MP’s orchha is a fascinating medieval city with a modern hamlet winding out of it. Built by the bundela dynasty of Bundelkhand, its palace –fort complex rises in multiple tiers, using the Betwa as a natural mot, and it hides within its corridors, terraces, chhatris, halls, rooms and courtyards, a wealth of pleasant and unpleasant legends. There is the tale of the murder and beheading of Adbar’s advisor at the behest of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s son. Fleeing from the wrath of his father, Jehangir hid here in the specially built Jehangir hid here in the specially built Jehangir Mahal with elephant stables and murals inside. Murals also decorate other monuments in Orchha such as the Raj Mahal, which overlooks the hamlet. We make it a point to visit the curiously designed Laxminarayan Temple which, we believe, must once have been a pleasure palace. One of its murals shows two tippling foreigners, another depicts the attack on the fort at Jhansi. Also the Ram Mandir: a secular mansion until the idol of Lord Ram, resting there temporarily, refused to budge.
Less well known, but equally important, are the water gardens of Prince Hardaul, condemned to suicide by a jealous brother. Conduits running atop the walls of his garden cooled his rain pavilion with showers from the ceiling. And we haven’t spoken of the legend of Rai Parveen, and of the chhatris silhouetted in the sunset, and the strange Chaturbhuj Temple. These wonders still await your discovery when you visit the time-warp called Orchha. Madhya Pradesh
Orissa The Sacred-Image Makers of
The eastern state of Orissa gave a powerful word to the English language: juggernaut. In the great pilgrim town of Puri rises the ancient temple of the Lord of the Universe: Jagganath. His name has been transformed into the English word for ‘a huge or overwhelming force or object’.
Lord Jagganath attracts Hindu devotees from all over the world and, when they return home, they want to carry back sacred souvenirs of their pilgrimage. To cater to this pious need, a 12th century ruler settled artisans near the temple. Later, they shifted to in their own village, not far from Puri, and named it Raghurajpur.
Raghurajpur is still unique. It is, reputedly, the world’s only 900-year old village devoted to the creation of religious objects and their secular spin-offs. Here we saw hereditary artists, sitting on their raised
Verandahs, painting tiny home altars in bright, primary colours. Elsewhere, artists were making the elaborate pattachitra paintings in which paper goes though a process involving .
Uttaranchal High Mountains and Harsil
The world’s oldest, continuous, pilgrimages lie in the Himalayas. Devotees have been streaming into the holy mountain shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Gangotri for literally thousands of years. It’s not just the virtues of visiting the sacred shrines that attracts visitors but the incredible vies of the Himalayas that unfold on the journey. Madhya Pradesh
Water wonderful world
Chilika-Asia’s largest brackish water lake-attracts the whole world. Flocks of Siberian birds migrate thousand of miles every year to keep their date with Chilika. And dolphins often leap before they look. Take your pick from the exotic islands dotting the lake – morning on Breakfast Island, or afternoons on Goddess Kalijai’s isle. But make sure it’s Honeymoon Island for the night!
Marital Spats Make You Sick
Last night’s tife could do more than make you glare at each other over your breakfast . bickering raises stress so much that I delays your body’s ability to heal, say researchers Ronald Glaser and his wife Janice Kiecolt-Glaser at America’s Ohio State University. They inflicted 42 couples with blisters. At the first visit, the couples discussed topics that encouraged support from each other; next time, they were asked to resolve a disagreement. After each session, the Glasers took samples of the blisters and measured levels of cytokines, chemical messengers that summon healing cells to the wound. Cytokines were lower after the conflicts than after the supportive talks, and the most hostile pairs took two days longer to heal, on average, than the least hostile. Madhya Pradesh