Orchha, the capital of the mighty Bundela Rajput kings, spells history almost in every part of the city. The monuments here retain the historic touch to give tourists an insight into its rich past. The location of the city in itself is picturesque with hills and lush greenery around making it picture perfect. If you are a lover of nature or history or both, you are sure to fall for Orchha, the beautiful ancient land in Madhya Pradesh where many a battle were fought. Here are some of the leading attractions in Orchha.
1. Orchha Fort
Orchha Fort is situated on the island on Betwa River. The scenic location apart, the fort has more to offer. It houses many palaces and temples. The three most important palaces seen here are Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mahal and the famous Rai Parveen Mahal. Jahangir Mahal reflects the architectural splendor that prevailed in Orchha in the past. The views from the multi-storeyed balconies in the palace are spectacular. Raj Mahal ranks amongst the most ancient historic monuments in Orchha fort. Rai Parveen Mahal, which is in ruins now was a beautiful palace with lush gardens surrounding it. Rai Parveen was a poetess and a dancer. Her charm so attracted the king Indramani who built the palace for her. Ram Raja temple, which is a very famous temple in Orchha was earlier a palace. This palace turned temple is the only place in which Rama is worshipped as a king and not a god.
2. Chaturbhuj Temple
Chaturbhuj temple was constructed by the famous Bundela Rajput kings in the 17th century. The architecture of the temple is exquisite. Architectural minds are sure to be inspired just by looking at the exterior of the temple. It is said that the particular site of the temple was decided upon by the king to enable him to see god Krishna from the balcony of his palace. The views from the top floor of the temple are amazing.
3. Jhansi Fort
Built over 400 years ago, Jhansi Fort has seen many tough times. The fort was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo on Bangra, a rocky hill. Located at the center of the city, the massive fort, which is also called as Rani Jhansi Ka Quila, covers an area of 49 acres. It ranks amongst the best fortified areas in India. The museum inside the fort has sculptures that give a clear view of the history of Bundelkhand.
4. Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary
Regardless of its 46 sq.km size, Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of animals. Ever since it was established in 1994, the sanctuary has been one of the top tourist destinations in Orchha. Some of the animals found here include tigers, leopards, langur, jackal, sloth bear, blue bull, monkey and peacock. The place is a delight for bird watchers as there are nearly 200 species of birds. The migratory birds that visit the place include kingfisher, woodpecker, owls, jungle bush quail, black swan and geese. River Betwa flowing through the area makes the sanctuary more appealing.
Chhatris were constructed in the past to glorify the contributions of the rulers of the mighty Bundelkhand dynasty. The Chhatris also are symbols of the rich cultural heritage and grandeur of the past. The 14 Chhatris constructed besides River Betwa reflect the amazing architectural skills of the craftsman.
6. Laxminarayan Temple
Laxminarayan Temple was constructed in 1662. The temple portrays the excellent creativity in the artisans of the past as the architectural style involved in the creation is a blend of temple and fort. The main deity is Goddess Laxmi. Exquisite paintings on walls and ceilings add value to the temple. Though beautifully constructed, the lack of maintenance resulted in the need to renovate the structure, which was taken upon by Prithvi Singh in 1793.
7. Dinman Hardaul’s Palace
Dinman Hardaul’s Palace was built to honor prince Hardaul who had sacrificed his life to prove himself and the values he held close to his elder brother Jhujhar. The decision to end his life was taken by him when his brother suspected him to be romantically involved with his companion. The 17th century palace stands proof of not only the sincerity of prince Hardaul but also of the architectural excellence the craftsman of the past possessed.
It was a feeling of ‘past revisited’ while on tour to Orchha. Scenic landscapes add to the charm Orchha holds for you. There are quite a few other interesting destinations in the land that need mention. While I will try to get back with the updates, I would appreciate information on the tourist attractions not mentioned here.