Tempo's & buses to/from Orchha
After arriving in Jhansi on the train, I took an auto rickshaw to the bus station where I got directed to a really old rickety looking bus that was heading to Orchha, a small village about 20km away. The bus was really full, as they tend to be, and I managed to find room on the back seat for my backpack whilst I stood on the steps by the back entrance surrounded by large bags of rice or something that were stacked almost to the ceiling. We stopped a few times along the way just to get the bus even more crowded but I enjoyed it in a kind of twisted way. At one point a guy was hanging off the back outside! At one point a nice clean new looking tourist but was following us in the distance and I just imagined air conditioning, one person per reclining seat and such like and smiled at myself for thinking of how the other half travels whilst touring India! I took a tempo, (a larger version of an auto rickshaw), in Orchha back to Jhansi so that I could get a bus to Khajuraho.
Bus to Khajuraho
There are some buses that leave from outside the train station to Khajuraho. The bus I took was pretty much the same as others I'd been on except that the seats were foam cushion seats and not the bone hard ones on previous trips. We left Jhansi on very bumpy roads with the seats beginning to move off their floor mountings and the windows shaking violently. This is meant to be the way to Madhya Pradesh states number one tourist attraction. Some way to take paying tourists! We got into Khajuraho, where I needed a back transplant, at 3pm so the journey took the scheduled 4 hours to do about 180km. I was timing the bus against the distance signs and at one point we were doing an average of 60kph!
Jhansi lies on the main New Delhi-Bhopal railway line and so is very easy to get to from either Delhi or Agra. I came by train from Gwalior on the Shatabdi express (train No.2002) and took another train out of Jhansi to Lucknow after visiting Orchha and Khajuraho. A train was waiting at the platform but it was not mine. It was full of people cramped up in Sleeper Class, one of the lowest classes on the Indian railways. It looked filthy from the outside and certainly not my cup of tea. My train arrived and I walked along the platform to find my carriage number. All the carriage numbers are shown in the middle of the train. S1, S2 etc are for Sleeper Class, A1 is for Air Con 2 tier class which was my class. I got on board after finding my carriage and found my bed berth - the upper birth of 2 on one side and 2 on the opposite side making a compartment of 4. The compartments are open with just a curtain for privacy. There are more upper and lower berths running down length-ways on the other side of the carriage. The upper berths are suspended by chains from the ceiling which are wrapped in padding and they also stop you from falling off. This was my first time in AC2 as all the other trains I had taken up until now had been Shatabdi trains - posher trains that just have seats in them. It was surprisingly very clean and we pulled out of Jhansi just 10 minutes late. This class is mostly made up of middle class Indian's who are well dressed and middle management businessmen in nice shirts and trousers, although all Indian males dress sense needs a lot to be desired! After about 10 minutes of leaving Jhansi, an attendant came along and dished out a sheet, pillow and blanket to make up as a bed even though it was 2pm.
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