DATIA NOTE: This article is about an unplanned destination that we came across while moving towards a planned destination. The destination was less known but worth the time.
When we started from Gwalior after having the famous ‘Bedai’ of Gwalior, our planned destination was Jhansi. So we hit Jhansi road and started an almost 3 hrs drive. Aim was to witness the evening light and sound show at Jhansi fort. As we were driving, a huge structure, for which even the clouds failed to hide its grandness, grabbed our attention after and half hr drive. To orient ourselves, I checked google, and it showed me the location is called “Datia“. In front was standing part of Datia fort.
City Lost but History Resides
Reading the title you must be wondering ‘Ki isme naya kya hai?‘ Let me try to tell you. When I saw that structure from the road, it was so majestic that I just couldn’t resist and wanted to see it. But the closer I went, the more heartbreaking it was.
This city is mentioned in Epic Mahabharata as ‘Datiyavarka’, but today only ‘Bir Singh Palace‘ stands tall. The rest of the entire city is gone either to locals, who have turned parts of the fort into their homes, or to the businessmen, who are turning a few parts (Rajgarh Fort) into a heritage hotel. Adding to this which left me inarticulate was, that the Palace, which is left by both locals and businessmen, has almost no road to reach. It is fighting its battle of finding its due glory, peeping through the clouds and attracting tourists like us to tell his tale.
Why Travel to Datia?
But then you will ask why to go to this place if so many issues. Only one reason, its beauty. It’s a 7-story fort in which 2 stories are underground and 5 above ground. More surprisingly, it is solely made up of stones and bricks, without any presence of wood or iron. So basically with no support, this palace is one of the finest examples of a mix of Rajputana and Mughal architecture, built by Raja Bir Singh Dev of Orchha.
Can you imagine this beautiful building was never occupied, I mean no one ever lived here. Then you must wonder, Why build it? As Indians, we love to give our guests a grand welcome. So this palace was built to welcome the Mughal emperor Jahangir by King, but he never came. This fort is not so famous and has almost no visitors, but it is worth and you can have the best Insta-worthy photos here.
Interesting Fact: The palace inspired Sir Edwin Lutyens, Chief architect of New Delhi, who termed it “One of the most interesting buildings architecturally in the whole of India”. Only a ninety-minute drive from the palace is Sonagiri. It is a pilgrimage for Jains. But as per your interest, you should visit this place. This place is also famous as “Mini Vrindavan”.
Jhansi: City is known because of Queen
After visiting our unplanned destination Datia, we headed to our planned destination Jhansi. Whenever we hear the name Jhansi, I always remember these lines.
Bundelo harbolo ke muh humne suni kahani thi, Khoob ladi Mardani, vo to Jhansi vali Rani thi.
So our aim for the day, when we started from Gwalior, was to once again listen to the great story of Rani Lakshmi Bai, at her fort. We entered Jhansi by 3 PM dropped our stuff at the guestroom and quickly freshen up. The first destination in Jhansi was the Rani ka, Mahal. But this beautiful building had lost all its charm. Where once lived a Queen, lives no one today, not even birds. SAD BUT TRUE.
Disappointed with the first destination we moved to the fort. But all our expectations were shattered at the gate itself. First, the parking guy was fighting and misbehaving with tourists. Second, at the ticket counter, we were told no light and sound show for the next 1 week. Third, as we entered the fort, it felt like we have entered some Telecom company premises which have an outer boundary like a fort wall. Why I am saying telecom company because there is a big Round antenna right in the middle of the fort. The maximum number of rooms were closed. Few, which were open, were the office area. completely desolated by the condition of the fort, which was once Ruled by the Great Queen of Jhansi. I wanted to leave Jhansi right at that moment but stayed only to pay some respect to Rani Laxmibai. After all, it’s still her city.