My Lazy Weekend in Jhansi, India.
This weekend I visited the town of Jhansi in Madya Pradesh, central India. Jhansi was a quiet town - folks were polite and helpful (unlike Delhi). Quite a few tourists backpacking in Jhansi, India who arrived by the Bhopal Shatabdi train. Lots of ladies drove around on scooters and cycles, so I bet it was safe for women too. Auto rickshaws in Jhansi were six-seater and costed less than at Delhi. The food was downright cheap - I bought a plate of mutton biryani for Rs.10 and cutlets for Rs.2. I actually felt like I has gone back in time.
Jhansi is well known for the fire brand Queen of Jhansi - Rani Lakshmibai. Born in 1835 in Varanasi, she was trained by her father in horse riding, sword fighting and shooting a gun. She married Raja Gangadhar Rao of Jhansi at the age of 7 and was widowed when she was 18 years. When the Britishers did not accept her adopted son as the heir of Jhansi and ordered her to leave the fort, she assembled an army of warriors that included women. As the British army entered Jhansi in 1858, Rani of Jhansi rode on to the battlefeild dressed like a man and fought till she died in Gwalior. She was only 22. Today, Rani of Jhansi is recognized as a freedom figher and martyr who fought in the First War of Indian Independence of 1857.
I visited the Jhansi Fort from where many battles were fought. Here is a pic from my sister's Sony Ericcson mobile phone.
We picnicked on the lawns of the Jhansi Fort and were joined my a group of monkeys. That's when the French perfume my uncle had gifted me came handy. One spray and the monkeys took off at top speed. Lying on the grass with the blue sky overhead, listening to the birds singing from the wide branches of the tamarind trees, it seemed as it time had stopped. I fell asleep and woke up an hour later when my friend dragged the mat from under me and started packing up.
I also visited the Saint Jude Shrine Church in Jhansi which was crowded with many people on a pilgrimage and backpackers. This shrine is known to be very miraculous, as people can get the 'impossible'. I lit some candles and asked for some mannat's (prayer wishes). The church was very beautiful with arches, pillars and a dome. It was started by Maltese missionaries in Jhansi before Independence.
I had originally planned to visit all the backpacking tourist attractions like the Museum, Rani Mahal and Ganesh Mandir, but there was no time. Here is a pic of a Rani Jhansi statue on one of the roundabouts (gol chakkars) in Jhansi. Other roundabouts had a miniature version of the 'Gyarah Murti' statue located on Sardar Patel Marg in Delhi or Swami Vivekananda.
I travelled by the Bhopal Shatabdi Express which stops at travel destinations like Agra, Gwalior and Jhansi first. Unlike the usual trains it had a toilet where the 'naturals' don't fall onto the track but into a tank. I remember the last time I travelled by train, my watch fell down the toilet and onto the tracks somewhere near Ballarpur. The only thing that upset me on the trip was the behaviour of this guy with a pock marked face who complained that the on-train food was served late and created a huge ruckus shouting at the catering manger for almost an hour.
So, how was your weekend ?