Sunday, 1 March 2009

Gwalior to Orccha (tribute to the train)

The Bhopal Shatabdi shooting its way through the landscape from Gwalior to Jhansi

We spent our last few hours in Gwalior taking in a few last sights, before continuing our journeys onwards towards the abandoned city of Orccha. To make this journey we took - as so often before - our favourite mode of transportation in India: The train.

India's Railways are allegedly the world's biggest employer with more than a million employees, and the network covers virtually the whole subcontinent. Travelling by Indian trains is not only a very comfortable alternative to the dangers and discomforts of travelling on the underdeveloped Indian highway system filled with aggressive and erratic drivers. But going by train in India is also an experience in it's own right.

The window of the Indian trains is also a window to rural India, showing brief snapshorts of a world largely untouched by increasing urban modernisation. I spent some time on the train standing in the open door trying to take a few pictures capturing a bit of this.

Another great thing is the fact that you always meet a lot of people on the train, and often end up talking to people you wouldn't normally engage in conversations.

Within a few hours we reached the station of Jhansi and took a rickshaw the last few kilometres to Orccha. More from Orccha will follow in next post.

A small palace which we randomly stumbled upon in Gwalior. If anyone knows the name of this place, please let me know in comments.

One of our last sights in Gwalior: The tomb of Afghan 16th Century prince Ghaus Mohammad

At the tomb of Ghaus Mohammad (or possibly a nearby tomb belonging toa musician called Tansen, not sure) people hang wedding invitations. The guest of honour won't make it in person of course, but perhaps in spirit?

A scene very familiar to those travelling in India by train: A station just before dusk (here it is in Delhi)

Chai-wallah stand open in the very early hours

Nitoli resting with a cup of chai on the train

Old man ploughing his field

One of our fellow passengers making faces

Workers digging for mud or some other material in an almost dried out riverbed

Two ladies making it home just before darkness falls

A hill full of stupas in front of the setting sun, seen from the train


oreneta said...

I visited India YEARS ago and loved taking the train....*sigh*

Esben said...

Yes, you haven't really been to India if you haven't gone on at least one train ride. It such a quintessential part of the experience.

ankur singh said...

that palace is called Moti Mahal ( Pearl Palace). & the small pond in front of it is called BaijaTal.

Esben said...

Thanks for the info Ankur :)