After 4 weeks apart, Angus and I were reunited. Coconut and banana lassis and masala parathas on one of Khajuraho's roof terraces, with a backdrop of the spectacular temples carved with the spectacularly erotic (think group orgies with hybrid mythical animals).

I waved goodbye to Holl one miserable morning as she drove off with Amit-the-driver to her Ashram near Khajuraho. 4 weeks to kill before we would see each other again. Amit drove a white Tata saloon with four 6x9 speakers on the parcel shelf... I would spend lots of time in it over the next month. Back into Mithla's kitchen for breakfast, tearful and it was cold… Munalal the father of the household I was staying with gets me to sit right next to him by the chula (fire), sharing the little stool he sat on with me. He gets out two bidis (hand-rolled cigarettes), lights them both with a match and hands me one, putting his arm around me and his hands to the heat; he gestures to keep my hands warm over the smoky flames. Mithla (the mum) passes me a steaming chai, smiling with her buck teeth… Shanti (their daughter-in-law) is shuffling around making breakfast. Nobody speaks any english. It is 6 in the morning. These guys would be my family for most of my stay. 

 For the next 28 odd days I would get up to all kinds of stuff. Primarily I would be helping Ashok, who was a little younger than me, to run the home-stay project I had volunteered to help with. We did lots of good work together, as well as riding around on his motorbike and generally doing what 20 year old Indians do in their spare time; forgetting things, cricket, smuggling girlfriends out of town in Amit-the-driver's car, chewing tobacco and of course eating lots of food and perhaps the odd shady beer*. 

 Each day was most changeable, as things are in India. Every corner is exciting. Who knows what the hell will be around it. Anyway… It was a wonderful, stressful, happy, frustrating, insightful, beautiful and most of all a very fun 28 days.

*Orchha is a Holy site so technically it is illegal to drink alcohol...but Ashok had friends at the bar of one the swanky hotels.

01. angusfulton _ Orchha 2015

5am looking over Ganj with the Chhatris of Orchha in the distance.    

Arhanta Yoga TTC


The Friends of Orchha home-stay was in the village of Ganj, up the hill above Orchha. Ganj begun at the gigantic vine-covered mango tree; the tree that hung over the road hundreds of long, limp fingers that might stroke you on the head. A mud-house village of 64 families. Smooth mud walls merged into smooth mud floors which merged into smooth mud alcoves, shelves, benches, window ledges and smooth mud paths. Vibrant pista blue and deep ochre. Namaste in dusty streets. Cows, calves, chickens, buffalo, goats, puppies, children and motorbikes watched by girls and women lingering in arched, mud entrance-ways, toe-rings and bangles, immaculate coloured sariis. And breathtakingly beautiful. The village looked over the domes and spires of Orchha's Mughal temples and palaces, the river Batwa and forest until you couldn't see any further. 

Gwalior Fort

Hiking up the 700 steps to Gwalior's magnificent fort on the hill, decorated with stone ducks and elephants painted yellow and blue, we met a boys cricket match on a dusty levelled out platform half way up. One of the boys handed Angus the bat. Luckily he hit the ball. We explored up and down the narrow stone stairways and passages between what once were bathing chambers and music rooms, until we stupidly ran out of water (with the 4km walk down the hill and through the hot city via a climb around the 50ft tall carvings in the cliff-face, still to go).



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