Prepare to be transported back in time when you visit the historic town of Orchha. Founded in the 16th century, this remarkable town of Madhya Pradesh boasts an incredible history, as well as exquisite and breathtaking monuments. Wander through stunning palaces and visit imposing forts. Offering a mixture of nature, a wealth of history and spectacular sights, Orchha is one town you simply have to see!
One of the most popular reasons people visit Orchha is the extraordinary Orchha Fort. Built after the founding of the town, the impressive fort is a sight to behold. This incredible complex consists of three palaces, the Jahangir Mahal, the Raj Mahal and the Rai Praveen Mahal. Constructed by several successive maharajas, the fort gives a unique insight into a time gone by. Explore spectacular palaces and courtyards built over hundreds of years and see beautiful examples of Rajput, Islamic and Mughal architecture.
Located just outside of Orchha is the Jhansi Fort, an imposing structure, but one of great importance. Built in 1613 and having survived many battles, this fort is not only enormous, covering 15 acres, but also incredibly striking. Playing an important role in the defence of Jhansi for many years, you can’t miss a visit to this impressive fort!
Located along the banks of the river Betwa, these chhatris (cenotaphs) were built in commemoration of the Bundela royalty. Situated on an elevated platform, the cenotaphs are three stories high. Each chhatri is more extravagently built to denote the length of reign. An absolutely incredible memorial to rulers past, these 14 chhatris can be visited on foot or can be seen from the river.
Orchha Nature Reserve
Venture out from the hustle and bustle and into the beauty of the Orchha Nature Reserve. Amongst the thick forest, seek out fascinating creatures such as spotted deer, wild pig, monkeys and sloth bears. What this reserve is most well known for however, is its incredible array of birdlife, with over 200 bird species calling this area home. This area is known for its swans, Jungle Bush quail, kingfisher, owls and woodpecker amongst many others. Explore the area on hiking, jungle trekking, river rafting and canoeing trips.
Stroll along the river, enjoy tranquil sunset views or visit the memorial chhatris at the Kanchana Ghat. For the more adventurous, Betwa River is home to many water sports. This scenic beauty is the perfect place to enjoy kayaking, sailing and river rafting.
Rolling green gardens, spouting fountains and exquisite architecture– Phool Bagh is a peaceful retreat for visitors today, just as it once was for royalty. However, the story of how the gardens were built is an interesting one. It is said that they were erected in honour of Dinman Hardaul, a prince who died proving his innocence. Accused of having an affair with his sister-in-law, he died a martyr. Despite the dramatic story, today these gardens offer nothing but a tranquil oasis.
Palaces; you will be overwhelmed for choice when exploring this captivating town! Dedicated to the prince’s memory is the Dinman Hardaul Palace, nearby Phool Bagh. Also visit Rani Mahal; an extravagant palace that today exhibits beautiful paintings and intricate carvings. Once the quarters of the wife of Raja Madhukar Singh, this palace is appropriately lavish. Finally, continue on to the Sunder Mahal. Built as a symbol of love, it was created in honour of a prince who abandoned his duties in order to be with a Muslim woman. Today, it is a place of pilgrimage for many Muslims.
Ram Raja Temple
Built in the 16th century, this temple is not only an incredible structure. The Ram Raja Temple is revered for its great religious significance, as it is the only temple where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king. With many flocking to pay their respects here, a different style of worship is also observed– a gun salute! Make sure you pay a visit to this unique temple…
Built by King Madhukar and completed in 1573, Chaturbhuj Temple is truly awe-inspiring. The temple was originally built to hold the statue of Lord Rama housed in the Ram Raja Temple. However, it is said when the ruler of Orchha at the time attempted to relocate it, it could not be moved. Instead today, the temple houses a four-armed statue of Lord Vishnu.
A mixture of both fort and temple architecture, the Laxminarayan Temple is truly spectacular. Although devoted to the goddess Laxmi, the temple surprisingly does not have an idol dedicated to her. Instead, admire beautiful paintings and vignettes depicting the siege of Jhansi.
Off the beaten track, historical and architecturally stunning, Orchha is one place that should be on everyone’s India itinerary!