Orcha is a quaint destination on the bank of river Betwa. It was founded by Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap. The kingdom reached at its highest glory during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, who made the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chattris. From here you will get the spectacular view of the soaring temple spires and the cenotaphs. The interiors of the construction represent the finest flowering of the Bundela School of painting.
Places to see at Orcha: A multi-arched bridge, will take you to the Orcha fort has three palaces set in an open quadrangle. The most spectacular of these are:
Constructed during the reign of 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.
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. The palace built for her is a low, two-storeyed brick structure designed to match the height of the trees in the surrounding, beautifully landscaped gardens of Anand Mahal, with its octagonal flower beds and elaborate water supply system. Skillfully carved niches allow light into the Mahal which has a main hall and smaller chambers.
The temple lies 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.
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.
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.
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.
There are 14 Chhatris or Memorials to the rulers of Orchha, grouped along the Kanchan Ghat of the river Betwa.
This epitaph is built to commemorate the great freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad who lived and worked in hiding in Orchha during 1926 and 1927. Other places worth seeing are the shrines of Siddh Baba Ka Sthan, Jugal Kishore, Janki Mandir and the Hanuman Mandir at Ochharedwara.
Ram Raja Temple
The Ram Raja Temple is perhaps the most important though unusual of all the temples in Orchha. This is the only temple in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king that too in a palace. According to legends, once Lord Rama appeared in a dream to king Madhukar Shah and directed him to build a temple for him. The king followed the instructions given by Rama and brought his idol from Ayodhya, the birthplace of the lord. However, the construction of the temple was not complete when the idol arrived from Ayodhya. So it was kept in the palace for the time being. Later, the king remembered that in the dream Lord Rama had specifically mentioned that his idol could not be removed from the place where it has been originally kept. This led the king to abandon the construction of the temple and instead the palace where the idol was kept was converted into a temple.
Nearby Attractions around Orcha: Orcha has a number of nearby attractions.
The fort is about 20 km from Orcha and was built by Raja Bir Singh. The fort lies upon a rocky hill in the town of Balwantnagar now known as Jhansi. The fort has fine collection of sculptures which provide an excellent insight into the eventful history of Bundelkhand. The places of interest include Karak Bijli Toup (Tank), Rani Jhansi Garden, Shiv temple, and a Mazar of Ghulam Gaus Khan, Moti Bai and Khuda Baksh.
Barua Sagar Fort
Perches on a picturesque location from where the excellent view of the lake is really captivating. The place is named after the Barua Sagar Tal, which was created about 260 years ago by Raja Udit Singh. The town is situated on the road to Khajuraho from Jhansi.
This beautiful temple is located 20 km away from Orcha and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The battle of Maratha and Bundela kings were fought here.
Things to do at Orcha: Lying along the Betwa River which very rough here, if you have any adventurous bend of mind enjoy the river rafting here. Lying on the other side of the river is the Orcha wild life sanctuary. This was once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bundela.
Best time to visit Orcha: The ideal time to visit Orcha is from October to March.
How to go ?
Jhansi railway station which is 16 km frm Orcha is the nearest railway station. From there you can hire a car to reach Orcha.
From Jhansi or Gwalior buses leave from Orcha.
Nearest airport to Orchha is at Gwalior (119 km), which is connected with regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
Where to stay ?
There are some hotels at Orcha.
Orcha Resort: +91-7680-252222, 290390 Website: www.orchharesort.com
Amar Mahal: +91-7680-252102, 252202, 09893496031 Website: www.amarmahal.com
Hotel Aditya: +91-92111 77444
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
Hotel Sunrise: +91-9425342335