Orchha, Information about Orchha, Travel to Orchha
Information about Orchha

Orchha is situated on a rock island on a bend in the Betwa river and is elevated from the surrounding wooded countryside and approached by an arched bridge. The world ‘Orchha’ means hidden. Orchha was founded by the Bundela chief Raja Rudra Pratap in the 16th century as his capital. It reamained the capital of the Bundela kings until the 18th century, when it was abandoned for Tikamgarh. Orchha is situated about 16 km. from Jhansi and 120 kms. from Gwalior. The fortified cluster of dwellings, temples and shrines in Orchha bears testimony to a medieval legacy in stone. The best time to visit Orchha is from October to March.

History of Orchha

Garkhundar, once capital of the Bundela Rajas, fell to the Tughluqs, as that dynasty was weakening. The Bundelas later expanded their control, moving their base in the early 16th century to Orchha. Raja Rudra Pratap threw a wall around the existing settlement and built the first palace, the Ramji Mandir and a bridge to it. Before his death, he started the construction of the Raj Mahal. This work was finally completed in 1591 by his successors, Bharti Chand and Madhukar Shah. Though Madhukar Shah was defeated in battle by Akbar, he nevertheless won the Mughal emperor’s friendship. Later, the Bir Singh Deo, while opposing Akbar, aligned himself with Jahangir and is believed to have killed Abu Fazl, one of Akbar’s closest friends and supporters, at Jahangir’s instigation. He was rewarded when Jahangir succeeded his father and thus ensured the ongoing prosperity of Orchha. The Jahangir Mahal was built to commemorate the emperor’s visit to Orchha. However, Bir Singh’s first son, Jhujan, ran foul of Shah Jahan and, ignoring orders, killed the neighbouring chief of Chauragarh. Jhujan was killed in the jungle by Gonds. Orchha was then pillaged. In 1783, the Bundela capital was moved to Tikamgarh, leaving Orchha to the jade green dhak forests, the Betwa river and its guardian eagles. Orchha is now a famous tourist destination, on the way from Gwalior to Khajuraho.

Tourist Attractions in Orchha

There are three palaces in Orchha, each built by succeeding Maharajas in a similar style and combined to form a complex. The three main palaces are the Raj Mahal, Jahangir Mahal and Rai Praveen Mahal. The Ramji Mandir, Ram Raja Temple, Laxminarayan Temple and the Royal Chattris are the other tourist attractions in Orchha.

Ramji Mandir
The Ramji Mandir is the prototype of Bundela Rajput architecture and has a central rectangular courtyard and apartments rising in receding plains. Much of the original blue tile decoration remains on the upper outer walls. The Raj Mahal comprises of a solid block crowned by pavilions. This palace was built by the Madhukar Shah. Despite its crumbling look, the wall paintings, portraying the Hindu religious mythology are strong and vivid. 

Jahangir Mahal, Orchha

Jahangir Mahal
The Jahangir Mahal is the most famous palace and was built by the Bundela kings in the 17th century and one of the best examples of medieval fortification in India. The Jahangir Mahal is the most impressive palace and a mixture of Hindu (brackets decorated with elephants, chattris) and Muslim styles (a formal garden, pavilions and jail lattice work). The Jahangiri Mahal is a wonderful example of Rajput Bundela architecture, with its lapis lazuli tiles, jail screens, and billowing cupolas. The palace is named after Jahangir, who spent a night there. There are 132 rooms off and above the central courtyard and an almost equal number of subterranean rooms. Hanging balconies with wide eaves provides the shade

from the sun and numerous windows give this huge palace a delicate and airy feel. The palace also contains a small museum. In the area surrounding the palace are about 100 temples. These temples are located near the confluence of the Betwa and Jamni river.

The Royal Chattris
There are 14 cenotaphs or the royal chattris of the former rulers grouped by the Kanchana Ghat on the banks of the river Betwa. These cenotaphs are overgrown and neglected and fine views can be obtained from them. These chhatris can be best viewed from the bridge connecting the massive midstream island. 

Ram Raja Temple
The Ram Raja Temple is situated near the Raj Mahal. This temple is unusual since it is the only one temple in the country where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king. Due to a dream visit by the god Rama, the Madhukar Shah brought a statue of the Lord from Ayodhya to his capital. The image was placed in the palace before its

Royal Chattris, Orchha

installation in the temple. When the time came to shift it, it proved impossible to move and Madhukar Shah remembered the deity’s edict that the image must remain in the place where it was first installed.

Laxminarayan Temple
The Laxminarayna Temple is located near the Ram Raja temple. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. The 17th century brick structure combines the architecture of a temple and a fort. There are attractive wall paintings of the developed phase of the Bundelkhand school of art. There is a fine view from the back of the temple, across the plain to the chattris and palace.

How to get here

By Air:
The nearest airport is located in Gwalior, about 120 kms. away from Orchha.

By Rail:
The nearest railway station is located at Jhansi, about 19 km away from Orchha.

By Road:
Orchha lies on the Jhansi–Khajuraho road, about 16 km from the Junction of NH 25 and 26. It is connected by road to Agra, Jhansi, Gwalior and Khajuraho.

States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Madhya Pradesh
Introduction || History || Geography || Climate || Economy || People || Languages || Festivals || Tourist Attractions || Wildlife Sanctuaries

Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bhopal || Gwalior || Indore || Jabalpur || Khajuraho || Mandu || Orchha || Sanchi || Ujjain

Distances from Cities in Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh || Bhopal || Gwalior || Hissar || Indore || Jabalpur || Kanha || Khajuraho || Shivpuri || Ujjain

Fair and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh
Madai Festival || Bhagoriya Festival || Karma Festival || Nagaji Fair || Mahashivratri || Khajuraho Dance Festival || Tansen Music Festival

Tourist Attractions in Madhya Pradesh
Eastern Group of Temples || Western Group of Temples

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh
Bandhavgarh National Park || Kanha National Park


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