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Orchha

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Orchha is a city in Madhya Pradesh.

Get in

From Agra/Delhi/Gwalior: Take a train to Jhansi station, and then hire a car or auto-rickshaw to Orchha. By auto-rickshaw, it takes about 40 minutes; by car, 20 minutes. The listed price at the pre-paid taxi stand was 200 rupees, however, you'll have to negotiate the price with the driver that you take. You can reach Orchha while returning to Jhansi from Khajuraho, as a detour. While coming to Jhansi from Khajuraho, when you reach on the outskirts of Jhansi city, take left on the Orchha Tigaila(triangle). That road will lead to Orchha.

Get around

The village is small enough that you can walk most of it.

See

Orchha is a tiny farming town dotted with historical sites. Of note:

  • Chaturbhuj Mandir(temple): A very quiet temple that affords a view of the entire city from its rooftop. You can explore the maze of nooks and crannies of the temple for free. It's possible to get into one of the towers from the roof.
  • Ram Raja temple (closed during the afternoon): This is the center around which the life of Orchha revolves. The presiding Deity here is Lord Ram. The idols were meant to be installed in the magnificent Chaturbhuj temple, but when the idols, once kept on the ground(where they are today), refused to move. So a makeshift temple was built around it and is known as Ram Raja temple. It has an excellent courtyard, tiled with marble and the temple in pink and yellow colors, gives a bright look.
  • Raj Mahal

The fort complex is a great place to visit. Divided into 3 parts, it consists of

Jehangir Mahal Built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatris and trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness.

Raj Mahal Situated to the right of the quadrangle, this palace was built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. The plain exteriors, crowned by chhatris, give way to interiors with exquisite murals, boldly colourful on a variety of religious themes.

Rai Parveen Mahal Poetess and musician, Rai Parveen was the beautiful paramour of Raja Indramani (1672- 76) and was sent to Delhi on the orders of the Emperor Akbar, who was captivated by her. She so impressed the Great Mughal with the purity of her love for Indramani that he sent her back to Orchha.

Chaturbhuj Temple Built upon a massive stone platform and reached by a steep flight of steps, the temple was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Lotus emblems and other symbols of religious significance provide the delicate exterior ornamentation. Within, the sanctum is chastely plain with high, vaulted walls emphasizing its deep sanctity.

Laxminarayan Temple A flagstone path links this temple with the Ram Raja Temple. The style is an interesting synthesis of fort and temple moulds. The interiors contain the most exquisite of Orchha's wall paintings. Covering the walls and ceiling of three halls, these murals are vibrant compositions and cover a variety of spiritual and secular subjects. They are in excellent state of preservation, with the colours retaining their vivid quality.

Phool Bagh Laid out as a formal garden, this complex testifies to the refined aesthetic qualities of the Bundelas. A central row of fountains culminates in an eight pillared palace-pavilion. A subterranean structure below was the cool summer retreat of the Orchha kings. An ingenious system of water ventilation connects the underground palace with Chandan Katora, a bowl-like structure from whose fountains droplets of water filtered through to the roof, simulating rainfall.

Sunder Mahal This small palace, almost in ruins today is still a place of pilgrimage for Muslims. Dhurjban, son of Jhujhar, embraced Islam when he wed a Muslim girl at Delhi. He spent the latter part of his life in prayer and meditation and came to be revered as a saint.

Chhatris(Cenotaphs) There are 14 Chhatris or Memorials to the rulers of Orchha, grouped along the Kanchan Ghat of the river Betwa.

Buy

A very small market starting from the main crossroads in front of the Ram Raja temple, coming towards the temple compund, is full of small shops selling souvenirs, handicrafts, beaded chains, gemstones, and other such items. If you are good at bargaining, you can enjoy the shopping here.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

The MP State Tourism Board has two accomodation options in Orchha


Seesh Mahal Situated in the palace, it is a beautifully designed hotel set in pristine heritage. Rates vary between 2000 - 5000 INR

Betwa Retreat A resort located on the banks of the picturisque betwa River, it has host of options like regular rooms and adventurous swiss tents. cost vary between 1000 - 5000 INR

Private option: Orchha Resort Located near the banks of Betwa river, it offers an amazing holiday option. Cultural programmes, a great poolside place, good food and comfy rooms. Cost varies between 2000 - 6500 INR

Get out

You can get an auto rickshaw driver to take you to Jhansi for around Rs 200.

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