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Ttoday might be a sleepy little town but it was once the capital of the mighty Bundelkhand. It rises out of the hills and the greenery surrounding it. “ Orcha ” meaning ‘hidden’ is a village, which has retained its own charm through the ages. Situated on the bank of river Betwa, it is just 16kms. from Jhansi. The temples and palaces built by the mighty Bundelas back in 16th and 17th centuries still stand proudly. Complementing the gentle proportions of their exteriors are interiors, which represent some of the finest example of the Bundela paintings. When the Tughlaqs were ruling Delhi in the 15th century, they pushed the Bundelkhand rajas out of Garkhundar, The Bundelkhands, then moved to this small town of Orcha . It is the best vacation spot for all travel enthusiasts from all over the world. Orcha is popular for its beautiful tourist destinations and temples, which attracts several people from all over the globe and provides them unforgettable moments of vacation.
Orcha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chief Rudra Pratap, who chose this particular piece of land along the Betwa river as the site for his capital. There is a very interesting story connected with it. The Bundelas, actually were a warrior tribe, who traced their ancestors to one young medieval Rajput prince who sacrificed his life for a mountain Goddess, Vrindavasini. In return, the Goddess affirmed that from now on, he and all his descendants would come to be known as the 'Bundelas', meaning, 'those who gave blood'. And the Orchha Bundelas came to be known as the chief of the Bundela clan.
Orcha ’s climate is tropical; summers are extremely hot, while winters can be very cold. Monsoon, generally starts from July and can last till the month of September.
How to reach
Air: Nearest airports to Orcha are Gwalior (25 kms) and Khajuraho.
Rail - Nearest railway station is Jhansi (16 km), which is on the mainline from Delhi-Bombay and Delhi-Madras. All major express and mail trains stop here.
Road: - Regular bus service to Orcha is available from Jhansi, Delhi, Gwalior, Bhopal and Varanasi.
When to visit Orcha
The best time to visit Orcha is in the winters between September and March when the temperature remains very pleasant.
PLACES TO VISIT
The wonderful city of Orcha has many places of interest for the tourists as well as people from all across the globe. Some of the most important tourist destinations in Orcha are:
Ram Raja Mandir
This is probably the most important as well as the most unusual of all the temples found in the whole of Madhya Pradesh. It is also the only temple in Orcha as well as the whole India, where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king, and that too in a palace. It is a palace turned temple and it has a wonderful legend attached to it. It is said that king Madhukar Shah brought an idol of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to be installed in the Chaturbhuj temple. But later, when the idol proved impossible to move, king Madhukar Shah remembered the deity’s proclamation that the image would remain in the place where it would be first installed. If you are planning your vacation in Orcha, you should remember that Raja Ram Mandir is one of the most visited attractions by tourists.
This temple was built on a huge platform of stone and is reached by some very steep stairs. It contains the image of Lord Rama, which was originally installed in the Ram Raja Mandir. Some very beautiful lotus emblems and a number of other religious symbols adorn the exteriors of the temple.
Raja Rudra Pratap started the work on Raja Mahal but after his death in 1531, his son Bharath Chand completed the main portion of the palace, but even he could not complete it in his lifetime. It was finally completed by one of the most famous rulers of Orcha – Madhukar Shah. He built several other monuments, towns and halls as well. Raja Mahal is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture. It has the typical “jali” or lattice work at the entrance, found in many other Mughal structures. It is a square shaped palace, which is further divided into two beautiful courtyards. The outer courtyard has some beautiful arches, while the inner ones have some of the most beautiful paintings.
Inside the palace, two places worth looking at are the “Darbar – I – Khas” and the “Diwan – I – Aam”. The entire structure of the Palace is very exquisitely constructed and very astonishing.
Another beautiful complex located in the Tikamgarh district of Orcha , is the Phool Mahal or the palace of flowers. The Phool Mahal affirms the aesthetic qualities of the Bundelas. What one finds here is an absolute work of art. A central row of fountains end into an eight-pillared pavilion. There is also a bowl-like structure called the “Chandan Katora”, from whose fountains droplets of water permeates out through the roof, just like rainfall. It is also a cool summer retreat and is locared just near the “Palki Mahal”.
Rai Parveen Mahal
Rai Parveen Mahal was built in memory of the famous musician and poetess – Rai Parveen. She was the beautiful admirer of Raja Indramani. Emperor Akbar was so mesmerized by the beauty of Rai Parveen, that on his orders she was brought to Delhi. However, after she was brought, emperor Akbar was so very impressed with the love and devotion of Rai Parveen towards Raja Indramani, that he sent her back to Orcha .
Rai Parveen Mahal is a beautiful two-storeyed brick structure built to match the height of the trees in the surroundings. It also has some beautiful garden, with octagonal flowerbeds and a very impressive water supply system. This complex also has a mini hall and some chambers as well.
Dinman Hardaul Temple
Hardaul was the son of king Bir Singh Ju Deo, who died to prove his innocence to his elder brother Jhujhar, Jhujhar had accused Hardaul of having an affair with his wife. Hardaul, the saintly prince, after his martyrdom became a cult figure and was worshipped as God. Even today, people of the Bundelkhand region worship Hardaul as God. The Dinman Hardaul Fort is located on the other side of the village, just next to the Ram Raja Temple.
The Bundela king, Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century, to celebrate the visit of emperor Jehangir to Orcha , built this fort. It provides a wonderful countryside view and the chattris or the umbrella shaped tops add to the richness of the Jehangir Mahal. There is also a small archaeological museum located inside the complex. The Jehangir Mahal is a five-storeyed complex and houses as many as eight pavilions. Of special mention here, is the fact that the third floor has a court where the Orcha rulers met with their subjects. Long lines of elephant statues cover the entrance to the court. The whole Mahal is decorated beautifully with different geometric patterns and paintings of peacocks and flowers.
The city of Orcha offers ample accommodation options. In terms of hotels you may choose from government approved and various hotels in Orcha .
- Orcha resort.
- Sheesh Mahal.
- Amar Mahal Hotel
Content Copyright © Ricardo Fernan 2007, All Rights Reserved
29-dic-07 1:33 PM