Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In Ayodhya, preparations are underway for the Pran Pratishtha of Lord Ram, but in Madhya Pradesh's Orchha, also known as the 'Ayodhya of Bundelkhand', Lord Ram was enthroned not as a God but as a King.
This is why Lord Ram gets a royal salute every day. Located in the Niwari district of Bundelkhand, Orchha is home to a grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram, where he is revered as a king. Situated on the banks of the Betwa river, this city is unique in saluting only King Ram. No specific individual is honoured with a salute within the walls of Orchha. The story of Lord Ram being worshipped as a king in Orchha dates back to the years between 1554 and 1594.
During that time, the Bundela dynasty ruled in Orchha. Ancient documents reveal that the then King Madhukar Shah was a Krishna devotee and his wife Kunwar Ganesh was a Ram devotee. Arguments followed between the two regarding their devotion. Madhukar Shah planned a visit to Vrindavan, but Kunwar Ganesh was not willing to accompany him. In response, a debate ensued, and the king challenged the queen that "If your Ram really exists then bring him to Orchha from Ayodhya".
Accepting the king's challenge, Queen Kunwar Ganesh set out for Ayodhya. Upon reaching Ayodhya, she prayed to Lord Ram and requested him to come to Orchha. However, her efforts were unsuccessful, which left the queen disappointed. In her despair, she jumped into the Saryu river.
During this tragic incident, an idol of Lord Ram appeared in the queen's pallu (the loose end of a saree). Lord Ram, moved by the queen's sacrifice, agreed to go to Orchha but with certain conditions. Lord Ram placed three conditions before her -- I will be enthroned as a king in Orchha, where once I sit down, I will not get up from there and will only go to Orchha on foot on an auspicious day.
Following these conditions, Kunwar Ganesh set out with Lord Ram towards Orchha from Ayodhya. According to the legend, the construction of the grand temple was going on when Ganesh Kunwar reached Orchha with Lord Ram.
The queen placed Lord Ram in the kitchen from where he did not get up, as laid down in the three conditions. The kitchen premises were then converted into a temple. Local expert Pandit Jagdish Tiwari explains that in Orchha, Lord Ram is not seen as a Lord but as a King.
This is the reason why Lord Ram is saluted three times a day, and no one else is entitled to such an honour here. Hence, it is said, "Ram's residence is special, days are spent in Orchha, and nights in Ayodhya." Tiwari said during the day Lord Ram stays here but goes to Ayodhya to sleep. That is why it is said that "Lord Ram has two special residences -- in the day he resides in Orchha and in the night in Ayodhya." While the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Lord Ram is scheduled to take place in Ayodhya on January 22, various events are also planned in Orchha on this occasion.