Monday, 20 April 2009

Village Life in Orccha

A friendly local

India as a country is filled with interesting sights be they natural, historical, archaeological etc. But what has the potential to turn any travel experience in India from "just" great to truly unforgettable is the people. Not only are the Indian people exotic (to a westerner) in every sense of the word, they also have that unique sense of hospitality and curiousness towards strangers, which we have sadly long forgotten about in the West. Meeting locals and often visiting them in their homes have given me and Nitoli of our greatest moments in India.

People's homes in Orccha

Stands selling multi-coloured dye

As in the west this openness to strangers is fading in the bigger cities, such as Delhi, which is why it is all the more enjoyable to visit smaller towns and villages. Although Orccha is a bit of a tourist hotspot there it is still sufficiently off the main tourist trails to allow many authentic glimpses of real village life.

A not-so-Indian pizza in a small family run Orccha restaurant

Orccha village

When Nitoli and I spent our afternoon on top of the temple with the tower of vultures (see my last post) we were given access by a young local man (top picture), who ended up spending several hours with us up there and just asked for a small tip. Afterwards he surprisingly invited us to come visit his home and we accepted: We have after all been in India long enough to have a good sense of when invitations are genuine and when they come with a hidden agenda - this one was perfectly sincere.

Soon we were joined by several of his neighbours, especially many young girls who were keen to show off how well they could imitate the newest Bollywood moves. One of them had reasonably won a local talent dancing contest.

The dance contest winner

Those Bollywood moves

Ladies from the neighbourhood watching

Exchanging addresses - postal that is, not email