ORCHHA - BEST PLACES TO VISIT AND THINGS TO DO

Orchha is a beautiful town in Tikamgarh district of  Madhya Pradesh state of central India, which has amazing places to visit. It is a town full of historical monuments such as forts, palaces, temples and other buildings that showcase the royal lifestyle and will have you travel back in time. The monuments made in different eras will give you an insight into how the art of construction of buildings evolved over a period of time. The different architectural styles of different eras have their own uniqueness. Each historical building has its own tale to tell. So you will come across a different story for each building.

Also known as Urcha, the town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh as the seat of an erstwhile princely state in Bundelkhand region of central India. Though not exactly known it is believed that Orchha was established somewhere around 1501. Situated on the bank of Betwa river it is at a distance of 80 km(50 mi) from Tikamgarh and 15 km(9.3 mi) from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. Rudra Pratap Singh, who was the king from 1501 to 1531, also built the Orchha Fort.


PLACES TO SEE IN ORCHHA


1. Orchha Fort - The biggest attraction and one of the best places to visit in Orchha is its largest monument, Orchha Fort which houses many palaces and forts. Situated on a seasonal island on Betwa river in a very scenic location, it is a huge palace-fort which consists of several interconnected buildings. The interesting part is that these buildings, including forts and palaces, were built at different times and under the reign of different kings. The three most prominent and attractive among these are Raja Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, and Rai Parveen Mahal.




Orchha fort, Madhya Pradesh
ORCHHA FORT
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Orchha fort , Madhya Pradesh picture
INSIDE ORCHHA FORT
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Raja Mahal, built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah, depicts his deep religious beliefs in its design. It is the oldest monument in the fort. It's bold and colorful murals revolving around religion are quite stunning.




Raja Mahal at Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
RAJA MAHAL
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Jahangir Mahal was built by Madhukar Shah's successor Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in honor of his friend, the Mughal emperor Jahangir. It is considered to be a great example of Mughal architecture and its grandeur.



Jahangir Mahal, Orchha
JAHANGIR MAHAL
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Rai Parveen Mahal - Rai Parveen was a dancer and a poetess in the court of king Indramani, who was deeply in love with her and built this beautiful palace for her. The palace was at it's beautiful best with lush green gardens and magnificent balconies, but now it is in ruins but still worth a visit.




Rai Parveen Mahal, Orchha
RAI PARVEEN MAHAL
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2. Ram Raja Temple - This is the center of attraction in Orchha. The presiding deity in the temple is Lord Rama. It is believed that the idol of Lord Rama was supposed to be shifted to Chaturbhuj Temple but idol refused to move from here, so a temple was built around the idol. The temple has a plain exterior with projecting windows and delicate domes. It is built on a square base. Ram Raja Temple is a highly respected and revered place for the locals.






Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
RAM RAJA TEMPLE
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Picture of Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF RAM RAJA TEMPLE
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3. Chaturbhuj Temple - This is another beautiful temple with marvelous architecture and is counted among the top places to visit in Orchaa. Again, it was built in the 17th century by the Bundela king and he is said to have chosen the site of the temple himself to enable him to have a view of Lord Krishna, directly from his palace. The sheer beauty of the architecture is so mesmerizing that it may inspire many architectural minds. You can get a stunning view of the city surroundings from the top of the temple.




Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha
CHATURBHUJ TEMPLE
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View of Chaturbhuj Tenple, Orchha
ANOTHER VIEW OF CHATURBHUJ TEMPLE
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Also, read: Chanderi - Land of history, nature, and silk
4. Laxminarayan Temple - Constructed in a design which is the blend of temple and fort, this temple has it's own uniqueness. It was built in 1662 and shows innovative minds even at that time. Beautiful and exquisite wall paintings of that time adorn the walls of the temple and their color and grandeur are still intact.




Laxminarayan Temple, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
LAXMINARAYAN TEMPLE
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5. Dinman Hardaul's Palace - This palace was named after prince Hardaul and built in his honor. The story goes that prince Hardaul's elder brother Jhujhar suspected him to be involved with his companion. Prince Hardaul took the decision to end his life to prove his innocence and uphold his value. Dinman Hardaul palace was built to honor his sacrifice. The palace was built in the 17th century but its architecture stands proof of the skill of the artisans of that time.




Dinman Hardaul Palace, Madhya Pradesh
DINMAN HARDAUL PALACE
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6. Jhansi Fort - Another gem of a place to visit in Orchaa is the Jhansi Fort. The fort is located right in the center of the city in an area of 49 acres and is said to be one of the best-fortified areas in India. It was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo on a hill in the 17th century and is also known as 'Rani Jhansi ka Quila'. There is a museum inside the form that has stored sculptures of that time and depicts the history of that area.


7. Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary - Spread over an area of 46 sq. km, it is a prime attraction of Orchha. It was established in the year 1994 and its beauty is enhanced by the river Betwa, which flows through the area. It houses a wide variety of wild animals including tigers, leopards, langurs, jackals and sloth bear. It is a paradise for bird watchers as it has over 200 species of birds and many migratory birds like a woodpecker, jungle bush quail, black swan, and geese visit this sanctuary.




Wildlife sanctuary at Orchha
WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
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8. Chattris - Chattris meaning cenotaphs are an integral part of Orchha and glorify the cultural heritage of the era goneby. There are 14 chattris built on the sides of Betwa river apart from many other dottings the Orchha landscape. These chattris reflect the mighty Bundelkhand dynasty and are a testament of their contribution in the region. Their amazing architecture has to be seen to be believed.




Chattris of Orchha
CHATTRIS
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9. Uth Khana - Or the house/shelter of camels. This is where camels used to rest. It is located next to Orchha Fort. You can go to the roof of uth khana and have a splendid view of the entire Orchha town.

Besides this, if you want to explore further, go behind the Orchha fort and you will find ruins of houses of various ministers and officials of that time apart from a gunpowder factory. Walking through these ruins gives a strong feeling of walking back in time and is quite exhilarating. Orchha has a beautiful landscape.


Apart from monuments, there are so many other things to do in Orchha.

10. RAFTING AND BOATING IN BETWA RIVER

River rafting is one of the adventurous things to do in Orchha. Rafting and boating are allowed in the river Betwa. Rafting starts from the Boat club. It is quite an enjoyable experience. A single raft usually carries up to 6 people and charges around INR1000 for the same. Tickets for rafting can be purchased from MP Tourism offices at hotel Sheesh Mahal or Betwa retreat.

11. AYURVEDIC MASSAGE

If you want to relax your body and mind, go for an ayurvedic massage. It is relaxing as well as soothing. This ayurvedic massage is available in Orchha Resort as well as Amar Mahal. The charges could vary from INR500-2000.

12. NATURE TRAIL

Just 5 km from the city, in Orchha Natural Reserve, is a beautiful river island called nature trail. This is a 12 km long island, surrounded by river Betwa and river Jamni. There is a very nominally priced entry ticket available here itself, which you need to buy. Just walk around and enjoy the peaceful natural beauty. You can also do cycling here as the trail is well marked with signposts and there is no risk of getting lost.

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REACHING ORCHHA 


Air - The nearest airport is Gwalior at about 120 km(75 mi) distance. Gwalior is well connected to other major cities by regular flights. From here you can take a taxi and reach Orchha.


Rail - The nearest railway station is Jhansi, which is about 16 km(10 mi) away. From Jhansi, you have the option of hiring a taxi or getting on to a bus or even an autorickshaw.


Road - Orchha is well connected by road and is easily accessible from major cities like Gwalior and Jhansi. You can hire a taxi from these places to reach Orchha. Many private and government buses are also available from Jhansi. And you can even hire an auto rickshaw from Jhansi to reach there.


WHERE TO STAY IN ORCHHA - There are hotels in Orchha suiting all budgets. You can get budget hotels to luxury hotels as per your requirement and budget.


SO HAPPY TRAVELING!!



2 comments:

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