Orchha, a treasure trove of forts, rivers, forests and cultures and only a five-hour rail and road journey away from Delhi, is now projected as a ‘hidden treasure’ of Madhya Pradesh. Namaste Orchha, a new annual cultural festival, recently organised by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board in the town, has gathered famous musicians, dancers and chefs from India and abroad to signal a new thinking in tourism promotion in the state.
Means ‘hidden place’, Orchha (true to its name) is one of the hidden treasures of the country. Located in the central state of India, Madhya Pradesh, this tiny town boasts of monuments, temples, history, which makes it a place for tourists to explore. Looked back to the history, Orchha was once the capital of Bundela Rajput Kings, and was established in 1501 by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh.
To begin with, the Orchha Fort complex comprises three magnificent palaces and one of them is Jahangir Mahal. With Mughal architecture, massive lawns and gates, beautiful turquoise tiles on the front wall, the Jahangir Mahal monument even today retains its original grandeur. Another marvel which has an intriguing history behind its formation is Ram Raja Temple. Legend says that idols of Lord Rama were to be installed in the Chaturbhuj Temple, but as the temple was under construction, the idols were kept inside the queen’s palace for the time being. Afterwards, when people tried to shift the idols, they refused to move. That’s how this part of the Raja Mahal became holy and was constructed into a temple. It is the one and only temple in India where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king, hence it is called the Ram Raja Temple. Close to this temple is the beautiful Laxminarayan temple, dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.
Another delight for art lovers is the Chaturbhuj Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. As per Hindu mythology, the literal meaning of Chaturbhuj is ‘one with four arms’ and Lord Vishnu has been regarded as Chaturbhuj, hence the name of the temple. The temple has beautiful architecture which attracts a number of historians and archaeologists from around the world.
When in Orchha, don’t miss the charms of its chhatris (cenotaphs). Chhatris of Orchha are the impressive royal tombs anciently built for the Maharajas on the banks of Betwa River. To best experience the charisma of these beautiful Chhatris, one must view them from the opposite side of Betwa – the reflection of the tombs in the river water is picturesque.
This small town has something for everyone. Adventure junkies too can have a good time in Orchha. You can experience river rafting and boating in Betwa River. Rafting in Betwa starts from the boat club, for which tickets are arranged at Hotel Sheesh Mahal and Betwa Retreat.