This is the first in the series of posts about Orchha, although some believe it deserves only a half day visit, I spent 4 days in the small town and still felt that there is more to discover.
A quiet town, Orchha consists of markets, temples, ancient Rajput Monuments (read more about that in my next post) and cheap luxurious hotels!
The hotel we stayed at was an affordable 4 star, although the hotel website gives you an expensive offer, travel websites like Cleartrip, Tripadvisor, Booking.com and Makemytrip have good deals. We got a pretty sweet deal because they gave us an upgrade when we told them that we weren’t quite satisfied with the room. Besides, the only two reasons we spent our waking hours in the hotel was to eat, and to use the pool services. At one point, the relaxing sun and the pool lead us to such a perfect sense of satisfaction that we decided to spend almost the entire day enjoying that.
It was chilly in the mornings and evenings but sunny in the afternoons, the later being the best time to be in the water.
We chose a room close to the pool since it was away from the main dining area which gets crowded as apart from the guests at the hotel, tourists in Orchha come to eat dinner every night.
The room was big and spacious, with a small section inside with a sofa and table where we sat and talked in the evenings, outside the room there is a small courtyard, of sorts, which is common for four rooms.
The service at the hotel was quick and responsive, although I did feel that they were understaffed at certain points. One night we were up late so we decided to walk up to the terrace where they had made small seating areas which were lit up and cosy. However, we were surprised to see the hotel staff sleeping on floor of the lobby area and on the rooftop. Next morning, we asked one of the managers why the staff hadn’t been provided rooms for resting, he told us that some of the staff members who are expected to return to their homes at night prefer to stay back at the hotel. He didn’t seem like he wanted to share any more details, we didn’t even get a chance to speak to them at length as we were leaving that same day.
Our last evening in the hotel was spent listening and talking to three folk musicians from a village three kilometres from Orchha. They sang songs from the Bundelkhand tradition which have been passed down to them from generations.
We all talked about our lives, what our ordinary day is like and how musical traditions have changed over time. They shared the obstacles women in their community face when they come into their profession. They told us how women, who they respect immensely because of how talented they are, often face the judgement of society. The conversation was flowing from one topic to another with many interludes of meaningful songs, some melancholic, some filled with the passion of love and dance.
In the Bundelkhand region, music was performed at every event by a certain family of musicians. They belonged to one such family. Their own mother has been a singer and musician for over 40 years, they have learnt the art from their mothers and fathers from the moment they could walk and speak. As years go by, they come to the hotel each day to perform for the guests, they also go to weddings and religious festivals. They told us how the few hours they sing and dance in the evening, they can lose themselves in the music forgetting the troubles and toils of the day.
Here are some more pictures of the hotel and the lawns for those of you who wish to visit Orchha or are simply curious!
We visited another famous hotel in Orchha which used to be a palace during the Rajput era called Sheesh Mahal. Since there are only 8 rooms in the entire hotel, one must book several months in advance if one wishes to stay there.
I welcome any suggestions or statements so feel free to to comment below the post. I will be writing more about my trip to Orchha so, stay tuned!