Monday, August 29, 2016

Orchha , The Land of Legends and Monuments

Long, long ago, a king went hunting in the forest, and found himself separated from his entourage. Following the sound of flowing water, he arrived on the banks of the Betwa, where he saw a sage meditating. Being a respectful man, he waited for the sage to open his eyes. The sage soon became aware of the king’s presence, and blessed him, directing him to the place where his soldiers waited. But the sage did the king a service beyond just pointing him in the right direction. He told him that this land on the riverbank was a sacred spot, the erstwhile capital of an ancient city. It was time for the land to flourish once again, and the king returned to build his new capital here. The king prospered, as did his dynasty, which rose to great prominence, ruling from here. However, this too, wasn’t to last forever. The dynasty declined, and so did the town, settling back into a state of inconsequence. Till it revived again, once more, this time welcoming, not royals, but visitors of a more modern kind – tourists.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Around Gwalior - The Majestic Palace at Datia

“Datia mein aap kya dekhenge? Wahan dekhne layak kuch bhi nahin hai” (What will you see in Datia? There is nothing to see there). That was our driver, and it was a refrain we had heard often. Ignoring him was easy. Finding our way to the palace at Datia, was not.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Around Gwalior - A Riot of sculptures at Padhavali

We stood at the gate, surprised to find a fort instead of a temple. The driver urged us inside, assuring us that the temple was indeed there. As we walked in slowly, looking at the fragments of pillars and carved stones which lined the path, a well-built man came forward. “I am the caretaker here” he introduced himself. “Do you want me to take you around?” he asked. There didn’t seem to be guides around, or anyone else for that matter, so we agreed, and began our exploration of the Garhi Padhavali.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Around Gwalior - The Temple complex at Batesar

The rutted road led up to an inconspicuous gate. Our driver stopped and nodded towards it. “You can go in. I will stay here” he said. “Don’t you want to come in?” I asked, and he laughed. “Madam, there is nothing to see, just broken temples. Hardly anyone comes here. You can go and see for yourself that there is nothing much to see.” I could have told him that we were here to see just those ruined temples, that they excited us more than new temples did. But I kept quiet and let him settle down for a nap, while Samhith and I walked in, to see the Batesar (or Bateswar or Bateshwar) Group of Temples.


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