Earlier we had discussed places like Bhedaghat and Bhimbetka Rocks in our journey to explore Madhya Pradesh- the heart of India. The state has a lot to offer for travel enthusiasts and one such place which will give you a sneak peek into Indian history is Orchha.
It is situated on the Betwa River; 80 km from its district headquarter and was the capital town of state founded by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh, a Bundela Rajput, in 1531 A.D. The place is surrounded with a wall which consists of several connected buildings constructed in different periods.
In order to reach Orchha you can take flights to Gwalior which is the nearest airport and is 119 km from here. If you wish to take the rail route, the nearest railhead is Jhansi which is 16 km from Orchha.
The spectacular places at Orchha which are worth a visit include…
The fort was built in order to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. It is a tiered palace crowned with elegant chhatris (umbrellas). It’s not just their lavish exteriors but one can ponder upon the notable interiors too which represent fine arts of the Bundela School of Painting.
It is situated to the right of the quadrangle and was built by Madhukar Shah in the 17th century. The astounding interiors re-live a colourful theme on religious occasions.
Rai Parveen Mahal
Rai Parveen was a poetess and musician, paramour of Raja Indramani. She was sent to Delhi on the orders of the Emperor Akbar, who was captivated by her. However impressed by her true love for Indramani he sent her back to Orchha. The palace built for her has been skilfully carved with a stunning water supply system. It is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens which give it a splash of colour.
It is built upon a large stone platform and can be reached by a staircase. It was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple.
Ram Raja Temple
It is considered to be the most important temples of all. This is the only temple in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king that too in a palace.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
There is a path which links this temple with Ram Raja Temple. There are paintings which cover the interiors of this temple. Their excellent preservation has retained the vivid quality of their colours.
It is a formal garden with a row of fountains at its centre. It was a summer relief spot for the Orchha kings. It has a highly engineered water ventilation which connects the underground palace with Chandan Katora, a bowl-like structure from whose fountains droplets of water filtered through to the roof, simulating rainfall.
It is a small palace in ruins but is still a pilgrimage spot for Muslims. Dhurjban, son of Jhujhar, embraced Islam when he wed a Muslim girl at Delhi. He spent the latter part of his life in prayer and meditation and came to be revered as a saint.
This place commemorates the great freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad who lived and worked in hiding in Orchha during 1926 and 1927.
There are two main excursions carried out here which include Jhansi Fort and Jarai-ka-Math.
The Jhansi Fort is about 20 km from Orchha and is a mesmerizing site built by Bir Singh Ju Deo, the Raja of Orchha, in 1613. The fort has a total of ten gates and showcases a fine collection of sculptures which depict the history of Bundelkhand. Jarai-ka-Math is a beautiful temple at the same distance from Orchha and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Other places worth seeing are the shrines of Siddh Baba Ka Sthan, Jugal Kishore, Janki Mandir and the Hanuman Mandir at Ochharedwara.
If we look deeply, there’s a lot we can learn from our ancestors who left us their priceless cultural heritage. In order to continue this traditional aura, Free Press Journal requests its readers to take an initiative and protect such places from losing their historical significance and getting demolished.