. 
Generally people are very sympathetic, very curious of everything. The come up to you in the train, in a cafe or just in the street. They ask about your name, where you're from, whether you like it here and about a million other things. As far as I am concerned, they are simply curious, seeing a foreigner. Unfortunately, sometimes it's difficult to distinguish such an unselfish passer-by from a tout.

School children on an excursion to Orcha
Orcha is a popular destination for newly married couples
We reach Aurangabad at noon. Waiting for another train we want to go to town to eat something. We’re not able to do it. Does anyone put a great hot frying pan here? Haven't they ever seen a white man here? They run to us in such quantities that we have enough. We eat in the bar at the station.
 reach Mumbai at 22. It's empty everywhere, dull everywhere... Is this really a capital of the business? We're looking for a taxi, because at 3.30, we have a bus to Goa from somewhere near the Bolivari Park, wherever it is, and it's probably far off.

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