Jhansi rediscovered by me.......

This Christmas I celebrated in North India. And of all the many places that North India has to offer, Jhansi and Gwalior happened to be the ones for me. The two cities occupy a place in the history of India. An upcoming movie and a television serial already airing bears testament to the fact that the Jhansi is not forgotten.  And how could it. The queen of Jhansi even today is described as a heroine of Indian history.
Most of Jhansi's architecture includes bungalows or row houses, located very close to one another, almost to the point where you could look into another person's balcony. While its nice to be surrounded by community, it makes theft more easier.
The lanes are narrow and allow the passage of vehicles one at a time. This is very common in the city, plush parts of the place including exclusive colonies and cantonemnt areas seem to be better planned and spaced.
But the place is beautiful. During the month of December, the wind is chilly and the temperature drops well below five degrees. That makes sight seeing great provided you're well covered. 
Jhansi fort entrance
The fort of Jhansi is the most popular among tourists here. It sits at the top of the mountain. Its lawns are decorated with the most beautiful chrysanthemums in a variety of colours, golden crop, trees and other plants that my non- botanical mind could not identify.
The fort is well kept and has huge hallways and passages, leading underground. According to history, Rani Lakhsmibai had tunnelled roads made for her horses and army to travel to Gwalior without being caught. Much of those underground passages were closed with boulders, but to be honest it seemed like very sophisticated construction for that time. That time being somewhere around, 1835 onwards. Even the fort, in all its grandeur could amaze you with its extensive construction and labirynth of tunnels, underground roads etc for horses and cavalry.
Hallways in the fort
Most of the fort is still intact.
According to locals, the fort also housed a palace. The Queen often stayed at the fort and could never be located within its boundaries, thanks to the intricate hallways and passages. Of course from the top of the fort, you can see the whole town, serving its purpose. Any infiltration could be countered as a result of its location.
Large canons that were used at the time are still preserved. One of the most popular of them happens to be 'Kadak Bijli' meaning strong lightning. It is claimed that when this canon was fired from atop the fort, it always, produced a streak of fire that looked and sounded like lightning hence the name. Its gunners also have been immortalized in Indian history, though their names have escaped my amnesic memory.
Kadak bikjli canon
No matter where you go, every park, museum, book stall, hoarding, just about everything in Jhansi bears the image of its Queen. While we did some kid things at the Park, dedicated to her, this image seems to appear the best.

Park bearing her statue
Another atttraction happens to be the Shrine of St. Jude. Patron of hopeless cases, the Shrine has hostel rooms to allow people to stay during novena weeks and others. The shrine sits in a huge compound not far from the opulent Christ the King school.

St. Jude's church
Its currrent principal, a jovial and able administrator seems to have transformed the place into a beautiful landscape.Bishop's house is not very far from here either. A nice walk roughly around twenty minutes can help you cover all these places in one evening.Apart from Jhansi, I had the good fortune to visit Gwalior as well. But that would require another post. Till then..... happy new year to all

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