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The wonderful town of Orchha, situated by a river, is the true respite for tourism in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. This historical town lives up to its name, Orchha, meaning the hidden city. Surrounded by a forest from all sides it was founded by the Rajput King Rudrapatap in the 16th century. During the Mughal rule over India, the kings of Orchha ruled here among favor and resistance from three generations of Mughal Emperors. However, truly blessed, the town grew to be the capital of Bundela kings, who built some marvelous structures here. Today, it is one of the towns with a high density of tourist attractions in India. This relatively small settlement hosts various temples of historical as well as religious importance, a magnificent fort with a wide range of monuments within and the chatris of the Orchha kings situated beautifully on the bank of Betwa River. Most of the places in Orchha can be easily reached afoot. However, the roads are good enough to roam through the village in a vehicle.

 

One of the major attractions of Orchha is the Orchha Fort Complex. On a one minute walk from the main marketplace, this set of grand structures dominates the eastern side of the town. The first of the palaces within the complex is the Raaj Mahal. This beautiful residence of the kings is well known for the religious murals painted on its walls. It was built by Madhukar Shah during the later half of the 16th century.

 

The next and the best monument inside the fort is Jehangir Mahal. It was built by Bir Singh Deo in the 17th century. Bir Singh, who was a close friend of Jehangir, built it to welcome Empror Jehangir during his one day’s stay in Orchha. This three storied structure has a grand courtyard with a fountain in the centre. This beautiful palace is a fine example Hindu architecture during middle ages.

 

Rai Pravin Mahal, the palace of the beautiful and exceptionally gifted queen, resides on the Northern end of the complex. Rai Pravin was a talented dancer and singer with a great taste in art. It is believed that Jehangir had fallen in love with her during his visit and proposed to marry her, but loyal to her husband, Queen Rai Pravin had declined the offer respectfully.

 

Amongst other monuments within the complex is Sheesh Mahal. This beautiful building sharing a portion of Jehangir Mahal has been converted into a heritage hotel. There are also some camel stables in the rear of the complex.

 

Orchha is also famous for its Raja Ram Mandir. This is the only temple in India where Ram is worshiped as a King. This temple was originally a palace. The statue of Lord Ram here was brought from Ayodhya by Rani Ganesh Kunwari, the wife of Madhukar Shah. It was to be installed in a temple that would be built. However, when the statue was placed inside the palace temporarily, it occurred to the queen that the condition upon which the statue had been given to her was that once the statue had been placed anywhere in the town, it would become its place for the eternity. Hence the statue never moved from the fortified palace, and the structure later took form of a temple.

 

The great building of Chatirbhuj Temple near Raja Ram Mandir easily dominates the western half of the town. This was supposed to be the temple where the statue of Raja Ram would be placed. It was built by Madhukar Shah. This temple, a wonderful example of Hindu architecture, is an exciting place to visit and roam through. You will need a flashlight and a ticket (bought from the fort) to climb up the narrow stairways that connect three stories of the temple. The windows and balconies reached this way offer nice and all around view of the town.

 

At the far Northeastern end of the town is Laxmi Narayan Temple. An architectural fusion, the temple is partly built in the style of a fort. There are some magnificent murals on the walls of this temple. At the southern end of the town lie the famous Chatris of Orchha. These temple-like monuments built to remember the Orchha kings are beautifully situated on the bank of River Betwa and make a wonderful site during sunrise and sunset.

 

Orchha is situated nearly 20 kilometers from Jhansi and provides excellent staying facilities. There are some famous resorts here along with a wide range of medium and economy range hotels and guest houses. It is highly recommended that you stay here by night, so that you can enjoy the early morning as well as evening atmosphere in the town, which can be enjoyable as Orchha is a place made for tourists. It wont be a bad idea to reach Orchha directly instead of going to Jhansi and root a two-night halt, during which you can make a half day trip to visit Jhansi Fort.


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Orccha, A Worth Visiting Place - by Namit Patel  Dated : 2011-05-02
Located 18 kilometers away from Jhansi in the northern Madhya Pradesh is a small town Orccha. This place has really great history. I had landed at Jhansi after a train travel from Gwalior and had plans to see Orccha and ultimately move towards Khajuraho.

Orccha is really small village with a population of approximately 9000 people; it is tiny settlement if compared to other tourist places in India. When I took a look at its appearance I found it had a studded skyline, one with palaces and temples. A little bit of google searching had told me that this place was founded by Rajput Bundela dynasty in the 16th century. And that is why it had this royal kind of an impression on my mind.

Palaces such as the Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal were built way back in the 16th century. The Chaturbhuj temple is also very attractive. the Bundela's Orchha rule which lasted for 450 years. Orchha, today, is a popular tourist destination because of its history and architecture but is not as touristy or as popular as Khajuraho which means that it keeps its small village charm. I loved Orchha because of this and because it was quiet and peaceful. En route to Khajuraho from Jhansi you can visit this place, you will not be disappointed, it is worth a visit if you have a little spare time.
Orccha, Small yet Sweet Place - by Tarun Tharoor  Dated : 2011-04-04
Orccha literally means something ‘hidden’. Indeed this place is a hidden tourist destination in the heart of India, the state of Madhya Pradesh. World Heritage Site, Khajuraho is its neighbor. You can club the visit to these two places conveniently. Both of them are historically important places. The city of Orccha is small, but a sweet settlement.

When I visited Orccha the temperatures were soaring, the heat was unbearable. However, I was unperturbed. To be precise, this place is small and the main tourist attractions or the places worth seeing in Orccha are the Laxmi Narayan Temple, the Rai Praveen Mahal, Chaturbhuj Temple, the Raja Ram Temple, Chandrashekhar Azad Memorial and Sheesh Mahal. This Sheesh Mahal has now been converted into a hotel, you can book rooms here.

The Laxmi Narayan temple has beautiful wall paintings. Rai Praveen Mahal was built by King Indramani for his lover Rai Praveen, a singer and poetess. It is a beautiful palace. There is also this Jahangir Mahal, built in honor of Emperor Jahangir. The Chaturbhuj temple is the only temple in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a King and not God. There are not many good hotels here, better check on the internet for bookings, I stayed in a small, cheap hotel, did not waste time because I had to spend just a night in Orccha.

The day I reached Orccha I was on a spree to visit the temples, I am not very religious but not an atheist either. Visiting the temples was a little hectic, there was a lot rush. But no complains, it was nice to see those ages old temples. I had m lunch in a small restaurant, the food was good. At night my hotel informed about a bonfire night nearby, I walked to that place, it was nice socialize a bit. There were some foreigners who were to head to Khajuraho. It was nice to spend a day in Orccha.
Orchha, a Royal City - by Dilip Gotmare  Dated : 2011-04-01
The Rani Mahal is Orchha gives you a spectacular view of the whole city. The view from the Rani Mahal also gives a view of the distant Betwa River.

The Raja Mahal is another monument in Orchha. The Raja Mahal has 2 magnificent courtyards. The courtyards were built because of the ancient Indian concept of the mandapas. Another important feature inside the Raja Mahal is the Diwan-e-Khas. The Diwan-e-Khas is known for its wonderful designs.

The Jahangir Mahal in Orchha is a magnificent piece of architecture, built by the Bundela kingdom. The Jahangir Mahal is so beautiful that when you visit it once, you will feel like going back there again.

Orchha is a trade hub. Even in the past, Orchha was a busy trading place. This continuous trade that took place in the city gave rise to a new sect of people, called the merchants. The merchants were very rich. They were also very influential among the ruling kings.

The merchants in Orchha built palatial houses there. This was possible because the merchants were very wealthy. The houses of the merchants were replicas of the palaces in the city. The merchant’s houses were not as big as the palaces of the kings and queens.

The houses of the merchants in Orchha are called havelis. Dauji-ki-haveli is an example of these havelis. The Dauji-ki-haveli is a very well preserved haveli and has thus maintained its charm. This havelis looks like a miniature replica of a royal palace.
Orchha, a Great City - by Anju Patni  Dated : 2011-04-01
There is a fort in Orchha and there is a Rani Mahal in the fort complex. The Rani Mahal is known for its lovely paintings. The Rani Mahal is also called the Queen’s chamber and was the residence of King Madhukar Shah’s wife.

The queen living in the Rani Mahal was a great devotee of lord Rama. There are several paintings in the Rani Mahal which are scenes from the epic, Ramayana. There is a painting of Bhima in the Queen’s chamber, which are truly beautiful. There is also a painting of a bird flying with elephants, which is fantastic.

The Raja Mahal in Orchha was the residence of the kings of Orchha. Raja Mahal is located in the Tikamgarh district in Madhya Pradesh. The exterior of the Raja Mahal is decorated with beautiful towers and the interior is decorated with mural paintings.

The Jahangir Mahal is an outstanding palace in Orchha. It was built to honour the visit of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, to Orchha.

The Jahangir Mahal is a blend of Indian and Islamic architecture. The palace has hanging balconies, domes and delicate sculptures. The gateway of the Jahangir Mahal leads to the front of the Mahal. The front wall of the palace is covered with turquoise tiles and the arrival of Emperor Jahangir was announced by ringing the bells of the stone elephants on the stairway.

The Jahangir Mahal was built in the 17th century.
Orchha near Jhansi - by Reema Thakur  Dated : 2011-04-01
Orchha is a small village which is located 18 kilometres away from Jhansi. Orchha is a historic village and thus is a must-visit destination. One of the ways to reach Orchha is to take a train from Gwalior, via Jhansi and then get down at Jhansi and take a bus from there to Orchha.

Orchha is a small place with a population of 8,500 people. Even in spite of this, there are many impressive palaces and temples in the village. This is because Orchha was founded by the Rajput bundela clan in the 16th century.

The Rajputs in Orchha built magnificent palaces here. Two such examples of the palaces are Raja Mahal and Jahangir Mahal. Amongst the temples, the Chaturbhuj temple is well-known.

It was during the 20th century that Orchha reached its pinnacle. During this time the village had a population of 3,20,000 people and an area of 2,080 square miles.

Orchha village is situated 18 kilometres away from Jhansi. The Orchha village combined with the Union of India in the year 1950. This ended the Bundela’s rule there. The Bundelas had ruled in Orchha for 450 years. Orchha is a good tourist destination because of its history and architecture, but it’s not as famous as other tourist destinations. Thus, Orchha has retained its village charm and is therefore liked by tourists.
A Brief Orccha Visit - by Anand Maheshwari  Dated : 2011-03-29
On my way to Khajuraho from Agra, I came across this beautiful town named Orccha. It lies just off the main highway that links Khajuraho to Agra. Lying on the shores of the Betwa River, its palaces, temples and royal cenotaphs together make it an exceptional settlement, with a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, not very easy to find in India. Visiting this place en route to Khajuraho will not leave you disappointed, you will be more than happy to be there.

Orccha literally means ‘hidden’. It was founded in the 16th century by Rudra Pratap, a Bundela Rajput chieftain. He chose this land along the Betwa River as an ideal capital. The places worth visiting in Orccha are the Jehangir Palace, the Chaturbhuj Temple and Laxmi Narayan Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal and the Raj Mahal.
The Jehangir Mahal was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo. There are also large and impressive cenotaphs built by Bundela rulers to remember the dead royals in its area. The Raj Mahal was built by Raja Madhukar Shah in the 16th century. These are beautiful and bold murals on the ceilings of its walls. A pathway from this palace leads you to the Praveen Mahal, it was built in the 17th century because the then King loved to watch dance. It is surrounded by lovely lawns. You feel enchanted when you walk around because this place has peaceful atmosphere, and it is quite cool here. the Chaturbhuj and Laxminarayan temple have beautiful interiors and are a great piece of architecture.

In this small settlement there very few shows, handful good hotels and restaurants. It is better to devote a single day to this place and move forward to your main destination than rather halting here. You can walk around on foot since the place is not very large.