Despite its seventeenth-century fort, the rail- and road-junction town of JHANSI, in an anomalous promontory of UP that thrusts south into Madhya Pradesh, is not very exciting. Most visitors stop only long enough to catch a connecting bus to Khajuraho, 175km southeast in Madhya Pradesh. Like Avadh, Jhansi was an independent state until the British summarily annexed it in 1854, and was consequently a major centre of support for the 1857 uprising, under the leadership of Rani Lakshmibai, its last ruler’s widow, and the uprising’s great heroine.

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