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.