With a constant doubt hovering over my head, I packed my bags and headed off to Lalitpur. The reason for my doubt was due to the presence of 3 Lalitpurs in India. Luckily I was in the right train and alighted at the right station. With my doubts banished, I was all set for my vacation which started off with a bumpy ride to a small village called 'Pranpur'.
Legend has it…
Pranpur which means a 'place of life' derives its name from a story which Rajpalji (Manager, Amraee Guest House) will passionately explain. So legend has it that a princess was traveling from Chanderi and she mysteriously fell unconscious on her way. The king's men tried to revive her but in vain. They approached the local doctor from the village (Vaid) and he got her out of her unconscious state. As per the story, the princess named the village 'Pranpur' as she got her life back thanks to the village and the local doctor. True to its name the village is truly full of life.
Yes to Data – No to Calls…
After the 1 hour ride, I was welcomed warmly by the staff of Amraee. One look at the guest house and facilities and you would wonder how a staff of just 3-4 people can maintain it so clean and green. The day starts off with a hot cup of tea and breakfast served under a tree that I named the ‘Wi-Fi’ tree. The reason for such a name is because your phone will show full network only at this spot, but try calling someone, the call won’t get through but try using the data network and it works, slow but fine.
Better than an Alarm Clock…
After all that Bundelkhandi breakfast and lunch, I decided to take a nap and within 20-25mins of deep slumber, I awoke to a shrilling electric shock like feeling. It was a loud drilling noise and this noise was certainly not one those noises by machines. With my body in half shock and half sleep, I scuffled around the curtains to find out what was the source. I opened the curtain closest around my bed and found something I would never find in the city. It was a full grown wood-pecker that was looking at the reflective glass from outside and assumed that it had a competitor in the mirror. This encounter with Mr. Woody Woodpecker continued every morning, where my alarm clock used to fail waking me but our little birdie here ensured that I was up on time.
Getting Down & Dirty…
While I stayed at Pranpur, I had included a village tour in my itinerary and this was quite an intriguing walk. Thanks to the dedicated work by Amraee and Travel Another India, I was pleased to notice the friendliness of the people. Usually as a tourist, you are hounded by beggars or people asking money in return of their photos. This is one unique village that is so tourist friendly and yet shares their rich culture and heritage.
Some of the things to do when you are on your village tour:
- Making Pots – Go ahead and get your hands dirty and feel the soil take shape as you wish
- Bullock cart tour – Though I did not try this but this is one aspect that is not available in cities
- Chanderi Sarees – Do pop your head into some of the weavers’ homes and ask for some already prepared Chandhri sarees. You may even get a good price due to the elimination of the middleman.
The village tour guide and other villagers will certainly rave about the ‘Baodii’, which is a step-well and there are quite a variety available in this village. Notice the color change in the waters as you check each of these cryptic wells. Experience the serene and simple lifestyle of a village through a stay at Amraee at Pranpur. This is one off-beat destination you cannot miss.
Other landmarks to explore while you are at Pranpur:
Chanderi Historical Sites: Kilaa Kothi, Badal Mahal, Koshak Mahal, Jama Masjid, Raja Rani Mahal, Kati Ghati, Kandahaar-Jii, Shishupal Tank, Shahzadi ka Roza and Chanderi Musuem.
Visit to Nanon: A Prehistoric cave that proudly presents carvings and paintings from the Stone Age era.
Visit to Kadvaya: Also known as the mini-Khajuraho.
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|Rajpal & Jaghban|
Text and photographs by Shrikant Ayyangar