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Old 27th April 2011, 12:39   #61
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Superb action of Munna captured.
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Old 29th April 2011, 13:21   #62
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Epilogue

22nd April, 2011

I reached Jhansi at 8pm after having left Bhedaghat at 1 pm traversing some real bad roads that jarred my bones. Drove straight to the Sita Hotel (reccommended by HVK as the best) took an AC room for the night & settled.

23rd April, 2011

Got up leisurely around 7am and by 11:30 am after a hearty breakfast (wife didn't have - I would suffer the ramifications later), we were ready to take the last leg of our journey via Gwalior, Datia, Morena & Agra. Enroute saw mangoe trees laden with green mangoes (ambiyan) on both sides of the single lane road.

Stopped under one mangoe tree to freshen up and take pictures.

Green mangoes (ambiyan)

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-5008.jpg

While getting into the car, something shining on the rear right tyre caught my eye. Looked and found that it was an embedded nail and the air in the tyre was less. Poured some water on the nail and saw furious bubbles escaping. Took out the electronic tyre inflator and filled 40 psi & thought I would get it repaired in Gwalior.

Nailed

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Reached the outskirts of Gwalior around 2 pm as there was a lot of construction going on the new highway. Traversing through single lane roads passing through villages, taking various diversions through a mud-track, passing Tekanpur and finally entering Gwalior through Jalalpur was a nightmare.

As I was about to bypass Gwalior and take the Agra road, wifey piped - "Aren't you going through Gwalior City"?

I replied in negative and asked her why.

Her answer stumped me - "While on our way to Jhansi - Khajuraho on 12th April, we passed through the city market and there I spotted this famous kachoriwala. I wanted to eat the kachoris there". Oh, the mystery of not having breakfast at Jhansi was solved.

Turned around and after driving 12 kms entered the city labyrinth. On asking it was found that there were two famous kachoriwalas in Gwalior - S S Kachoriwala & Aligarh Wala halwai ke Kachori. Out of these two, S S was the most famous. Asking directions and going through lanes, choked roads, one-way streets, finally managed to reach S S Kachoriwala only to find the shutters down. Turned back, wife disappointed and having lost almost an hour & half headed towards the Agra highway. The clock showed 4:15 pm.

I wanted to cross Morena & the mighty Chambal during daytime. Did that safely and reached Agra via Dhaulpur around 6 pm. My son called called from home and asked me to bring some pethas for him. Stopped at the Panchchi Petha shop at the Agra Cant Sadar bazaar and got packed Angoori petha for home. While coming to the car saw the rear right tyre and suddenly remembered about the embedded nail. The air too was less. I had almost driven 200 + kms on some real bad roads on this tyre.

Immediately rushed to a tyre repair shop and got it repaired. Two nails were found and removed. Phew.. what a relief..

Did not take the bypass to Delhi and went through the city and reached NH 2. Filled diesel near the Mathura Refinery and was home by 12 midnight after encountering a huge traffic jam near Batra Hospital....!

Prologue starts now..../-

Last edited by Amartya : 5th January 2012 at 09:15. Reason: Edited based on reported post. Thanks.
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Old 29th April 2011, 14:09   #63
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Prologue starts now..../-
Promising end BCG ! Now awaiting the rest...
Nice twist to the begining of the end which was the end of the begining !
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Old 29th April 2011, 14:10   #64
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Any news on the state of the Agra "bypass"?
What is happening in Gwalior bypass - are they widening it? Do you have to go through the city?
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Old 29th April 2011, 16:18   #65
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Thanks. Starting soon

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Originally Posted by Guderian View Post
Promising end BCG ! Now awaiting the rest...
Nice twist to the begining of the end which was the end of the begining !
No news. Avoided the bypass on your advice only. Gwalior by-pass less said the better. Good in patches & horriblest elsewhere. Diversions lead to very very soft mud tracks that surely would need a Thar to cross. If momentum was not maintained, there were places I would have bogged down. Expansion work quite slow. One doesn't have to go through the city, I went because of some other reason..

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Any news on the state of the Agra "bypass"?
What is happening in Gwalior bypass - are they widening it? Do you have to go through the city?
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Old 29th April 2011, 16:49   #66
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GD Sahab,
Awaiting your magic to unfold here and cast us in a spell again.
Regards,
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Old 30th April 2011, 12:33   #67
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Prologue - Date: 12 April, 2011 - Time: 06:00 hrs

With reference to post #:25

The previous day was very tiring in the office (it happens everytime when I have to travel out), had to manage the last minute knick-knacks for the travel, took printouts of the hotel booking at Khajuraho and all the safari bookings at Bandhavgarh, Pench & Kanha and reached home by 11 pm after topping up the Scorpio's tank.

By this time the passenger list was also decided - Wife, Gauri (daughter & I. Son had college hence declined. TV switched off, AC switched on and alarm set for 1:45 am, I hit the sack. Immediately fell asleep as well.

The alarm rang at 1:45, opened half an eye, the body protested very loudly, reset the alarm for 4:45 and slipped into deep slumber. Woke with a start at 4:15 and reslept for another 30 minutes. That tired I was.

Woke when the alarm rang, shut it off and proceeded to get ready. Woke wife and daughter along also. By the time we all got ready and took the lift down to the car with the luggage, it was 5:40. Spent another 10 minutes loading and adjusting the luggage, switching on the car fridge and setting the temperature and it was time to roll.

Bid good-bye to son who had come down to see us off and started the car - Time: 06:00 am. We were exactly 4 hours late than planned earlier.

Took the Gurgaon-Faridabad road and after traversing some real bad patch within Faridabad, hit the NH 2 towards Agra. I had no plans to stop before Agra that I had expected to reach between 8:30 & 9 and was dreading that notorious Agra traffic.

Morning times are bad times for travel - the urge to relieve is greater and frequent. Nearing Mathura, wife and daughter asked if we could stop somewhere. The best option was Saagar Ratna on the highway. We stopped here for freshening up. Had breakfast of Onion Uttapam, Uppama, Mysore Masaala Dosa, Filter kaapi, Bournvita & Tea. Cleaned the windscreen and headed towards Gwalior.

Called up fellow TBHPian & friend Varun Kochchar for directions as both H V Kumar (HVK) & Varun had cautioned me not to take the by-pass. The reason - bad, unsafe & shady. And I was in no mood to battle the elements at the start of the journey. There was bigger menace in the form of Morena to tackle..

Varun guided me through the city on phone while that 'sexy' voice from the GPS went hoarse repeatedly asking me to take a u-turn and take the by-pass...!

Reached the Gwalior-Indore road via Bhagirathi Devi Marg and hit the highway. Excellant roads till now and the traffic was slowly picking up. To reach Gwalior one had to cross Morena and that brought up memories of the famous Bhind-Morena section, stories of the legendary Dacoits & their exploits, the Chambal river and its ravines. While earlier before the trip started, I had planned to leave somewhere around mid-night, getting to know of the Morena section, the thought was killed then & there. Even HVK said that though he had crossed that section at 1 am in the night all alone, it would be better if I cross in daylight.

After crossing Dhaulpur famous for its Dhaulpur stones 30 kms later neared Morena and saw this board.

Welcome Board

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4107.jpg

Well, I almost conjured up images of Daaku Maansingh, Dasyu Sundari Putlibai, Subedar Singh, Tehsildar Singh, Lukka Daaku, Madho Singh, Mohar Singh, Makhan Singh Phoolan, Seema Parihaar, Nirbhay Gujjar etc., standing on either side of the road to welcome me..." आपका हमारे प्रदेश में स्वागत है. आप यहाँ सुरक्षित हैं."

Shivered..

On both sides of the road were the famous ravines extending further deep miles away as far as the eye could see. I had to take pictures of these. My wife didn't want me to stop at that time too. But I did and took some pictures for records.

The Chambal Ravines

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4102.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4103.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4104.jpg

Crossed a decrepit rattling bridge over the mighty Chambal river, famous for its rare Gangetic Dolphins and the endangered Gharial.

Chambal River

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4105.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4106.jpg

After soaking in the scenery headed towards Gwalior that was about 45 kms away.

to be continued.../-

Last edited by aah78 : 30th April 2011 at 18:10. Reason: Edited on request.
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Old 30th April 2011, 14:38   #68
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Great narration.

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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
To reach Gwalior one had to cross Morena and that brought up memories of the famous Bhid-Morena section, stories of the legendary Dacoits & their exploits, the Chambal river and its ravines. While earlier before the trip started, I had planned to leave somewhere around mid-night, getting to know of the Morena section, the thought was killed then & there. Even HVK said that though he had crossed that section at 1 am in the night all alone, it would be better if I cross in daylight.


Well, I almost conjured up images of Daaku Maansingh, Dasyu Sundari Putlibai, Subedar Singh, Tehsildar Singh, Lukka Daaku, Madho Singh, Mohar Singh, Makhan Singh Phoolan, Seema Parihaar, Nirbhay Gujjar etc., standing on either side of the road to welcome me..." आपका हमारे प्रदेश में स्वागत है. आप यहाँ सुरक्षित हैं."

Shivered..

On both sides of the road were the famous ravines extending further deep miles away as far as the eye could see. I had to take pictures of these. My wife didn't want me to stop at that time too. But I did and took some pictures for records.
Even I crossed this section at night in a convoy of two vehicles - a Landrover Defender and a gypsy during my cross country drive last year. The only dacotiy that I encountered around this area was the balant unreasonable fine that was imposed on our luggage by the rto of Rajasthan around the place where you photographed the chambal ravines.

Bhid-Morena section is very safe these days. Been there-done that statement.

regards,
Dr. A Ghoash
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Old 30th April 2011, 15:42   #69
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See I wasn't wrong. Since I travelled daytime, forget RTO, didn't encounter a picket even - legal or illegal.

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Great narration.

Even I crossed this section at night in a convoy of two vehicles - a Landrover Defender and a gypsy during my cross country drive last year. The only dacotiy that I encountered around this area was the balant unreasonable fine that was imposed on our luggage by the rto of Rajasthan around the place where you photographed the chambal ravines.

Bhid-Morena section is very safe these days. Been there-done that statement.

regards,
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Old 30th April 2011, 16:01   #70
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Superb pictures and excellent narration. Your lucky to have visited 4 national parks in one shot. Look forward to the pictures unfold along with the story.

Btw, Agree on the dakku part, we took were thinking the same when we passed those wierd landscape of Morena during my north trip that I did during Dec/Jan 2011. I took the same route back to Hyderabad but, not from Delhi but, from Meerut.

Meerut-Aligarh-Agra-Gwalior-Morena-Nagpur-Hyderabad.

Some patches were nightmarish and some exactly opposite, truly glorious.
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Old 1st May 2011, 11:11   #71
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As indicated earlier, my first stop for the night was going to be Khajuraho and it was 11 am when I headed towards Gwalior. Though I was inclined to see the Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace & the famed Scindia School, paucity of time and the disinclination of wife & daughter of visiting these places in the hot sun prompted me to drive on further.

With the Garmin GPS guiding me through the city, I missed the by-pass resulting in my wife spotting a shop selling hot kachoris (she did not note the name) and making a mental note of it.

Traversing through the city reached NH 75 towards Jhansi and the nightmare started. A 6 lane by-pass is being constructed that has beautiful tarred roads in patches. There are no signages at all. Some of the regulars/locals who know the route take that partly constructed by-pass. For the rest it is the old single lane Sate Highway that passes through Dabra, Tekanpur & Datia to Jhansi.

I reached a fork where the signage to the diversion to the old SH was there; debating what to do, saw two trucks and a car take the by-pass. I too followed them and lived to regret it later. While I made good speed on the tarred roads, lost time on mud tracks and bone jarring pot holes at other. Many a times I was the only traveller on the road. I knew I was on the right track as my GPS showed the old SH running parallel at a distance.

A distance of 100 odd kms that I would have normally covered in 2-3 hours, took almost 4 hours and I reached Jhansi around 3:30pm.

Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

I always held Jhansi in awe. Why? I visited Jhansi with my parents as a 12 year old kid. The only memory I've of that period is that of a visit to the Jhansi fort and standing beneath that "burj" (watch-tower) and looking up in awe the spot from where Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi jumped down on horseback to escape being captured by the British forces. The burj appeared so very high from the ground to that gawky 12 year old kid that I, till date, always wondered how one could even think of jumping let alone jump.

That visit then inspired and helped me so much that I was able to remember the entire poem, written by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan eulogising the bravery of Rani Jhansi, by heart as it was a part of my school curriculum in Varanasi. Now with passing of time I only remember the first stanza that I'm reproducing below:

सिंहासन हिल उठे राजवंशों ने भृकुटी तानी थी,
बूढ़े भारत में आई फिर से नयी जवानी थी,
गुमी हुई आज़ादी की कीमत सबने पहचानी थी,
दूर फिरंगी को करने की सबने मन में ठानी थी।
चमक उठी सन सत्तावन में, वह तलवार पुरानी थी,
बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी,
खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी
।।

I wanted my family to be a part of that glorious history and over-ruling all objections said that the visit to the fort is a must to see that "burj" even if we don't go inside due to shortage of time.

Thus we went to the fort; it looked as imposing & awe-inspiring as it was 40 years ago. My father had a Agfa Billy (made in germany) film camera with a Agfa Agnar Vario Lens 1:6.3 that used to take a B&W 120mm film. That camera has been inherited by me and is in my possession in fully working condition in its original leather case. I love the way its bellows unfold. I don't know if he had taken any photographs then. Will have to check the family albums.

Today I had a modern photographic gadget in my hand I wasn't going to miss this opportunity.

The 'Burj' - Watch Tower (Indian Flag flying) from where Rani Jhansi jumped

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4108.jpg

A record shot of the Fort with The Bull in foreground

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4113.jpg

After looking over the Fort once again and loudly reciting - बुंदेले हरबोलों के मुँह हमने सुनी कहानी थी, खूब लड़ी मर्दानी वह तो झाँसी वाली रानी थी।। headed towards Hotel Sita (recommended by HVK as the best in Jhansi) for lunch.

Hotel Sita was hardly a km away from the Fort. Had a lunch of French Toasts, Egg Sandwiches, Chowmein and hot beverages. Freshened up, drove on our way to Khajuraho about 180 kms away.

Just after the Jhansi City, crossed a bridge over the Betwa, stopped to take a picture and headed further. Time: 4:40 pm.

Fisherman on a small dinghy in the calm waters of Betwa

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4116.jpg

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 1st May 2011 at 11:27.
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Old 1st May 2011, 15:38   #72
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The road to Khajuraho was nice, single laned & smooth, but it passed through many small villages enroute. These villages were festooned with saffron flags and big posters of Hanumanji lined up on both sides of the road. Intrigued, I slowed down at one village and asked from a fruit vendor what was all this about. 11th of April was hanuman jayanti and the villagers celebrated it with fervour. This very fervour was to become a road-block for us a few kilometres down the road.

Dusk came and gone it was night time. I had already crossed Chattarpur and was about 35 kms away from Khajuraho at Brajpura that I saw a huge procession in the front with loud music blaring. Police had put up barriers on the road and were preventing vehicles to go on. I stopped near the barrier and asked a policeman - "what's going on"? He informed that the villagers have taken out a procession to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti and this could go on for long. I told him that I was headed towards Khajuraho and asked for his help.

He told me a detour. I thanked him and took the detour. After some time the road vanished and it was mud track of the village. I was lost completely. The GPS was showing NH 75 in a distance and I tried going towards that road. Failed, as the mud-track ended abruptly in front of a hut..! Turned back and after a few metres saw an Omni. Waved him down and asked for directions. He was very kind to ask me to follow him and after driving for about 20 minutes through the labyrinthine tracks of some villages, I was finally back on NH 75. I asked the Omni driver if I would encounter more such processions enroute. He replied in negative. Thanked him. Elated I stepped on the pedal. Had already lost some very precious time. Since I was spending only a night at Khajuraho i wanted to reach well in time to catch the sound & light show.

I had made prior bookings online at the MPTDC's Hotel Payal. The GPS guided me perfectly to the Hotel and after reaching presented the printout of the booking. I was shown to my room that was spacious and nice with a desert cooler installed. The receptionist told me that there was still some time before the 2nd show of the Son-et-Lumière would start and that I should order for dinner first and then go as the restaurant would close by 10:30.

MPTDC's Hotel Payal

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4118.jpg

Well, the Son-et-Lumière was not destined for us. Mother & daughter took their own sweet time to freshen-up and we missed the opportunity. Well, ordered dinner, ate in the restaurant and then hit the bed. We had to get up early so that we could finish sight-seeing within 3 hours and then leave for Bandhavgarh.

to be continued.../-

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Old 1st May 2011, 18:08   #73
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Date: 13th April, 2011 - Khajuraho

Utter the word Khajuraho and it immediately brings up images of the erotica & reference to that world famous sex tome - Kama Sutra. but, there is more to it than the erotica.

This city was the cultural capital of the Chandelas who ruled here from the 10th to 12th century. The Khajuraho temples were built over a span of 200 years, from 950 to 1150. Out of the 85 temples built only 22 survive presently.

These 22 temples are spread over a vast area and are demarcated in three zones - Eastern, Western & Southern. The Western group of temples are the most magnificient and popular. At the entry gate are the authorised Government Guides who charge Rs.750/- for a trip. This does not include the entry fee of Rs. 10/- per person.

The sculptures carved show day-to-day mundane activities as well and the expressions, the body contour etc., give it life. The information about Khajuraho is now available everywhere. I would rather let the pictures do the talking.

The Laksmana Temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4121.jpg

Varahavatar of Vishnu

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4122.jpg

A sculpture of a lady

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4124.jpg

A panel on the outside of Lakshman temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4128.jpg

A doctor removing thorn from the sole of an aristocratic lady

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4137.jpg

Death sentence - crushing by the elephant

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4138.jpg

Artistic drain of the temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4139.jpg

Three-headed idol of Vishnu's incarnations, Narasimha and Varaha in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4142.jpg

Some finely sculpted sculptures inside the temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4144.jpg

An erotic panel outside the temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4150.jpg

Two men in a fierce fight

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4155.jpg

Soldiers marching for war

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4156.jpg

A lady seeing herself in mirror

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4174.jpg

The Kandariya Mahadev temple

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4140.jpg

Idol of Paravti

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4176.jpg

Some more temples

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4158.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4159.jpg

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4160.jpg

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The tour ended. It was very very hot and we were exhausted & dehydrated too. Took a taxi and reached the hotel. Freshened up, had a hearty breakfast and loaded the luggage in the Scorpio. Did not have to pay anything as the breakfast was included in the room rent. Got the car washed and cleaned and by 1pm were ready to roll for Bandhavgarh that was about 240 kms away. Enroute was a mouth watering proposition for my wife, that she didn't know and I would surprise her. All that in my next post...!

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 1st May 2011 at 18:18.
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Old 2nd May 2011, 10:15   #74
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Wow. Hotel payal and Khajuraho pictures, Beautiful. Thanks for refreshing my memory (November 2010) Sir.
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Old 3rd May 2011, 22:19   #75
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Left Khajuraho around 12 noon and headed towards Bandhavgarh. Enroute was the Panna Tiger Reserve.

Panna had a similar history as that of Sariska and all the Tigers had been wiped out. Only recently 4 Tigers were relocated from Kanha in phases the last one a Tigress - T 04 being transferred on 27th March, 2011.

Reached the outskirts of the forest and there the road split into a fork - one leading to Amangunj and the other to Satna. While I was sure about the route to Bandhavgarh via Satna, wasn't so sure about the one via Amangunj.

HVK & Abheek did suggest the route via Amangunj as it goes through the buffer zone of the Panna forest & is more scenic, but by that time it was too late - I had already taken the route via Satna. I passed a gate that said Panna Tiger Reserve. Stopped, took a picture of the entry gate and drove on. Since my itinerary was already planned & timed, I had not included Panna in the schedule.

Panna Tiger Reserve

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4181.jpg

Man proposes, God disposes; an old saying. The route to Bandhavgarh via Satna would take me through Maihar, while via Amangunj would have left-out Maihar.

Why suddenly Maihar?

I've a familial connection with Maihar through my marriage. Maihar is world famous for two things - Maa Sharada Mandir & Padma Vibhushan Baba Allaudin Khan Saheb.

My late father-in-law Pt. Satyadev Pawar was amongst the first disciples of Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan, the legendary son of a legendary father. My father-in-law had gifted me a rare photograph of Maa Sharada that is hung in my bedroom above my bed.

Maa Sharada

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It was probably destiny that made me take the Satna route to Bandhavgarh and in the process drove into Maihar, visited the 'mazaar' of Baba, took a round of the house, stood in his bedroom, looked at all his instruments that he played (rumoured to play 100 instruments with dexterity) and felt at peace. This made my wife more than happy, emotional and content.

Baba's bust at the start of the road where his house is located

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4185.jpg

Baba's mazaar

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4186.jpg

Baba's house (named after his wife)

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4187.jpg

Baba's bedroom

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Baba's instruments

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4193.jpg

Inside Baba's home

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4192.jpg

It is said that you visit the temples, especially the shakti peeths, only if the divine call is there. For me it was so so near yet so far. Maa Sharada didn't call me, I didn't get to climb the 1063 stairs to pay my obeisance to her that Baba used to climb every single day of his life till he breathed his last. Paucity of time (it was 4:40 pm) was the excuse that I gave to myself. I shall regret this for ever.

Drove on and after crossing Barhi, a village on the outskirts of forest, entered the buffer of Bandhavgarh. The beautiful single lane transformed into lunar landscape. The last 7 kms to Tala village was worse than ladakh.

I shall be doing injustice if I do not mention Dr. Abheek Ghosh, a cardiologist from Nagpur, a wildlife conservationist, resident expert on Pench and a great friend & host.

My trip would not have even passed the conception stage if Abheek had not stepped in. My boarding, lodging & the jeep safaris at Bandhavgarh, Pench & Kanha were totally taken care of by him. I only had to do the online safari bookings at each of the forests. i will not praise him much or else his heart will bloat. Thank you Abheek for everything.

During discussing the trip, I had stressed to Abheek that I generally do not like to spend a lot on boarding & lodging and am a budget traveller. Poor Abheek, he took this literally and booked me in Bandhavgarh in a hotel/motel called Kolkata Kutir.

Reached Tala village, let out a sigh of relief and the GPS beautifully guided me to my lodgings as the co-ordinates were already mailed to me by Abheek. Well, to be honest, it was too budgety and my wife baulked on seeing the accommodation. Abheek's contact at Bandhavgarh, Mukesh Burman immediately organised a different better accommodation called the Tiger Heaven resort. It was a wonderful place with huge spacious room with a big desert cooler. We settled in, thanked Abheek & Mukesh. The safari was to start the next day in the morning. We had three safaris in Bandhavgarh.

Tiger Heaven Resort

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4238.jpg

Our Room

Gurgaon - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh - Pench - Kanha - Bhedaghat - Gurgaon-4239.jpg

Room #:2 right in the front under the arch

to be continued.../-

Last edited by gd1418 : 3rd May 2011 at 22:20.
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