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Old 6th July 2014, 02:40   #1
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Default Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

I have treated my Chevy Beat with a outstation trip whenever she completes 10,000 KMs. This is the story of her second such trip when she was about to complete 20,000 KMs. My wife had promised to take me to Orchha in Monsoons, and we decided to drive down to Orchha for a extended weekend trip.

DELHI-AGRA-DHOLPUR-MORENA
We started at around 7 AM from Delhi and took Yamuna Expressway to Agra. The weather was nice and road was awesome.
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9360.jpg

We reached Agra at around 9:30 AM and Dholpur, Rajasthan at around 11:00 AM. We took our breakfast and then left for Morena - the land of Chambal, the land of ravines and the land of Dacoits!

HIDDEN GEM OF CHAMBAL VALLEY
Our first stop was at Batesar Temple Complex. This is a group of temples constructed in 6th to 9th Century AD (Yes 2000 years old). Till a few years back there were just ruins and it's said to be home to Nirbhay Singh Gujjar, a famous dacoit. Read more about Bateswar, and the story of its restoration.

Reached Batesar (The trail that you see takes you to Temples - around 200 m away)
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Temple Complex
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Another view of Temple Complex
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Following is the main temple of the complex - a Shiva temple with 5 shivlings in one statue. Supposedly it's the only example of its type and thus very precious piece of history. This is also one of the few temples found intact and wasn't broken down by earthquake or ravages of time!
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9399.jpg

See the Lions in following pic, these are bigger in size than Elephants. Apparently Lion was symbol of Pratihar Kings and thus was depicted bigger. You hear 10s of such stories when you visit a heritage site - I don't know which one ot believe but they do make it interesting.
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MITAWALI
After spending about an hour, we moved to Mitawali to see another marvel. But before I tell you about it check the pics and guess which momument of national importance is inspired from it?
Outer View
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Inner View
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Yes, our Parliament House is based on this temple. There is a Shiva temple at the center and then there are 64 Yogini temples along the outer wall. The Temple is on small hillock that provides a good view of surrounding areas.

View from top of Mitawali - The road you see is the same we took to reach to Mitwali. Further my Chevy Beat is parked at the red brick cylindrical structure that you see in this pic -
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9415.jpg

With both the gems of Chambal Valley captured in our memories and in photographs, it was time to move to Orchha. We took the Gwalior - Shivpuri - Jhansi - Orchha road as the road between Gwalior and Jhansi was in very bad shape due to Monsoon.

Time for me to catch some sleep and I will shortly post the details of Orchha leg!

Last edited by satishchugh : 7th July 2014 at 15:48. Reason: added titles to make it easy to read
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Old 6th July 2014, 11:50   #2
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Default re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

I have to say that, being born in Gwalior, I feel embarrassed that I have not even heard of the historical gems in your post above. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to rest of the journey.
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Old 6th July 2014, 22:20   #3
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GWALIOR-SHIVPURI-JHANSI-ORCHHA
After lunch break at Gwalior we moved to Shivpuri. Road from Gwalior to Shivpuri is a typical state highway having 2 lanes, however it has a good stretch of lush green vegetation thanks to Ghatigaon Wildlife Sanctuary. After our leisurely spent at Gems of Chambals, we were left with little time to cover the remaining 250 KMs. So even though we wanted to stop and click some pics, we couldn't. As we entered Shivpuri, the patholes welcomed us and then traffic was not forgiving either. As we exited the city and moved towards Jhansi, all of this pain moved away. Madhav National Park provided some much needed relief to eyes and the road also eased out to provide some relief to my Chevy Beat. The road from here to Jhansi is top class, good for 150 KM/h. Had it not been for cattle sitting/walking on the road or villagers out on evening stroll, we would have reached Jhansi much earlier. But then Animals Rights bhee koi cheez hai!

Not only the road, even the views are awesome on this stretch. The bridge on Sindh River needs special mention here. The dam on Sindh River is somewhere near, so you see a big water reservoir interspread with green icelands. You can imagine the view of sun setting during Monsoon when air is cleaner, each shrub is fresh, each tree leaf is green and the reservoir is filled with water - mesmerizing! I don't have many pics, but I believe following will give you a good idea -
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9442.jpg

The remaining journey to Jhansi and Orchha was uneventful and we reached Orchha somewhere around 8'o clock. We hadn't booked any hotel. A quick search on trip-advisor and then a call to 2nd best hotel on the list Bundelkhand Riverside ensured 2 river-facing rooms were waiting for us upon arrival. The hotel property is awesome and is highly recommended at that price.

Here is what hotel/our room looked like the morning after -
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View from the room and view of the rooms from riverside
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BARUA SAGAR
We decided to drive down to Barua Sagar for a quick outing. Our first stop was Jarai Ka Math -a 1150 year old temple with intricate stone work. It was raining when we reached making it a great outing.
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Then we moved to Barua Sagar - summer palace of Rani Laxmibai. This is a huge tank and they have created an outlet to let go of extra water during manosson. This outlet was looking like a good waterfall. See for yourself -
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9519.jpg

ORCHHA
After coming back and a quick lunch, it was time to go to Orchha proper. We started with Jahangir Mahal, which was constructed so that Mughal Emperor Jahangir can stay here on his visit from Delhi to Deccan. As luck would have it, he visited Orchha but never stayed in this palace.

Jahangir Mahal - Inside View
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Jahangir Mahal - East Gate (facing Betwa River)
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View of Betwa atop Jahangir Mahal
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CHHATRI's OF ORCHHA
Orchha is famous for it's Chhatris - the structures nobles made for their deceased. These are quite nice places to sit down and spend some quite time. Betwa was overflowing with the monsoon water and sumerged one of the Chhatris -
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Chhatris provide good place for inrospection and then they do some self relection of their own
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ORCHHA-JHANSI-SHIVPURI-GWALIOR-AGRA-NOIDA
The 575 Km journey back home was covered in about 11-12 hours including some tea breaks and a late lunch break at Agra. Since I was the only driver it took little more time than it should have. Before I sign off, some tips for the folks who wants to make a similar trip -
  1. Road between Jhansi-Shivpuri is awesome. You would like to take breaks and spend time on this stretch. So plan for it.
  2. Road between Shivpuri-Gwalior is generally OK, but has two stretches where Road has disappeared.
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  3. Shivpuri-Gwalior-Morena-Agra is a strech without many good food joints, so plan your break and don't let go off a good option in hope that another one will be round the corner. We had to take our lunch at around 4-5 PM at Agra because we couldn't find a eating joint after Gwalior.
  4. Get your tank full before leaving Jhansi. Jhansi to Orchha there is just 1 Fuel Pump.

I will sign off with a pic, A pic of the cleanest river in India - Chambal. Yes you heard it right - Chambal is the cleanest river in India. Thanks for reading and let me know your feedback!!!
Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!-dscn9660.jpg

Last edited by satishchugh : 7th July 2014 at 16:15.
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Old 7th July 2014, 16:28   #4
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Default re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

Thread moved to Travelogue section from Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th July 2014, 18:10   #5
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Default re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

I must say, I have been thinking about Orchcha for quite some time. For me it will be NH25 to Jhansi and then onto Orchcha. Now you are tempting me.
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Old 8th July 2014, 09:47   #6
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Default re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

^^ You should go there only when the monsoon has completely set in, maybe 2-3weeks after.
That way you will see the lush green country plus the Betwa in full flow.

I did this last year and took the normal route back from Orchha (though we went from Delhi via Shivpuri)

I remember that we got on this yet-to-be-opened-expressway where we were practically the only car for nearly 80 kms!!! This X-way joined up at Morena.

It was super fun , and never could believe that we had such a beautiful piece of tarmac available just for us !
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Old 8th July 2014, 17:08   #7
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Default Re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

Nice pictures and a crisp travelogue! Now Orchha is on my list too
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Old 9th July 2014, 09:13   #8
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Default Re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by akbaree View Post
I have to say that, being born in Gwalior, I feel embarrassed that I have not even heard of the historical gems in your post above. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to rest of the journey.
These gems (esp. Batesar) have recently become accessible. There is another awesome temple - Padawali on way from Batesar to Mitwali. I highly recommend paying a visit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
^^ You should go there only when the monsoon has completely set in, maybe 2-3weeks after.
That way you will see the lush green country plus the Betwa in full flow.

I did this last year and took the normal route back from Orchha (though we went from Delhi via Shivpuri)

I remember that we got on this yet-to-be-opened-expressway where we were practically the only car for nearly 80 kms!!! This X-way joined up at Morena.

It was super fun , and never could believe that we had such a beautiful piece of tarmac available just for us !
Exactly, Monsoon is the time!
Which expressway you are talking about? What places it was connecting. when I visited there was no expressway in Morena. Between I did this trip in August 2013 - it's just that I couldn't pen it down. However my recent Kumaon trip motivated me to write both about Hidden Gems of Chambal and a little known paradise in Kumaon (it's coming soon!)
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Old 9th July 2014, 09:59   #9
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Default Re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

Oh, I was hoping some of the regulars on this route would have been able to tell me on this X-way !!
It was yet to be inaugurated when I went in Jun'13, but there was no one to stop us though toll booths had been erected and the locals assured us that this will take us to Delhi- so we went.Praying all the way that there would be no unfinished/incomplete parts in our route- and there were none !

All I remember now is that it was a beautiful 6,8-lane modern highway and we did 100+ consistently
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Old 9th July 2014, 14:36   #10
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Default Re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

I must confess, the first time I read your title, a picture of dacoits flashed past in my mind.

Those are some fantastic pictures of the ruins and monuments and a very nice travelogue too. It is threads like these which inspire us (urban dwellers) to pack our bags and get out of the urban jungle, to discover some undiscovered/ unknown territories of our country.
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Old 11th July 2014, 09:40   #11
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Default Re: Gems of Chambal Valley & Orchha - BEATen on a Chevy!

Interesting comment S2, can't stop replying! We left Morena-Gwalior Highway (AH43) at Nurabad and took village roads to Bateshwar and Mitawali. The villagers on the raod were looking at us like we were aliens. At that time I am so worried that if something happens to my car, we can't even get down from car.

P.S. I am sure the people would have been nice. It's just that jeans/shorts were probably not appropriate attire for the villages we were driving in. No offence to anybody from Morena or nearby

Quote:
Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
I must confess, the first time I read your title, a picture of dacoits flashed past in my mind.

Those are some fantastic pictures of the ruins and monuments and a very nice travelogue too. It is threads like these which inspire us (urban dwellers) to pack our bags and get out of the urban jungle, to discover some undiscovered/ unknown territories of our country.
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