Orchha (or Urchha) is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501, as the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha lies on the Betwa River, 80 km from Tikamgarh & 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. Orchha was founded in the 16th century AD by the Bundela Rajput chief, Rudra Pratap Singh, who became the first King of Orchha, (r. 1501-1531) and also built the Fort of Orchha. The Chaturbhuj Temple was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar, by the Queen of Orchha Ganeshi Bai, while Raj Mandir was built by 'Madhukar Shah' during his reign, 1554 to 1591.
The oldest of all the monuments in Orchha the Raj Mahal was constructed by Rudra Pratap in 1531.It is constructed in a square arrangement divided into two large courtyards around which the floor rise in tiers.The places’s plain exterior walls croened by chhatris give way to interior with beautiful murals depicting events from the lives of Lord Rama & Krishna, ten avatars of Vishnu, scenes of royal processions, musician and hunters.
Rai Praveen Mahal is a two stroyed structure commissioned by Raja Indramani for his beautiful paramour, poetess and singer Rai Praveen. It is said that the Emperor Akbar was captivated by the beauty of Rai Praveen and she was summoned in the mughal court.She is said to have bravely resisted the intention of Akbar and impressed by her courage, Akbar sent her back to Orchha.
It synthesis Hindu and Muslim styles was built as a tribute to Emperor Jehangir by Raja Bir Singh Deo. Its strong lines are counter balanced by delicate chhatris and trellis work. The main entrance to the place is from the east flanked by figure of Elephants. The palace has three stories with 236 chambers. The inner and outer walls of the palace are decorated with cobalt and turquoise blue tiles.
Standing in the middle of the village, Ram Raja Temple was once a royal place. Legend has it that following the appearance of Lord Rama in a dream, the King Madhukar Shah’s wife; Ganesh kumara brought a statue of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Orchha. The image was kept in the palace prior to installation in temple. However when temple was completed it proved impossible to move the statue as queen forgot the injuction that the statue had to be enshrined where it was first placed.Thus the palace was turned into a temple. The temple is the only one in the country where Rama is worshipped as Raja(King) and the image of Lord Rama sits on throne surrounded by Sita, Hanuman and his brother.
Laid out in the form of a cross, a symbolic representation of the four armed Lord Krishna; Chaturbhuj Temple was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Lord Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Built upon a massive stone platform and reached by a steep flight of steps, the temple dominates the landscape of Orchha and is largest Temple there.
On the southern bank of river Betwa at Kanchan Ghat, 15 cenotaphs are located belonging to Bundela kings and member of their clan. Most of the structures are three storyed patterned in Nagara( Indo Aryan) style of Temple architecture. Though most of these are in a dilapidated condition but a few are well preserved. One of the cenotaphs has a well executed carved marble statue of Madhuka Shah.
Hardaul was the younger son of Bir Singh Deo who committed suicide to prove his innocence to his elder brother Jhujhar over an alleged affair with his sister in law. He after his martyrdom was worshipped as a God and even today the villagers of Bundelkhand have shrines where Hardaul is worshipped.
Sunder Mahal is a place of pilgrimage for the Muslims. Dhurbajan, the son of Jhujhar spent the later part of his life here in prayer and meditation after embracing Islam.
16 km from Jhansi, 119 km from Gwalior.
July to March