The Jehangir Mahal served as our budget lodgings
(believe it or not) during our time in Orchha
Our room was at the base of the palace near the tree
Next morning we met this older gentleman at the entrance to the palace grounds
After getting settled in we made a circuit around the palace grounds at sunset
As we were exploring, these two asked
if we could take their photo. Sure!
The resulting images are some of my favorite from India. After each
photo we'd share the camera with them so they could see the image too.
We covered a lot of ground! Time to relax at one of the balconies.
The amazing Jehangir Mahal from a more remote viewpoint
Across the bridge is the town of Orchha itself
and its other star attraction, Chaturbhuj Temple
Here you can see Chaturbhuj Temple with its amazing "beehive hairdo," with the Raj Mahal
(yet another palace) in the foreground. This photo was taken from Jehangir Mahal.
In Orchha itself we met so many friendly people --
like this girl whose father owns a street-side pigment shop
Somehow I found myself getting my arm stamped with henna patterns
The impressive inner courtyard of Jehangir Mahal
Orchha is filled with exuberant monkeys who seem to have the run of the place
On the way out of town we caught sight
of this lovely stretch of river just outside Orchha
Balcony view from Jehangir Mahal
Heading out of Orchha, we bought basic train tickets for 54 rupees -- that’s like a dollar for the
two of us for a 5-hour train ride! We were the only foreigners in the car. This super-friendly
uncle and his twin nieces approached us on the train to chat in English for most of an hour.
Another friendly young man approached us in the market, gave us free sweets
from his family shop, and showed us his scars from the fighting up in Kashmir
These calves don't know how lucky they are
to live in India, a place where cows are sacred
Our final sight in Orchha was Ram Raja Palace, which
has some well preserved paintings in its interior rooms
Where We Be
We lived like royalty for two nights in the small
town of Orchha, staying at the Sheesh Mahal.
Sheesh, what a place! We stayed in a room that
is literally part of Jehangir Mahal Palace (shown
left), a whopper of a building built in the 1600s
during the zenith of medieval Islamic architec-
ture. Dozens of balconies and turrets and
precipitous walkways make this building super
fun to explore and photograph. The overall feel
is Islamic baroque. The cost of a room: just $34
per night (in 2010), perhaps a princely sum by
small-town Indian standards but highly budget
friendly by ours, considering all the ambience.

We're slowly getting used to being stared at
wherever we go in India. Whether riding a train
or taking a rickshaw or walking down the street,
we're constantly being gawked at -- especially
in a small town like Orchha because, frankly, we
stick out like sore thumbs! This isn't all bad:
Indians come up to us and ask us where we're
from, what towns we're visiting, and what we
think of India. This "reverse tourism"  is one of
the fun things about traveling even a bit off the
beaten tourist path in India.
Orchha, India
The room (#6) included a functional hot shower and AC. Score!
We began exploring the insides of the palace. What a fascinating place!
The girl was one heck of a salesperson to get me to say yes to this!
Next thing we knew the whole
family wanted their photos taken!