One of the guys on the tour had been to Orchha before and he was looking forward to going back, good sign, I think. We were glamping- staying in fancy tents, with ensuite bathrooms, tv and beds. The ‘campsite’ was surrounded by old interesting buildings, that looked like temples or something, I never thought to ask.

Not our tent but one just like it

Soon after arriving we went for a walk into the town and visited an old grand temple no longer in use. One of the men working thereyshowed a few of us up onto the roof. We had panormaic views of the town and the contrasts that typifies India.

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Where we were.

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The view below. Such grandeur contrasted with lean- to shops covered with scrap metal.

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This is a shop with a palace in the background. A place that was built sparing no expense and was used for a day and a night.

On top of the roof the guide encouraged us to go into the deep dark tennels which he said would eventually lead to another roof top where we could see a baby vulture. Alex was the only brave one and she came back blown away by the beautiful baby bird. Our  enthusiastic ‘guide’   had taken a fancy to my camera so  took the trip again to get a photo or 10 for me.

Feeding time for the baby

With this awesome picture I am glad he did. Then of course being on the roof, having a look around it was time for the group picture/ group jump

Alex, Lucy, Nick, Shevon, Aaron- Intrepid broucher cover

Could this be Intrepid’s next brochure cover? With their bright red bag in full view. Shame that Shevon is on her way down, but we’ll let her off.

That evening once the sun had set we went to the town’s working temple to watch a ceremony where Lord Rama was celebrated. In India the class system is still prominent so the VIPs get to go to the front to get close to the action, while we and the average Al have to watch from further back but they have a camera to film the action, not so bad, so we thought. Still unfair, but at least we would see. Nope. A guard, wearing a blue beret stood in front of the camera so we saw the top of his head and a corner of the ceremony. Only in India!  No-one seemed to complain, ask him to move or anything. The people worshipping had brought gifts for Lord Rama, they were dedicated but still no-one tried to move the man on. All it needed was some one to stand up and say excuse me but that wasn’t my job, being a visitor I shouldn’t be bossing people around.

The next morning we were off to look round the palace. It was really beautiful but really sad to think it had been built and only used for a day and a night. I did get very close to a monkey, a little bit too close perhaps, he bared his teeth and hissed at me, but I did get a good picture.

I got a bit close to this chap- he showed me his teeth and hissed

Onwards to a paper factory which was set up to employ tribal women so that they could have employment and a salary to give them other opportunities. Our method of transport was my favourite, auto rickshaw… How many people are in this one?

Guess the number of people in an auto rickshaw

Super woman- 9 bricks

Super-woman with 9 bricks on her head!

I liked having a nose around the paper factory and hoping that this was actually something productive and supportive to the tribal women. One lady enjoyed getting her picture taken at least as they made the water marks on degree certificates.

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The other people (below) are making the paper that is used for hardback book covers.

Making paper for book covers

I also very much enjoyed the shop, buying a really beautiful but awkward to carry Christmas Star for my mum. It did survive the journey home with a few little bashes.

After the paper factory we went for a cooking demo to see how traditional Indian food was made. Sadly the chai wasn’t the best I’d had but now I have the recipe I can experiment to improve it and add a Lucy twist. We made aubergine curry, paneer (cheese) and vegetable curry, potato and spinach and chapaties. It was good but my favourite meal was in Chanderi which is a few days away.

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After we’d cooked and eaten we were then offered henna which looked really cool.

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That evening we had a  thunder and lightening storm where the sky was purple with each flash which covered the whole sky it was really cool. It went on for hours.