Off to the train station to catch the train to Jhansi - a 2 1/2 hour ride on a very comfortable train. After being served a cup of tea and crackers, we settled in to read about the passage of the healthcare bill in The Indian Express. I am sorry that our papers do not seem to cover the daily news of the rest of the world. India's economy has grown 8-9 per cent during this recession. I do not even know the name of the prime minister - I do know she is a Hindu from the untouchable caste.
We disembarked from the train at Jhansi and took a bus to see the temples in the medieval village of Orchha and to visit the village market. 15,000 people live in this village. A local young man, Hemand, was our guide. We visited two old Hindu temples. Vikas stopped at a stall and gave money for food to be prepared for the old people in the square. Some gather in this village for help as they are very poor with no family to provide for them. There is no pension for the elderly in India. Many of the stalls here bake sweet cookies for offerings in the one active temple that honors Vishnu, the preserver. Once a month, on one auspicious day, there are more pilgrims than usual - up to 15,000. We had a buffet lunch prepared for us at a local hotel and then started on a 4 1/2 hour drive to Khajuraho.
The road was narrow and very bumpy with every type of transportation imaginable. Tractors haul carts with people because the owners are not required to get a license. Cows often are standing in the middle of the rod and definitely have the right-of-way. (There are a few McDonald's in the big cities but none serve beef.) There were reflecting stripes painted on the trees that lined the road. We were now in the heart of India, central India. We checked into our rooms and 8 of us hurried off to a sound and light show about the temples. It was a lovely starlight night. The temples are the second most visited monument after the Taj. These were built between the 9th and 11th centuries. They are a unique example of Indo-Aryan buildings which blend sculpting with architecture with beautiful harmony.
It was a long day of travel. Namaste!