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Orcha Travel Guide

Orcha - The Destination

Jehangir Mahal - Orchha

Orchha's grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. The word Orchha means hidden. In this medieval city, the hands of time have rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection.

In the heart of Bundelkhand lies this fortified group of dwellings, temples and shrines bearing testimony to the medieval legacy in stone . The  central feature of the village is  Jehangir Mahal , a 17th

century classic, that combines the ruler Bir Singh Deo’s eye for detail with sweeping views from its turrets. On two other side lies the Raj Mahal, built by the ascetic Madhukar Shah and Praveen Rai Mahal built for the beautiful companion of Raja Inder Mani. But for sheer contrast, there is little to equal the 14 elegant chhatris that line the banks of the river in the distance. Best seen from the bridge connecting the massive midstream island, the image of the chhatris lingers long after the visit. And not far off, the imposing Lakshmi Narayan, Chaturbhuj and Ram Raj temples strengthen the Bundeli spirit in a profusion of ornamental paintings.

Having seen the monuments, you must head for the river. A cataract near the bridge with gentle, rounded rocks is the ideal place to stop a while and savour the soothing flow of the Betwa. The reverie must end well before the sun goes down. For there is also the lure of the forest waiting to be explored. The road from the bridge goes right through the dense growth. Feel the pulse of the wilderness just there, only a few minutes’ drive from Orchha, as the road winds on to the second bridge on the other side of the island. Back in the village, join the procession headed for the temples. While at dusk, or if the moon is full, a walk near the water’s edge will revive the memory of the Bundela chiefs treading beside the silhouette of their imposing constructions.

Orcha - Facts at a Glance

State : Madhya Pradesh
Area : 10 sq kms
Temperature : 30°C - 45°C (Summers)
8°C - 25° C (Winters)
Language : Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, English
Best Season : October - March

History of Orcha

The history of Orchha is linked with the local Bundela rulers. It has a chequered history. The Bundela dynasty was founded by one of the local Rajput princes in the 11th century. Garkhurar was the earlier capital of the Bundelas. Raja Rudra Pratap moved the capital of the Bundelas to Orchha in 1531. One of his descendants, Raja Bir Singh Deo, built the grandiose Jehangir Mahal, a palace crowned by graceful chhatris.
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