Road Trip Through Madhya Pradesh [ Gwalior, Orccha, Jabalpur, Bandhavgarh, Khajuraho]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Road Trip Through Madhya Pradesh [ Gwalior, Orccha, Jabalpur, Bandhavgarh, Khajuraho]

Starting the new year with a post on my road trip through Madhya Pradesh, India. Madhya Pradesh is geographically in the middle of India. It's a state that boasts of hills, rivers, national parks and an overload of heritage. The land known for providing the basis of Kama Sutra, Madhya Pradesh is a lot more. Come join me as I narrate the entire journey from Greater Noida (situated on the border of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh) through 5 locations in Madhya Pradesh.

I will try and do a summary post listing down the route, condition of the roads and the total toll you need to give at each place. All this information is in the narrative as well; seat belts on, let's zip ahead!


***********************



Throughout our road trip Google maps helped us navigate our route to avoid traffic and also led us unto unknown roads and dead ends at times. Most of our hotel bookings were done en-route. The trip was through Gwalior, Orchha, Bedhaghat (Jabalpur), Bandhavgarh and Khajuraho.

We started from Greater Noida around 8:20 am and took the Yamuna Agra Expressway.
If you are coming from Delhi you need to take the Greater Noida expressway and then head onto the Yamuna Expressway to go towards Agra. There is a toll of Rs 415 upto Agra. Make sure you keep the toll ticket because you will be required to show it once more on the expressway towards the end. We stopped for using the restrooms at a place right before the exit for Vrindavan. You can stop here for food and coffee. It's a nicely maintained place and you won't find anything else this clean for a long time ahead so do make sure you use the restrooms here rather than waiting for later. There is no toilet paper here so make sure you carry your own. We entered Agra around 10:15 am and there another toll of Rs 35 as you enter the city.

On the Taj inner ring road you can spot the Taj Mahal behind the houses on your right about 500 meters before the Taj Crossing. It will only be a glimpse so don't worry if you miss it.

We then took NH44 from Agra to Gwalior. It is a double lane road with slow moving vehicles. After Taj City Crossing Google took us on a very narrow lane through a local residential area (might have saved us some time) but you can follow the Mall Road onto NH44.

Another toll of Rs 70 at toll plaza Sayina on NH44 about 86Km before Gwalior.

Near Dholpur you will cross a bridge called the Chambal bridge, there are old fort ruins on your left and a river flowing below the bridge worth looking at as you drive by.

From Agra to Gwalior there are no proper restaurants or dhabbas where you can stop for food tea or restrooms - make sure you are carrying essential food and drinks with you. I enjoyed fox nuts and chocolates. We had a whole bag full of eatables, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange drink bottles, water and apples.

Morena is another crowded area you will cross enroute to Gwalior. There is another toll of Rs 60 after Morena (30KM before Gwalior) The road after this toll is better with less traffic. You can spot Mustard fields on both sides of the road with beautiful yellow flowers blooming.

We spotted the Shubhim Highway Treat 17 km before Gwalior, made a pit stop for using the restrooms. 2 mins after this Google took us onto the Mumbai Agra highway instead of continuing on NH44. The Mumbai Agra highway is a narrow road which is bumpy and has quite a few potholes.
Later we came onto the Gwalior Road - Gwalior road to Jail road towards DDCity mall in Gwalior (right next to our hotel) is an extremely crowded area. The roads here are one-way roads mostly. The mall itself is pretty sad if you compare it with Delhi but a place where you will find  Pizza Hut and Mc'Donalds along with the standard food court with Indian and Chinese options. It was 25th December but the weather was extremely sunny and hot.

We stayed at Clarks Inn which looked really nice from the reception area. The parking in-front of the hotel is limited since it is located right on the road but valet parking is available. The rooms were decent but nothing spectacular. Our booking was last minute and this was the best value option out of the remaining places. We knew we would just need a place to sleep at night and did not plan on spending any time at the hotel so something basic was fine. After resting for half an hour we headed straight out for food before starting our tour of the Gwalior city.

JaiVilas Palace Museum

At 2:20 pm we came to Jaivilas Palace Museum - google took us to the gate which is closed and parking is around the other side so make sure to ask for directions. Jaivilas Palace was constructed by Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia in 1874 with a total area of 12,40,771 square feet. It is 100 feet long, 50 feet wide and 41 feet in height. At the museum you need to pay for your ticket Rs 120 per person and they charge Rs 100 for mobile phones and Rs 150 for video cameras. We spoke to the guy at the counter and told him we won't be using our mobiles inside, he told us we can just pay for the camera and take everything inside. So we paid Rs 150 and took our mobile phones and the DSLR on that ticket. Bags are not allowed inside so leave them back in your car. Ladies are allowed to carry a purse but they will seal it up with plastic ribbons so that you can't open the purse if required. In case you have any special medication please talk to the person at the ticket counter. We found people were generally helpful everywhere throughout MP.

Dining hall with a table train (shown in front)

We spent around 2 hours at the Jaivilas Museum - there were so many artifacts on display with stories about them for you to read. What caught my eye was the uniquely shaped turban that the royalty of the palace used to wear. The turban art is dying and there is now only one person alive who knows how to tie this turban. He is old and none of his children want to carry his lineage forward since this is a very low paying job. I was surprised why they hadn't turned this into a tourist affair where the person could allow people to click pictures with his turban and charge money for it!
Another item that you must go see is housed in the Durbar Hall. It's a pair of two huge crystal chandeliers - 3.5 ton each! The Darbar Hall is room in which they are exhibited has a ceiling and furnishings with gold amounting to a total 560 kg gold motifs.

Durbar Hall - Jaivilas Palace


Jaivilas Palace - Fashion of the Royal kind
Jaivilas Palace - Fashion of the Royal kind

All Crystal Lord Krishna Temple
Jaivilas Palace, Gwalior
Jaivilas Palace, Gwalior

Jaivilas Palace, Gwalior
Jaivilas Palace, Gwalior

I'm not a museum kind of person but I actually enjoyed going through this place.

There was a small tea-snack shop right outside the palace where we got tea just like homemade tea!

After this we headed to the Urvai gate of the Gwalior Fort. Gwalior Fort is situated on a hill and as you drive in from the Urvai gate you will notice huge Jain Statues on both sides. On your right a little onwards you will notice a 58 foot statue of Lord Adinatha. When we reached the top of the fort we parked our car in the parking lot and walked to the ticket counter. It was 5:15 - everything inside closes at 5 (Man Singh Palace,  Teli Ka Mandir, Sas Bahu Mandir) but there is a sound and light show with two time slots - a show in Hindi at 6:30, English at 7:30. You can buy the ticket and attend any one show that you like. After getting our ticket (I think it was for Rs 120 per person) we had time to explore the place. We walked down towards the Chaturbhuj temple which is a small Vishnu temple inside the fort - I was very excited to visit this because it is said to have the first proof that the number 0 was discovered in India. A small epitaph inside has inscriptions within which lies the 0.

Chaturbhuj Temple - Gwalior Fort

Vishnu Idol - Inside Chaturbhuj Temple, Gwalior Fort

Be prepared to walk a lot, the path is steep. Carry a bottle of water as well. On your decent from the Chaturbhuj you will notice other small temples within the fort. After walking all the way down we climbed back up to see the 6:30 pm show. The show is mainly a sound show in which they light up certain parts of the fort in different colors that go with the story about the fort. The weather became very chilly by this time. Carry a jacket and a warm cap. Flash photography is prohibited. The show is interesting if you want to hear the narration about the history of the fort in the voice of Mr Amitabh Bachhan. After the show we called it a day, went back to our hotel and dozed off after a basic meal (service at the restaurant in Clarks Inn is really poor and something they should work on!)

Sunrise, Gwalior Fort

Next day we woke up early and came back to the fort around 7 to see the sun rise. We got tickets for the 3 places inside the fort (Rs 15 per person for all three places). This ticket office is located well inside the fort (a little farther down from the place which sells the tickets for the light and sound show). Our first halt was Man Singh Palace which is right opposite the ticket counter. The palace is bare and basically a ruin of what might have once been a beautiful living space befitting a maharaja. You can spend around 10 mins here as there is nothing much to do.

Gwalior Fort, Road Trip Madhya Pradesh
Gwalior Fort

Gwalior Fort, Road Trip Madhya Pradesh
Gwalior Fort
From here we came back to the car parking and drove down to the Gurudwara Data Bandi inside the fort (in the sound & light show you can learn about the story of Guru Hargobind who was imprisoned within the fort) From here we drove to the Sas Bahu temple which is now almost in ruins but the structure stands tall and looks magnificent. You will notice that the Mughals have destroyed the images such that their heads have been broken off. I noticed this throughout the place.

Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior
Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior


Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior
Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior

Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior
Sas Bahu Temple - Gwalior


Right opposite the Gurudwara on the Scindia road is the Teli Ka Mandir - a small mandir which has a beautiful architecture.

Teli Ka Mandir, Gwalior Fort
Teli Ka Mandir - Gwalior Fort

Carvings at Teli Ka Mandir - Gwalior Fort
As you exit the fort towards Urvahi gate you will again see the huge engraving of Adinath in the rocks along with more such engravings on the right. We stopped here this time to take a few pictures, you are not allowed to click a picture of yourself with the sculptures, a guard is posted here to make sure you follow this rule. This is called the Gopalcha rock. Another site marked as Gopalcha can be found a few metres ahead of Clarks Inn, this is the place of the Jain temple.
Around 9 am we arrived back at our hotel for breakfast. After showering and packing we left for Orchha.


Gopalcha Parvat (Hill) - Gwalior Fort


**********************

The story towards Orchha continues in the next post!


Follow Me On Instagram | | Pin It

33 comments:

  1. What an incredible trip! I hope I'll be able to visit one day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG, I have never been to India but I have always wanted to visit some day. My friend is going to India for a month at the end of January as part of her sabbatical. She is an art professor, and lately she has become a fabric artist, and she makes dyes. She chose India to learn dying techniques. I don't know if she's going to Gwalior, but I will tell her about your photos - the temples are stunningly beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh great! Do tell her about Khajuraho as well - my post on that will be last in the series coming out next week

      Delete
  3. I would love to visit India. I love watching Bollywood movies and it's in my bucket list to visit it one day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, so you are a Bollywood movie fan. Hope you get to visit soon

      Delete
  4. What beautiful architecture! This looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait till you see the post on Khajuraho, my last stop!

      Delete
  5. I absolutely love looking at the architecture of a place and you've shared some amazing ones. It's also so sad to be about the turban tying gentleman! These amazing arts are dying out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah I wish the government could step in and help in some way

      Delete
  6. Wow sounds like an incredible trip!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is an amazing trip. I hope I can get to these places one day

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a neat adventure with so many great things to see!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a fun road trip! I would love to visit those places some day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your travel posts, I get to learn about so many new places! I'm an American and I would love to see India.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you Stacie! I hope you get to visit some day

      Delete
  11. This sounds like it was an amazing trip and the photos are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, I can't even imagine being there and seeing so many ancient relics. It sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gwalior Fort is one of the biggest fort in central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.It was built in around 8th century on an isolated hillock overlooking the Gwalior town. Very interesting post .... for visiting more places in Gwalior and Nearby, you can book our cab services ..: - https://www.bharattaxi.com/gwalior

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent and very useful blog. Love to see more blogs of other famous Indian tourist attractions. Khajuraho is very famous since the tourism started in India. It is famous for its beautiful sculptures depicting celestial beauties in several postures... Khajuraho. I really like this interesting post.
    We are provide Taxi services in all over India. Bharat Taxi is one of the best provide tourist vehicles for your journey. For more details visit our sites: Taxi Services .

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments. Its great to connect with you here but its my humble request - please do not leave marketing links here. If you would like me to visit your blog just leave a text message instead of hyper links!

linkwithin