We were planning a holiday and looking for a new destination. We were anyway planning on visiting St. Jude’s Shrine in Jhansi. While looking for hotels, I came across some lovely resorts in Orchha. Researching on this new place opened up quite a few interesting facts and snippets of history.
I got to know that Orchha is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The town was established by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh in 1501, , who became the first King of Orchha. Orchha was the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region.
Orchha lies on the Betwa River, 80 km from Tikamgarh & 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. The medieval city of Orchha seems to have frozen in time, its palaces and temples still retaining their original grandeur.
HERITAGE - A visit to this ancient capital of Bundelkhand, with its 16th and 17th century palaces and temples situated on the banks of the Betwa river, will give you a glimpse of a bygone era – the ‘India of the Maharajas’ http://orchha.org/
The Jahangir Mahal is considered to be a singularly beautiful specimen of Mughal architecture. The Uth Khana(Camel Shelter) where the King's camels were stationed is right next to the fort and is a must see. Tourists can also climb on the roof of the Uth Khana and get a fastastic view of Orchha town. The ruins behind the fort complex is an even greater watch. It makes a tourist travel back in time and is an integral part of a visit to Orchha. It houses the residences various military officers, ministers (housing, roads etc.), gunpowder factory etc.. Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river. (Wikipedia)
In the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, vibrant murals encompassing a variety of religious and secular themes, bring the walls and ceilings to rich life. Strewn around the area are the little shrines and memorials, each with its own poignant history, each contributing to the nostalgic beauty that is Orchha.
I stayed at Amar Mahal and was very pleased with my experience there. For more details, please visit my post on Trip Advisor. (MarieNaviMumbai)
Amar Mahal is located on a small hill, a stone’s throw away from the impressive cenotaphs along the Betwa river. This location offers panoramic views of the monuments and surrounding landscape. The resort is built and decorated in the traditional Bundelkhand architectural style and is spread along lush lawns and well kept gardens offering a picturesque and relaxing environment for a vacation.
Getting There -
Nearest airport is at Gwalior (119 km), which is connected with regular flights from Delhi & Bhopal.
Orchha lies on a diversion from the Jhansi-Khajuraho road. Regular bus services connect Orchha with Jhansi. Tempos and taxis are also available.
Nearest railhead is Jhansi (16 km), on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Chennai main lines. All major mail and express trains stop at Jhansi.
DO VISIT -
Built by 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.
Built 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.
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.