“MP ajab hai, sabsey alag hai”
(MP is the strange kind of good but so different from all the others)
– Madhya Pradesh tourism
A backpack trip is well defined among travelers and solo backpack travel is the most preferred one. You lose yourself somewhere on the way to find yourself again in a new form – a storyteller, a bard or a person with some sort of experience.
I’m about to share my experience of a backpack trip to the land of Bundelkhand. Bundelkhand is a name given to a region which lies on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.There are lots of places to explore in Bundelkhand like Jhansi, Mahoba, Kalinjar, Gwalior, Orccha, Chitrakoot, Chhatarpur, Panna and especially Khajuraho, which has a number of 10th century sculptures devoted to fine living and eroticism. The whole region has hilly places which contributes in the rich history of making forts.A Trip to Bundelkhand is about knowing its rich culture, history and exploring the flora and fauna of the area.
This article focuses on my excursion of three places which can be covered in a very short span and also budgeting it. Starting from Jhansi to Orccha to Khajuraho here is everthing you need to know before you pack your bags and set out a for solo trip.
Starting with the city of Jhansi. It is about 415kms from Delhi and 292 kms from Lucknow. It is well connected by railways and roadways from both cities. Jhansi is a small city and has very less to explore. It is famous for the bravery tale of Rani Lakshmi bai also known as Jhansi ki Rani , who rebelled against the British East India Company during the First War of Independence. Exploring Jhansi will take not more than 3 or 4 hours which can be done in the wee hours of the morning. Travelling to Jhansi will not cost more than 500 Indian rupees from a state transport buse or train ride.
- Jhansi Fort
Entry fee- 15 rupees (price for foreigners differ)
Take an early morning stroll to the fort of Jhansi which is situated on a hill and gives a panoramic view of the city and a beautiful sunrise. There is no one in the fort except some morning walkers and guards which gives you the opportunity to go thoroughly through the intricate details of the fort. The things to explore are the fort’s architecture which has Indian charm and the colonial era sophistication such as temples or weapons on display (like kadak bijli canon).
The things to explore are Shiva temple, Ganesha temple, weapons, Panch Mahal and other little places in the fort.Take your time to explore it and enjoy a nice sunrise.
- Rani Jhansi ka Mahal
Entry fees- 15 rupees (price for foreigners differ)
The Palace of Queen Lakshmi Bai is quiet beautiful and shows rich details of Maratha architecture. It opens at 9:30 in morning and is at a nearby location. On the ground floor there are idols or sculptors from nearby village temples which belong to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism faiths. First floor of the palace has some really good paintings, do study the rich detail.
Next take a ride to the nearby town of Orccha. It will cost you not more Rs. 20 from a Jhansi bus stop. Autos or as the locals call it Tuk Tuk are easily available and the best way to travel.
A small hamlet which lies near Jhansi in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. It is perfect place for backpackers where you have various things to do like exploring monuments, have a continental meals in various cafes, river rafting, swimming and enjoying the sunset on the banks of river Betwa.
As soon as you enter Orccha you will realize that the town still retains its old world charm, it is far from hassle and chaos. It is a hidden gem of MP. Established by King Rudra Pratap Singh in 16th century AD. It has grand and majestic monuments which show rich legacy of Bundela rulers. Trust me they were obsessed with their temples and palaces which are really grand. Known as Ram Rajya this place is a pilgrimage place for Hindus. Truly the modesty of people and serenity of Orccha reflects the charm of ruler’s rule “Ram Raja”.
Places of Interests in Orccha
1: Orccha palace or fort (RAJA MAHAL, JAHAGIR MAHAL and other places) Entry fees- Rs10 for Indians and Rs200 for foreigners.
2: Chatarbhuj temple, Ram Raja temple and Lakshmi Narayan temple.
3: 4 Cenotaphs near river Betwa .
4: River rafting which is provided by MP tourism. Cost- Rs 330 per person.
5: Orccha wildlife sanctuary.
6: Ghats of Betwa.
Rent a Bicycle for Rs 100 – best and easiest way to commute.
Hotel recommended:- Hotel Fort View(Rs500)
Restaurant recommended:-Mediterrano (CONTINENTAL) and Moonlight for local food.
Take early morning train from Orccha to Khajuraho which will cost Rs 40 and leave at 7:30am from Orccha Railway Station.
A place where time is still and calm, a place so simple you will fall in love with it. It is a place with world famous temples which have the finest sculptures showing fine living and eroticism and also they are UNESCO world heritage sites.
Established by Chandela rulers in 10 century AD this place is really great for getaways. It is a mixture of town and a village which shows the rich culture of Rajput Era. One of the cleanest places I have ever seen in India and people are so modest here (My personal favourite). Khajuraho one’s have 85 temples out of which only 20 survived.
Places of Interest in Khajuraho:
1: Eastern Group and Southern Group of temples (Chatarbhuj Temple,Dhula Dev and Jain Temples with other temples).
2: Western Group of temples (COST-Rs30 and Rs300+ for foreigners) Light and sound show(250 Rs).
3: Shiv Sagar lake.
4: Beeja Mandal archaeological site.
Other places (Out of Budget)
1: Panna Tiger Reserve (cost-RS600+ per person)
2: Pandu and Rannhey falls (Separate cost-600 Rs)
3:Khajuraho Culture programs (Cost- Rs500)
Tip:- Bargain well with Auto drivers.
Hotel recommended- Zostel a place with 6 and 8 dormotries and personal rooms also which are little costly.
(400+ per night for a bed) Goibibo for booking
Restaurants recommended- Raja cafe, Bella Italia, Pink Floyd cafe, Guru kripa(Marwari jain food) and Madras cafe (cheat your budget for some good food).