A little town called Orccha

Listening to the sound of birds chirping, water flowing down the nearby river and the odd calls of prayer at the many temples surrounding us (22 in fact), the small town of Orccha is by far the most serene place we’ve visited on our trip.

Back in the 17th century, this little town used to be the capital of the small Hindi kingdom of Rajput, coexisting alongside the larger Mogul kingdoms in Delhi and Agra, which has some of the most magnificently persevered palaces and temples surrounding it and a prime example of Hindu design at the time.


So far we’ve been moving at a slow pace, dining at the local restraunts, checking out the wares at the local shops, playing badminton with some street kids and taking a tour of the ‘haunted’ kings palace. It seems almost strange to not be hearing horns and traffic while outside the little tents we have as accommodation; which still fit two beds, a storage room, bathroom with shower and a tele in there some how.


All this relaxing has caused us to take a beating from the merciless sun however, which while hot is comforting in the early morning and evening thanks to the cold. I could have sworn it was below ten last night 🙁

The area around the town is mostly farmland with the odd village mixed in, sugar cane seems to be the local favourite I think, with one of these having a little paper factory that’s sponsored by Intrepid. We took a little tour of this earlier today and caused a bit of a stir with the locals when Scott, the groups single Kiwi, was asked whether he was married by one of the women working there. What followed was a humorous little conversation where a couple of marriage proposals were passed around, by the end he’d managed to make it out still a bachelor and the women had a good laugh at the entire event.

Anyway, tonight we’ll be heading up to one of the grandest temples before dinner, after which we’ll witness a proper hindu ceremony at the more local temple. The town seems to have spread out around these larger monuments from ages past, quite the contrast considering the high towers of the temples compared to the two/three storey building around them.

Victoria hasn’t been feeling 100% for a little while, she’s now resting along with Phill and Matt whilst I enjoy some R&R out in the lovely afternoon sun.
Now all I need to do is find a handkerchief…

P.S. I’ve realised the reason why motorised Rickshaws last forever; there ain’t much to them!

Indian Railways, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal

Sitting on the train on our way from Agra to Ochra with five hours ahead of me I thought it might be a good time to write a blog. Following the 5am start we caught a train to Agra, which was on time, reasonably fast and they provided us breakfast. Indian Railways apparently the biggest employer in the world moves a vast amount of people around India everyday.

With only a day in Agra we saw both of the big ticket items in one day, the Agra Fort in the morning and the Taj Mahal in the afternoon.

The Agra Fort is amazingly preserved. Over half of the fort is still used by the Indian National Army, however visitors have access to most of the old palace. The fort had fantastic security measures similar to those I remember reading about in children story books; crocodiles in the moat, Bengal tigers behind the first wall, hot oil at the front gate and down the entrance path. The palace itself made of red sand stone and white marble is still very impressive despite the fact that it has been pillaged for all it’s gold and jewels. Metal hooks remain in place from where the Mogal kings hung their swings and looked down over beautiful square or down the river Yamuna to the Taj Mahal after its construction.


After a brief break and lunch at a local restaurant (everyone is getting their appetite back slowly), we headed out for sunset at the Taj. The Taj Mahal is truly a wonder of the world and so valued by the Indian people. It was overflowing with visitors, mostly Indian nationals visiting their most famous icon.

Dinner was at a South Indian chain restaurant where everyone had their full appetite back. Matt dug into a thali, while Andrew, Toria and I all had Dosais. We are really enjoying getting to know the rest of our travelling companions, so far it appears we have been blessed with a pretty easy going group.

Now as I watch the countryside go past I am chatting with our guide and Matt about all the wonders and complexities of India and Indian society. How great it is to be here 🙂

Adventures with Delhi belly :(

Well the final meal before our intrepid trip has taken a rather nasty toll on myself and Victoria, and the experience has been rather interesting (in a sick way).
Delhi belly seems to be a unique combination of a stomach that doesn’t want to keep anything down, and a bowl system which doesn’t want to keep anything in. This becomes quite annoying when trying to rehydrate, with only small portions being able to make it through the upset stomach.

Yesterday Victoria and I were restricting ourselves to bed, very nice beds thankfully, sleeping for an hour or two before waking and getting in some more water and crackers. Thankfully an entire days rest has proven quite beneficial since we’re now both walking and talking quite fine.

Just now we’ve arrived at our accommodation in Agra, the ancient capital of India and home to perhaps the most iconic building in India, the Taj Mahal. Agra fort is also on the list of things to see today, which should be far more impressive than the Red Fort in Delhi!
And in case anyone was wondering, Phil and Matt are both enjoying a well earned coffee break.

P.S. Indian train system = awesome 😀