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On a memorable road trip

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

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Day 2 : Having slept like babies the previous night, we woke up fully recharged for the journey on the twenty first of October. Our plan that day was to reach Siliguri, a very ambitious plan indeed. Because, we had to make up for the shortfall of 190 km from the previous day’s journey. Instead of taking the bypass, we decided to drive through the city, which would connect us with highway AH47. From the city, joining the highway, we noticed the road repairs were in progress, though continuing to drive, we noticed the road conditions appeared to improve after the town of Guna, and then up to Padora. Driving along, we had to be careful, alternatively switch from lane to lane, because of roadwork. The scenic part of our journey on the stretch of road till Padora was like a green landscape, evidence of the cultivation done by the local people. Padora is a small junction town on the road, which has the diversion to Jhansi, bypassing the town of Shivpuri. On our road-trip we made the conscious effort to bypass towns wherever possible, as we were completely dependent on Google maps. Turning left at the Junction, and bidding adieus to AH47, we drove onward to join highway NH27. After turning into NH27, the road conditions became supreme, a well maintained road to drive on. Initially, even though the road seemed smooth, we weren’t quite sure of NH27’s road conditions, gingerly driving slowly at a lower speed. Having driven a couple of kilometers, we gained our confidence, and the power of the beast was unleashed. And from then on we maintained a steady speed throughout the route. This bypass route connected back to NH47 when passing through the town of Shivpuri. We quickly found out the bypass was highly prone to accidents; the road has a particular Y junction. And at the junction, a Tempo traveling from Jhansi to Shivpuri narrowly missed hitting us. All because there is no road signs to warn drivers, or slow traffic with speed breakers, coupled with bad visibility at the intersection. With this toxic mix, you have drivers who don’t pay attention, speeding through the intersection without looking, or slowing down.

Well, after our narrow escape from nearly crashing with the Tempo, catching our breath, and calming our

[caption id="attachment_181020" align="alignright" width="300"] A group of banjaras, or nomads, with all belongings on camels in search of a new destination.[/caption]

nerves, we continued on our journey on NH27. Driving east, looking out of the window of our car, the landscape began rapidly changing from the lush green of cultivation to very dry terrain. This was an absolutely new experience for us, which was quite a sight to behold. Now we were passing through an arid valley, dry land with just shrubs and bushes, trees were few and far between as far as the eye could see. The road we were driving on took us through red canyons with absolutely no vegetation - it was breathtakingly beautiful. One of the best roads we had driven on in our journey.

Driving along, we came across small groups of people with camels that had their Charpai tied on the backs of the camels. These bands of nomads were Banjaras, a local ethnic people with Rajasthani attire, who would move from place to place with their herds. When we passed them, they were on the move beside the road taking all their belongings, including their livestock. The sight of the nomads brought several thoughts to our minds about them. It made us wonder what kind of life could they be leading? Considering, their lives must be so different from ours? Seeing them, it makes one wonder that they may have chosen to continue to stay with their age-old traditional way of life. And this traditional way of life was passed to their future generations without ever changing to the comforts of our modern lifestyles.

Continuing on our journey, by 9am, 40 km from Jhansi, we pulled over for a break; this was more from the temptation to try another Dhaba considering our previous day’s experience. We settled in for a brunch at the Dhaba, but the experience felt short, needlessly to say, didn’t meet our expectations at all. There at the Dhaba, we took an hour’s break, but we needed to make up our lost time. And so we decided to continue, hoping our energy levels would keep up with our desires to get to our destination; conscious of the fact that we were very behind on our schedule.

Nearing the city of Jhansi, where the sights along the road told us that the area was of historical importance, probably dating back centuries. Not forgetting, we were in the land of the warrior queen - Jhansi. As we drove deeper into this mystical land, we saw even more ruins on both sides of the road. Must admit, felt sad at the sights of the ancient forts, they were standing tall, but no one seemed to care or maintain the forts. Despite the overgrown trees and shrubs on the ruins of the fort, one could see the past glory of these magnificent structures. As we drove, about 10 km from Jhansi, we saw a massive black statue with a sword on a hilltop. It was towering over the nearby houses around the hills.  Our eyes were glued to the sight of the statue - we were speechless. With forts dotted all around the area, to us, the statue seemed to keep watch over the valley. We wanted to stop, but reminded ourselves that we had a schedule to stick to; we were short on time. This place would definitely require a second visit from us sometime in the future to explore and study its history.