I’ve been wanting to do a three-generation women’s trip for the longest time. But for many reasons, plans between mom, aaji (grandmom), and I never really panned out. That was now about to change.
One evening after a long day of work, I sat down with aaji to hear that she made travel plans to visit the shrine of St Jude in Jhansi in October. I'm not the most religious person but as soon as I heard “Jhansi” I knew this was my chance to make a trip of it. I told her, count me in! Aaji was happy at the thought of me joining her and I was excited that this would happen.
The first sad part was that my mum couldn't join us for the trip even after a lot of persuasion, but aaji and I decided there was no going back. Now as much as it was exciting, it was also overwhelming because I didn’t want the travel to be arduous for my aaji.
It got overwhelming to decide the places to see, eat at, and stay at, and the worst part was that I had to figure out the answers. My biggest concern was making sure that aaji was taken care of. She's an old lady and this was also her first time traveling after a long time.
After a point, I thought it was best to approach a travel company to take care of all the arrangements. Plus, we didn't know much about Jhansi so I felt it was best to leave everything from A to Z in the hands of an organizer.
As we began chalking the itinerary, our tour coordinator suggested we explore not just Jhansi but Gwalior too. Both locations have enormous cultural and historical significance. We’d have enough imposing forts, grand monuments, and gorgeous temples to see.
After hearing the idea, there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to explore both regions. We had a good number of places to see and the trip would take no longer than 5 days. But to take things slow with aaji, we stretched our trip to 7 days in total. Keep reading to get a peek into the places we covered.
Before touching upon the itinerary, we sorted our commute. We booked train tickets for Punjab Mail but you can choose to board the Rajdhani Express as well. The express is a much faster option, unlike the Punjab Mail which takes about 21 hours to reach from Mumbai to Jhansi.
Yes, 21 hours of traveling on the train seemed like an eternity but it wasn't as bad for me. For one, I had the company of my aaji and secondly, we’d planned how to pass our time. We carried our own food and water. I also downloaded some TV serials on my phone for us to watch at night before sleeping. Since it was a night train, a good amount of hours, pretty much flew by sleeping.
When we woke up, we had 10 hours to kill. We played a couple of rounds of UNO and Ludo until we were bored. After lunch, we enjoyed the views from our window until we reached Jhansi Junction railway station.
Our train reached Jhansi at 5:00 pm so we decided that the best thing to do is get to our hotel and recharge. We ordered some snacks, later some parathas for dinner, and rested well before kicking things off.
One thing we did every single morning while we stayed in Jhansi was attend the mass at St. Jude’s Shrine. After breakfast, we'd take a rickshaw ride to the shrine and attend the morning mass at 7:00 am. And let me be honest, it was one of the most peaceful offerings I’ve been a part of. It felt calm and peaceful during and after the mass and was honestly a great way to start our day.
The shrine is dedicated to St. Jude Thaddaeus and is a very popular tourist destination for Christians. We were here to celebrate the feast of Saint Jude and the festivities and celebration here were simple, sweet, and humbling to a great extent. If you're not someone who wants to attend the holy mass, you can visit this shrine anytime between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
The Government Museum Jhansi looked like any other huge white buildings that you see everywhere in Jhansi. It didn't look like much from the outside but once we entered the space it was mesmerizing for sure. The life-size statues, murals, and other artifacts displayed in the entryway gave a gist of everything we could expect to see inside the museum.
We took our time to walk around and see each and every corner. We saw Rani Lakshmi Bai’s weapons, paintings, coins, and statues that date back to the 4th century BC. Yes, I got to see historical things that were older than my aaji. (I promise we both had a good laugh at that joke)
This museum is huge and took us about 2 hours to explore every nook and corner. And the best part? It's accessible to disabled and elderly people. There are benches laid across every section which allows you to take some breaks if you like. That's something we took great advantage of and rested for some time after covering everything on a given floor.
The next thing on our itinerary was the light and sound show at Jhansi Fort. One great thing about Jhansi is that all the places you can explore are located in close proximity to each other. This fort was about 15 minutes away from the museum so we decided to walk. We kind of regretted this because the climb up the hill can be tiring. I’d recommend you take a rickshaw up to the gate.
Once we reached the fort, we got our tickets and waited in a long queue outside the gate. The show was at 7:30 pm. At around 7:20, the guards let us all in and guided us toward the venue. The show went on for about an hour and revolved around the life of Rani Laxmi Bai and the first war of independence in 1857.
The open sky, tall walls of the fort, rustling of the leaves, and the calm environment made this light and sound show worth it. If you're a history buff, this is one thing you must do when you set out for your Jhansi tour. Once the show ended, we reached our hotel, had some dinner, and went to bed.
Day 4 of my Jhansi travel diary was the most exciting as we were to explore Jhansi Fort. I had gotten a glimpse of the majestic beauty the day prior, but exploring it in broad daylight is a different experience altogether. No words can describe the feeling you have when you see the tall gate and enter the fort. It was overwhelming and all I could utter was “WOW”.
As soon as you enter, you see huge walls, roads that guide you to different sections of the fort, and tall trees that provide shade as you move along.
We had a tour guide for our group so got to know more about its history and background. We spent about 3 hours getting to know about the fort’s origin, history, and present. It was tiring for sure but I wouldn't miss out on experiencing this beauty at any cost.
This was our last day in Jhansi and we had to go explore the local market here. After getting repeated recommendations from all the locals, we decided to visit Manik Chowk. It's one of the biggest and most affordable markets in Jhansi that has everything you want. Right when we entered the market, there were vendors selling everything one can think of. Amusingly enough, it was not very crowded which allowed us to navigate through the small streets.
The market starts opening up in the afternoon and we were lucky enough to get here in the evening. We got some sweets for our family and friends and also bought some souvenirs. We got back to our hotel and it was time to pack our bags, say goodbye to Jhansi, and move to our next destination, Gwalior!
We boarded the Punjab Mail from Jhansi junction railway station to get to Gwalior. The train was running slow but it took us just 40 minutes to reach Gwalior junction railway station. This journey was surprisingly short.
Day one in Gwalior was a pleasant one. We started our day with some Maharashtrian breakfast and a cup of coffee. The first thing on our list was to visit the impregnable fortress of north and central India, Gwalior Fort. This fortress is situated on a mountain and is visible from every corner of the city. The humongous carvings on the mountains and hills leading to the gate of the fortress made our rickshaw ride very exciting.
The beauty of the fortress was so encapsulating that we couldn’t take our eyes off it. We got to see all of the temples, mahals, courtyards, pillars, gardens, prisoner's chambers, and other areas within the fortress. All of these places are divided into sections within the fort and exploring each of these sections took us about 20 minutes.
Because I had aaji traveling with me so we made sure to take small breaks in between. If you’re also planning on traveling with an elderly person, make sure to carry some snacks, enough water, and wear comfortable shoes. Also, make sure you hire a tour guide as we did that way you learn about the fort’s stories. By the end of the tour, we were exhausted but it was a wholesome experience nonetheless.
After a quick lunch break, we reached our next and my favorite destination, Jai Vilas Palace which was just 25 minutes away. This palace serves as a residence for the descendants of the royal Maratha Scindia family. Since we got here a day after the royal family left for their Diwali vacation, the entire palace was lit up with diyas and rangoli. The front yard and garden space were filled with different flowers that trailed along the huge walls.
Roaming around the parts of the palace that weren’t restricted for visitors was magical. The best part we explored at the palace was its library which has a collection of over 50,000 books. The old books and the chandeliers gave the library an enchanting feeling. The paintings, artifacts, white rustic paint, and intricate architectural structure of this palace are breathtaking.
This was our final day in Gwalior and also the last day of our trip so we tried to keep our sightseeing light.
The last and final place that we were going to explore in Gwalior was the Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed. This was a bit far from our hotel and the tour guide arranged a bus for us to go. I packed some snacks and kept my travel playlist ready for the road trip!
The route that leads to the gate of Ghaus Mohammed is immaculate with large farmlands on both sides of the roads and a serene view which gave me major Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara vibes. The bus ride took about an hour for us to get here.
Visiting the Tomb Of Ghaus Mohammed was a very different experience. The atmosphere was calming and peaceful. We took a tour of the place and some pictures of the pierced stonework that is intricately carved on each and every wall and pillar. Once we were done admiring this beauty, we strolled around the garden and decided to get back home and pack.
This was a very unique travel experience for both aaji and me. We embraced every challenge on the trip. We ticked off all the places we wanted to visit and took our time with it. The highlight of the trip was visiting St. Jude’s Shrine every day with aaji and it gave me a sense of peace. It was a wholesome experience that helped me bond with aaji, take care of her needs and help her enjoy the trip. It gave me a whole new perspective on traveling and I hope it inspires you to go out there and plan vacations with your loved ones!