Ep 3 Gwalior to Orchha via Jhansi | Jhansi Fort History | Jhansi street food| Madhya Pradesh Tourism

Ep 3 Gwalior to Orchha via Jhansi | Jhansi Fort History | Jhansi street food| Madhya Pradesh Tourism

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Namaskar friends. Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Our day in Gwalior starts with this visit to the Baija Taal (pond). This is a famous, prominent landmark of Gwalior. Do you see the steps next to the Taal? People usually come here during mornings or evenings, to sit on these steps & enjoy the quiet.

It is a peaceful environment. It is peaceful on this side and on that side, you can see the road with traffic. When I was passing this road last evening, I saw this place decorated with lights.

I didn't shoot a video at that time. But I saw the lights. And I was told this place looks beautiful with lights in the evening. So I should come and visit here. Now, let us go and have breakfast.

We are going to have poha for breakfast, after which we shall leave for Orchha. We've hired this taxi from the Chaturvedi Travels. Its daily charge is as per Rs 16 per kilometer for a distance of 300 km. Plus Rs 500 per day extra for food and lodgings.

Let's go! We reached Agrawal Poha Bhandar near Kajal Talkies. The shop was closed. We left there and came to Phool Bagh area. This is where we are having poha now.

This is the stall here, called "Chaurasiya Poha Centre." This poha was garnished with some lemon juice, sev and peanuts. Taste is delicious, no doubt because of the tangy spices in it. Also, if you add minutely chopped raw onions to the poha.... ...that lends a different flavor too. To sum up, I liked the poha served here, no doubt! We've travelled about 60 KM from Gwalior to come to Sonagiri.

When we were on the way to Orchha from Gwalior, we took a diversion of 4 KM. And we reached Sonagiri. I am standing inside the village right now. There are about 27 temples inside this village. And there are 77 temples on a hill.

We can only visit the temple when we are barefoot. We've taken off our shoes already and now we're going to walk upto the hill in this direction. There we'll visit the temples.

Here we've met a local gentleman. He carries in his palki (palanquin) those pilgrims who are elderly or cannot walk on their own. He also brings them back after the temple visit. So, when we met him, he offered to accompany us to the temple on foot.

Now where will we go from? We will go straight. Alright. So where will you take off your chappal (footwear)? On the gate. On the gate, alright. Let's go. So these temples number 6, 7, 8, 9, all are part of the 77 hill-top temples? Yes! Is the path to the temple same like these stairs? It is the same path till the top.

This building you see here is called 'Nandeshwar Dweep', which houses about 152 idols. It is locked right now. The temples are closed at 12 pm before being reopened at 3.30 pm.

Till what time do they remain open? Till 9 pm. We've reached temple No. 57. Here, we saw the statue of Shri Chandraprabhu Bhagwan.

We have with us the temple pujari (priest). Please give us some information about how old this temple is. These hills are 4,000 years old. This statue of Chandraprabhu Bhagwan was found on its own inside a rock. This statue is based on a single rock.

This inner sanctum was renovated during the Hindu calendar year 335. When the community came to know of this statue, they built this inner sanctum & temple. So can we say that this was the first temple to be built on this hill? The first temple here was that of Chandraprabhu Bhagwan. And there used to be two princes of this kingdom - Nang Kumar & Anang Kumar. They performed deep meditation right here, on this hill. They attained Moksha (freedom from the cycle of life) after their meditation was complete.

And along with them, about 5.5 crore other sages, seers also attained moksha. This is the USP of this place? Yes it is. So, today, there are 77 temples around here.

On the mountain. So, the rest of the temples were built during later years? Yes, these were added later on. So, were these temples built by various devotees? All these temples are old. Some of these are more than 200-300 years old. But this one is really ancient? Yes, it is. Thank you for this information. What are the temple timings? The temple opens from 5.30 am to 12.30 pm.

And then from 3.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Then it was a good thing that we reached here on time otherwise... If you would've been two minutes late, you... ....if we would've been late even by two minutes, we would've not been able to visit here. I had the lock and keys ready in my hands. Ohho! Then we were lucky to be able to visit the temple. That you were able to see the statue of Chandraprabhu Bhagwan.

Thank you! We've come down from the hill back to where we started from. So, Bhai Sahab, thank you! Alright! On our way back, I asked him about the charges of going in a palki. So, he told me for a person with a normal weight, the charges are Rs 1100....

...and if the weight is more than normal, the charges could be between Rs 1500-1600. Okay then, we shall leave here now. We've travelled down about half a kilometer from the Sonagiri village. Up there, we saw a rest house called "Dilli Walon ki Dharamshala." So this Bhojanalay (eatery) is a part of the same Dharamshala.

So, let's eat Bhojan (food) here. I'm standing outside the eatery and this is the parking space. Come! This is a neat and clean eating space. If you'd like to donate money before or after eating here, you can do so in the donation box. Otherwise, you can eat here free of cost. Very nice! We will leave here after lunch and I'll join you again in a short while.

We reached this Bhojanalay in just nick of time. This place is open from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm and then again from 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm. Now, we shall meet again in a short while. We've reached the Jhansi Fort.

We've parked our car outside. You can see the Fort right in front of me. I've Hemant Bhai with me right now. Namaste Hemant Bhai! Hemant Bhai belongs to Orchha. How far is it from here, 18 KM?

18 KM. Great! Presently, there are no guides available here. So, whoever wants a guided tour, he gets a guide from Orchha. You can give us a brief introduction about Jhansi Fort right here and rest.... ...we will talk when we go further. Okay Sir. The Fort behind us is the Jhansi Fort & it is built upon a hill.

Bundelkhand area falls in the Vindhyachal hill range, one of the many ranges in the area. During the 17th century, Bundelkhand had a ruler by the name of Raja Bir Singh Bundela. During his reign, Raja Bir Singh got built more than 50 palaces and more than 120 temples. This Jhansi Fort is one of those exquisite structures built by him. The exemplary fortification of this place attracts thousands of tourists even today.

This Fort was built during the 17th century. Raja Bir Singh's reign lasted between years 1605 and 1627. Come let us enter and explore it.

We bought tickets for Rs 25 per person and entered the Fort. The name of this tope (canon) is quite interesting - "Kadak Bijli Tope." This Tope belongs to the era of Rani Laxmi Bai. The man who operated this tope was called Ghulam Ghaus Khan. In the local Bundelkhand dialect, this tope is also called the "Garv Giravan" (honor-destroying) tope.

It is said that during its routine practice in the jungle... ....the pregnant cows and buffaloes used to have miscarriages. Its sound was so powerful. It is said that when the British attacked, they chose this part where the tope was directed at. Rani of Jhansi believed that she could fire this cannon.

But there used to be a Ganesh Temple just across that wall. Rani used to worship Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. So, with respect towards here religion, she decided to jump instead of firing the cannon. So, I'm going to show you the point from where she jumped. It is very high. That is the era since when this Kadak Bijli Tope has been placed here.

These are German machine guns here. When the British entered this Fort, they modified their own security arrangements. In that era, you also had a doorbell system like one that was here. There used to be a rope attached to a bell here.

Anyone who wanted to meet the king or make a complaint, could ring the bell using that rope. The one who fought as good as a man, she as the Rani of Jhansi! Right? The announcers of Bundelkhand have spoken this tale. The poetess Subhadra Kumari Chauhan visited this Fort long back. 'Harbole' were like the traditional town-crier who used to go around announcing important news. Those were called 'Harbola' and they used to sing these songs everywhere. Alright. So 'Bundele Harbole" means Harbole of Bundelkhand?

'Harbole" means one who speaks of everything. Harbole were the town criers called upon by the erstwhile kings to make a public announcement. So, it were the Harbole who sang this story in front of Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. And it moved Subhadra so much that she wrote "Khoob Ladi Mardani." It is a beautiful poem.

Yes Sir! Come, let us climb there now. We'll again read from the poem written for Rani Laxmi Bai by Subhadra. (reciting part of the poem) Since her childhood, Rani Laxmi Bai was fond of learning the use of all the arms, etc.

Then she got married to Jhansi's ruler, Maharaj Gangadhar Rao. And gradually, she got established into her new role. Unfortunately, their only son died.

Thereafter, they adopted a son, named Damodar Rao. Eventually, the Maharaja also passed away. Rani thought that if she was to protect her kingdom, and the surrounding areas... ...she would've to declare herself as the ruler of her kingdom. That forced her to take charge of the royal affairs after the death of her husband. So, was Gangadhar Rao a Bundela King? No Sir, not the Bundela Raja (king) but he was a descendant of Peshwa Bajirao. The Peshwas were awarded this part of Bundelkhand in return of the help granted to...

...the Bundelkhand rulers against the Mughals. They also helped the rulers during their war with Aurangzeb. Thereafter, the Peshwa rule was established here. So, these Maratha rulers were the Peshwa's descendants. There is a place called 'Kalpi.' 'Kaalpi' 'Kaalpi' So, that was Rani Laxmi Bai's native place? The area of Kaalpi includes Benaras and Kanpur too.

This whole territory belonged to them only. Where is Kaalpi located? Sir, Kaalpi is about 70-80 KM from here. It is said that after jumping from the Fort wall, Rani headed towards Kaalpi.

She took off on her horse along with her foster son. From Kaalpi, she got herself a new horse and then headed towards Gwalior. So, in that era, Nana Saheb Peshwa was a great support to her. So from where did the Rani jump off the wall? I am going to take you to that stop and there I'll show you.

Sir, this is the rampart and the area from where Rani Laxmi Bai jumped off. In 1857? She jumped off from here in 1857. And you have to believe it that in Indian history, two horses are most famous. One is Maharana Pratap's... ..Chetak Chetak And the other is Laxmi Bai's..... Badal.

Badal. That is what I was thinking too. It was Badal who rescued Laxmi Bai and her son and took them towards the North, to Kaalpi. Since the horse had jumped off from such a great height, he eventually died in Kaalpi.

Thereafter, Rani had to get a new horse. Subhadra has described it in her poem that the horse, being a new one, took a while to train. She further describes the difficulties faced by Rani on her journey further. Meanwhile, the British Army was following at their heels. Near Gwalior, Rani came across a nullah (canal) and the horse couldn't cross it.

Situation would have been different if it would have been Badal in its place. The new horse got stuck there and eventually the Rani got killed at the hand of the British. I would like to show you how deep this spot was, where Rani landed after jumping down. It must be at least 15 m deep, and since then, the land mass has risen considerably.

So, at that time, Badal jumped down 15 m? Yes, approximately a depth of 14-15 m is what it jumped across. And thus, he rescued his owner, Rani Laxmi Bai, and took her safely to Kaalpi. Didn't Rani go to Gwalior in 1857? Yes, she did, but first, she went to Kaalpi. In Kaalpi, she handed over her foster son and then,.... ...she headed to Gwalior, to seek help from the Scindias. Scindias were also connected to Bombay. And Laxmi Bai was also Maratha so they were just like brother and sister.

But she couldn't reach there eventually and so goes the story. She couldn't reach there and got killed at the hands of the British forces. So this is the history of Rani Laxmi Bai and this Fort, to see which,... thousands of tourists come here even today.

Yes, I can see it even now. The Fort is about to be closed and... Yes, a lot of tourists are still here.

A lot of tourists are here to listen to the tale of the great warrior Laxmi Bai. Look at this such a good carving done on stone. This was inaugurated recently when Modi Ji visited Jhansi. That highlighted this Fort even more.

Rani Laxmi Bai was martyred during the battle of 1857. It feels good to listen to the tales of her bravery. Listening to these tales, makes one wonder about her bravery and courage.

And she was martyred at the age of 29. She was quite young. But along with the youth, she was also filled with patriotism towards her country. Really appreciable! Yes, it is commendable. Whatever your age, it is your passion that matters.

The way Rani Laxmi Bai fought. She encountered opposition from the British as well as smaller kingdoms around her. That too at such a young age. She became a widow at such a young age.

For a woman to maintain such a huge dynasty and its political structure is really commendable. It wasn't easy in any sense. When the history of India's bravest men and women is narrated.... ...Rani Laxmi Bai's name comes before the brave men. Laxmi Bai is, in herself, a symbol of bravery. It is because of this Indian tricolour that India is on the brink of becoming a world leader.

We need to see the light & sound show after the Fort visit, so we have almost two hours till then. Almost two hours! So, let us explore some street food till then. After that, we will return here by 7.15 pm. The show will begin at 7.20 or 7.30 pm. So, we can reach here by 7 pm then.

We've come to the famous Chaat shop of Jhansi. You can read that this is the famous Narayan Chaat Bhandar. We are going in there. We shall explore a few chaat items here. What all is available here, you can read the names on this list.

Moong dal cheela, aloo tikki, in the end there is dhokla and Paani-Batashe. By the way, this shop is well-built. Right? It is a nice shop and a very old establishment. Whenever we talk of chaat in Bundelkhand, we say there can be no better chaat than ....

...the one served at Narayan's. It is famous, right! So, it is quite famous here. First of all, we are eating aloo tikki here. To be honest, the texture of this tikki is amazing. I saw how it is being cooked.

To aloo tikki, they add matar (boiled chickpeas), sweet 'n sour chutney, masala with dahi. Going by its quantity, I feel I won't be able to try more snacks. It would've been better to try smaller quantities of more items.

Yes Sir! But no problem. What a crisp aloo tikki! And such a nice combination of the sweet and sour flavors with the matar! I am impressed. It was nice to eat this aloo tikki of Jhansi.

It is the best Sir. One more thing that I like here is that they've kept everything neat, whether it is the floor or seating. All this indicates that the owner has taken care of the hygiene factor.

Their rates are also reasonable. I was impressed after just one bite. Super tasty! Oye hoye! Mind-boggling! To be frank, if we'd have missed this chaat today, I would've been really disheartened. I realize its value now that I've tasted it. But those who haven't eaten it ever, won't know that. When this chaat came into my hands, I assumed that it was overloaded with chutney.

That's what I assumed. But not anymore! As I continue to eat it, everything tastes perfect. Yes! It continues to taste enriched with flavours. Hemant Bhai is eating Cheela and I am eating Dahi Bhalla.

I got to know this is also one of the more famous chaat items of this place. Again, one of the best dahi vada that I've ever eaten anywhere. Quality of this dahi (yoghurt) is awesome and the Bhalla inside is so soft that it melts in mouth. Pani Batashe are here but look at this crowd. Everybody is standing in a circle, waiting for their turn to eat pani-puri.

Lovely! It has a sweet and subtle flavour of hing (asofetida). Overall taste of water is simple. It has no overpowering spices in it. High on simplicity. They've also added matar (chickpeas) to it. Here you go! Very good! Pani-Batashe are good but what I liked the most are aloo tikki and dahi bhalle. Those are wonderful. Delicious! Now Hemant Bhai, what will be our plan next? Where will we be going.

You were talking about Sharma Sweets. Sir, there should be something sweet after something spicy. Next, we will go to the famous sweet shop here, Sharma Sweets. It is nearby. What is the time? Because we've to reach there. The shop is on the way and time is 6.30 pm.

6.30 pm. We will stop there for 10 minutes and then proceed further. It will take us 15-20 minutes to reach the Fort. We've come to the Sharma Sweets. Come let's go inside.

Bhai Saheb, you seem to have a wide range of sweets in your shop. Tell us a couple of your most famous products. We'll taste those. Our "Kesar ki Rasmalai" & "White Rasgulla" are most popular! Kesar ki Rasmalai. Yes! And white spongy rasgulla. So, please give us a piece of each. This is Kesar ki Rasmalai.

I have to admit... Thank you Sir! ...this taste is impressive. The flavour of kesar (saffron) is full-on. Sir the cow milk used in making this comes from our own farmhouse. Right. I can guess by eating it that the quality is A-one.

Very soft rasgulla! You know what I feel personally? Your rasmalai is good. But if I need to choose between the two, and I get to eat just one, I would choose rasgulla. The rasgulla is extremely delicious. It is so soft and syrupy. I'm enjoying it.

And its taste is genuine! Wonderful. (Narrator) (Music) We watched this 45-minute long show and now we are outside the Fort. Before talking about the show, let me tell you that in the dark, the lighting looks the most effective. If you will come here in the evening, you won't do anything but click photographs of the lighting.

The Fort looks really beautiful. Now we'll talk about the show. The laser show performance was world-class. The sound system and voice-overs were good too. Overall, a good package! During the performance, I thought of a question that when the British had already attacked... ....at that time, why didn't the Rani of Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai.... ....seek help from Gwalior, because I've heard that she expected help from the Peshwas. But this question remained in my mind that she didn't seek help from Gwalior.

That question is still there in my mind, even after the show. But anyways, the show was good. So, if you come to Jhansi, you must not miss this show. Now, we are leaving here to go to Orchha, which is about 18 KM from here. I had checked some resorts to finalize our bookings. The 3-4 resorts, which I called up, said they were fully booked. And the ones, which weren't, had exorbitant tariff rates of more than Rs 5,000 to 6,000.

Anyways, I've talked to one homestay and informed the about ourselves. Have told them of our arrival, so they'll keep a room for us. We will travel 18 KM to reach Orchha and that homestay is about 5 KM from Orchha Palace. So, let us reach the homestay. Once we are there, we'll show you the room and also say bye-bye for the day. I mean we'll conclude our day-long journey.

After arriving in Orchha, we took help from Google Maps to reach our homestay. If I consider the Orchha Palace the centre point of this town.... ...this homestay is about 5 to 5.5 KM from the Palace. The surroundings and ambience of this place look like we're inside a village. We've been told that M.P. Tourism has contributed to the development of this place.

The room that we've booked has a room tariff of Rs 2000 on double occupancy basis. Right now, they've only two rooms but they are constructing two more rooms. Now, we'll be able to see this place in detail only in the morning. Not much is visible in the dark. So, we'll now say bye-bye to you because our episode ends here now. We will spend the whole day and tomorrow night in Orchha.

The day after we shall leave for Khajuraho and also visit Panna, as I've already told you. Today wasn't very long but I found it somewhat hectic. Right! So, we end our day here now. Thanks for your time!

2022-12-26 10:57

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