Orchha

Located at a distance of 16 km from Jhansi, Orchha rises out of the hills and the greens surrounding it. The historical monuments of Orchha still retain their pristine charm and narrate stories of war and peace, of love and destruction.

The word Orchha means 'hidden'. Situated on banks of the river Betwa, it used to be the capital of the region (Bundelkhand) but now is a small village. The palaces are of impressive size and there are pleasant views of the countryside from their upper levels. Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatries. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacular. Orchha is abandoned now but not forgotten. Complementing the noble proportions of their exteriors and interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela school of painting.

Orchha as it stands today, was founded in the 16th century a.d. by the Bundela chieftain, Rudra Pratap. The Bundelas were a warrior tribe who traced their ancestry to a medieval Rajput prince who sacrificed his life for the mountain goddess, Vrindavasini. In returnAmar Mahal Orccha, the goddess proclaimed that henceforth, he and his descendants would be known as ‘Bundelas’, or ‘those who gave blood’. The Orchha Bundelas are said to be chiefs of the Bundela clan settled all over the plains of North India.

Sightseeing at Orchha -
Temples of Orchha : Orchha also has a series of magnificent temples, dating back to the 17th century. They are still in use today and visited regularly by thousands of devotees. The soaring spires of Ram Raja Temple and the well-preserved murals of the Lakshmi Naraya Temple are especially worth a visit. 14 beautiful Chhattris (cenotaphs) or memorials are lined up on the Kanchana Glut of the river Betwa.

Rama Raaja Temple : This palace turned temple has a charming legend attached to it. Following the dream-visitation of Rama, the pious Madhukar Shah brought a statue of the god from Ayodhya to his capital. Today, with its soaring spires and palatial architecture, the temple is surely one of the most unusual in India. It is also the only one in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king(Raja).

Phool Bagh : The walled Phool Bagh or Flower Gardens is a cool summer retreat. A sight you must not miss.

Jahangir Mahal : The most admired palace of Orchha's, the Jehangir Mahal, was built by Bir Singh Deo. It was built as a present to welcome Mughal emperor Jehangir when he paid a state visit in the 17th century.

Reaching Orchha -
By Air : Nearest airports are - Gwalior 25Kms or Khajuraho 1732 Kms
By Rail : Regular bus service from -Jhansi (25Kms), Delhi, Gwalior, Agra, Bhopal and Varanasi.
By Road : Orchha lies on the Jhansi - Khajuraho road. Regular bus services connect Orchha with Jhansi. Autorickshaws are available on hire from Jhansi for a tour of all the tourist spots in Orchha.


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