Ashok’s Wedding and Date with Nature

Some months back I had received a threat call from a friend. It was his way of inviting me to his wedding. He said since he was informing me well in time, no excuses would be entertained. It turned out that similar threats had been issued to many other people in the circle. Some even received threat reminders on SMS.

So as 6th March, 2011 (Ashok’s wedding day) approached we began planning a trip to Jhansi. It was decided that the group would depart from Delhi to Jhansi on the morning of 5th March. So, the out – of –towners (Abhay and Anshuman) arrived on the night of the 4th. At 7:30 am on the 5th we hit the road to Jhansi. We were a group of 6 (Abhay, Anshuman, Ayush, Chatur , Kapil and myself) and we were traveling in 2 cars (Kapil’s and mine). We set out in high spirits and soon were exceeding 100 kmph on NH –2 . We were making very good progress and we reached Agra by 12:30 despite taking a hour long break for breakfast. We decided to cross Agra and have lunch at some dhaba after crossing the city. Little did we notice that our journey had just begun.

As we saw it we had covered half the distance and should be good to reach Jhansi by 6 pm. Destiny however, had it own plans. A wrong turn meant that it took us more than 90 minutes to get out of Agra. We were starting to feel hungry and it was decided that we would stop for lunch at some decent Dhaba on Nh-3 (from Agra to Jhansi). We were speeding down NH-3 but no good dhabas appeared for a long time. Finally hunger overcame us and we stopped at a dhaba that was mostly used by truck drivers. After having a fulfilling meal we sped forward. Soon we were on the Rajasthan – MP border , when suddenly the landscape changed. Sandy ravines seemed to spread far and wide in all directions. While were busy absorbing the raw beauty of the ravines, the Chambal river appeared straight ahead and soon we were crossing the old rickety bridge that spans this beautiful river. Legend has it that this river has a curse. This curse has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. There are no temples or cremation grounds along the entire course of this river. The scourge of the famous bandits of the Chambal in the 60s and the 70s ensured that people and development stayed away from the Chambal river valley. The result is that the Chambal is probably the most pristine of all the river systems in the country today. The river is stunningly beautiful and the dry and sandy landscape make her look even more beautiful. Since we were running late we decided not to stop and were more focussed on devouring mile after mile while it was still day. We crossed Morena and reached Gwalior by 5 pm. Jhansi is 119 kilometres from Gwalior and the two cities are connected by NH-76. Considering we were consistently driving at speeds between 80 to 120 kmph, we figured out we should be in Jhansi by 7 pm.

The catch however was that the NH exists only on Google Maps. It is more of a rocky, muddy path with numerous diversions and construction sites in between. Actual construction work however was no where to be spotted. It took us 5 hours to negotiate this stretch and we reached Jhansi and Ashok’s home by 10 pm. We were all exhausted. 14 hours of driving in a day is bound to tire out even professional drivers. We had tasty meal at Ashok’s place and then retired for the night.

The next morning we decided to utilize the day by paying a visit to the Orchha temple not very far from Jhansi. Orchha is a small settlement in MP and is the ancient capital of Bundelkhand. Ashok told us about a shortcut to Orchha that would take us there in just 10 km as opposed to 40 km that the highway would make us cover, The path went along the right bank of a canal and soon we were bumping along a mud trail traversing some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. And then suddenly the Orchha temple came into view. Grand is the only word that does some justice to what lay ahead of us. Chatur exclaimed “Ashok is getting married in Cambodia!”. The temple seemed to give Angkor Vat in Cambodia a fair run for its money. A quick darshan was followed by a visit to the Orchha fort. By 3pm we were cruising towards Jhansi, taking the highway this time. We were back to our room by 5pm and got busy in getting ready for the big event of the night – Ashok’s wedding.

Soon the moment arrived and the baraat departed for the wedding venue. We danced like crazy but stopped after sometime mindful of the fact that another 14 hours of driving beckoned us the next morning. Ashok’s nervous and sleepy ( he yawned several times) expression tuned into a smile as he saw Pragya walking towards him. She looked resplendent in her bridal attire and they took looked just made for each other. We left for the room after Jaimaal inorder to catch some sleep before the next day’s ordeal. We woke up early and wished Askok and Pragya before we left and soon we were on highway. This time we decided to take the Chambal Safari and it was awesome. We saw Mugger crocs, Ghariyaals, a turtle , an array of beautiful migratory birds but the crown jewel of all was the Gangetic River Dolphin. It appeared for a spilt second and disappeared soon. The motorboat ride on the Chambal would remain fresh in my memory forever, Even far away from the river banks, the water was so clear one could see the river bed and the multitude of fish that inhabit it. It was like boating on a huge aquarium,

However, we did not have much time to spare as Abhay had to board his flight to Mumbai from Delhi and soon hit the road again. We reached Delhi by 8 pm and thus ended a very tiring yet fulfilling roadtrip to Jhansi. The trip had it all – adventure, friendship, party and above all great natural beauty.

PS: I have posted this using Windows Live Writer, a free blogging tool from Microsoft and I must say it rocks!
Tags:  , ,

2 comments to Ashok’s Wedding and Date with Nature

  • RS  says:

    very interesting read. i have missed for so long the fun of stopping anywhere you like on a road-trip. 14 hours a very long drive by the way.

  • Kinshuk  says:

    🙂

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>