Orchha, a deserted medieval town of Madhya Pradesh, is set on an island of Betwa river. Surrounded by the scrubby forests, the heritage area of this town has charming monuments. Bundela kings had developed Orchha as their capital in 1531. They abandoned it in 1738 when they shifted to Tikamgarh. The monuments here comprise of palaces, pavilions, hamams, walls, and gates. The crumbling structures and the serene landscape together add to the historic appeal of the place. Today this historical town is amongst the finest travel destinations of Madhya Pradesh. Orchha is 124 km from Gwalior.
This 7-min video by MP Tourism offers an introduction to the monuments of Orchha:
This 25-min documentary has detailed information on Orchha:
Travel Tip: If you press hard, you can explore all the monuments of Orchha in a day. But staying here for at least two days would allow you to soak in the historic feel. A sound-and-light show is held here every evening.
Attractions in Orchha
Raja Mahal, the oldest structure in Orchha, is situated across the bridge from the fort’s entrance. It is one of the important attractions of Orchha. The palace has two rectangular courtyards, the one which was used by the queens is quite interesting. It is surrounded by the royal quarters, raised balconies, domed pavilions and turrets. A king named Rudrapratap had begun the construction of this palace in the early 16th century. Bharat Chand, Rudrapratap’s successor, completed it in the middle of the same century. There are some painted walls and ceilings in the palace. Some of the paintings are still in good condition
Jahangir Mahal is the prime attraction in Orchha. Raja Vir Singh Deo had built this palace in the 17th century. To express his gratitude to Jahangir for his support during the tough times, Vir Singh named it after him. This square sandstone palace is said to have more than 250 rooms and at least half of them are below ground level. The ornate gateway, graceful domes and beautiful ‘jalis’ impart charm to this edifice. This palace also houses a modest museum.
Rai Parveen Mahal
This simple two-storeyed structure was built by Raja Indramani in the 17th century. This palace was meant for Rai Parveen who was a concubine of the king. She was a poetess, a musician, and a dancer. On one side of the building is an octagonal Mughal garden. The building has an assembly hall on the ground floor and cool subterranean rooms.
Chhatris (Cenotaphs of Orchha)
A row of 14 pale-brown cenotaphs lie along the Kanchana Ghat of the Betwa river. These cenotaphs, though in ruins, together create a sight to behold. They appear more beautiful at sunrise and sunset. This is the place you can’t miss to visit during your tour of Orchha.
Raja Ram Temple
This temple has an interesting history. The building of this temple was originally a palace of Rani Ganesha, Madhukar Shah’s wife. Queen had brought an idol of Lord Rama from Varanasi. This idol was temporarily installed here till a temple was built for it. But when the temple was ready, the idol wouldn’t move from its place. Hence, the palace was transformed into a temple. Today Raja Ram Mandir is a popular pilgrimage site.
This seven-storeyed temple was originally built to house the idol of Lord Ram brought by Rani Ganesha. A beautiful example of Bundelkhand style of architecture, this temple has spacious courtyards surrounded by arched balconies. Though a bit exerting, a climb to the top will get you sweeping views of the town.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
You can reach Lakshmi Narayan Temple by walking a 1-km-long-paved path from the town. Perched on a hillock, this temple offers splendid views of the surroundings. Its walls and ceilings are profusely covered with the paintings of the medieval era. They beautifully portray the Bundela style of art.
Also read: Travel Destinations in Madhya Pradesh>>