Orchha served as the capital of the Rajput kings for 200 years (16th and 17th centuries), and then, after striking the Mughals and Marathas, it was abandoned. In Orchha there were magnificent temples and palaces, giving an idea of ??the incredible luxury of the kings. Now it's a small provincial town.
The admission ticket and the photo ticket are chargeable, it is necessary to take it because Orchha is just a treasure chest. The ticket is valid only for 1 day and is needed to enter both the palace and all the temples of Orchha, which are considered tourist attractions.
Entering the main gate of the castle, you will find the entrances to 2 palaces: on your right is Raj Mahal, the former home of the first king of the Bundle dynasty, Rudra Pratapa. The guide (a reward at your discretion) will open for you the rooms of the king and the queens. Surprisingly, the air in the old buildings, even in hot weather, is cool and fresh.
You will be able to consider the ingenious ventilation system to which this is achieved. No situation, except painting on the walls, is not preserved. The rooms of the king and 4 queens are built around the courtyard, it's also entertaining to see their toilets and a bath.
After Raj Mahala, you can climb the other gate to the big palace - Jehangir Mahal, the palace of Emperor Jehangir. He was known to be a mogul and a Muslim. The palace, in fact, is not his, but Rajput, and they tell the story that Jehangir liked these chambers so much that he decided not to conquer the land, but to build a dacha here. Rajput king did not object. Therefore, the architecture of the palace is rather strange: half of the domes in it are Hindu, half are Muslim, ornaments on the walls - too. In the palace you can wander for a long time, looking out the windows, from which open wide views, in particular, the temple of Rama. At the entrance to the Raj Mahal, there is another small palace, in which now the expensive hotel Sheesh Mahal. The best rooms in it are called Maharaj Suite and Maharani Suite, the night in the bed of the king is costly, the queen is cheaper in comparison.
The royal tombs (Bundela Chhatris) are on the riverbank, and you can make a beautiful photo if you cross the river on a bridge. The bridge can serve as a guide when you ask the local road.
Attractions in Orchha: -
Although all the best-preserved palaces, temples, tombs and gardens scattered around Orchha (daily from 9.00 to 17.00, the "daily passport" for passage to all monuments) lie close, within sight, and they can be reached on foot - if you run headlong, you can get around them in one day - to see everything in real life, you have to expect to stay here for the night. If you want to get a better acquaintance with the history of the palaces and correctly assess the significance of their wall paintings, you should get a beautiful trip record with a tape recorder MPTDC, which tells about all the sights, (cassette tape recorder can be obtained in the main ticket office and in the hotel accommodation department Sheesh Mahal).
Raj Mahal and Raj Pravin Mahal: - The construction of the first building to which you are approached by crossing the medieval granite bridge of Orchha, Raj Mahal was started by Rudra Pratap, and completed by one of his successors, the ramshackle Madhukar Shah. From the end of the bridge, go left before the main entrance, and then turn right, just before the Sheesh Mahal hotel. The second of the two inside the rectangular courtyards, which used to be once wounded by the Bundle, is the most impressive. Extensive royal apartments, elevated balconies, and intersecting passages are symmetrically arranged along the tiers on all four sides, crowned by turrets and pavilions with domes; The apartments that protruded into the quadrangle on the first floor belonged to the most beloved queen. When you walk around, look for fragments of mirror inlays and expressive painting, decorating walls and ceilings. Some of the friezes are still in excellent condition, they depict various incarnations of Vishnu, scenes of court life and hunting, as well as lively celebrations with dancers, musicians, and magicians. The chowkidar who lives here is also an excellent guide.
On the path leading from the Raj Mahal along the northern side of the hill, you can walk to the Raj Praveen Mahal, which is a small, two-story brick residence built by the rajah of Indramani in the mid-1670s for his concubine. A gifted poet, musician, and dancer, Rai Praveen, enchanted the Mughal Emperor Akbar when she was sent to him as a gift but was eventually returned to Orchu, where she spent the rest of her days. In the well-watered lawns of the Anand Mahal Gardens (Anand Mahal) there is a main meeting hall on the ground floor (which was used for musical and dance performances), a boudoir at the top, and cool underground apartments.
Jahangir Mahal: - The most admirable Monument of Orchha - Jahangir Mahal - was built by Bir Singh Deo as a monumental welcome gift to the Mughal emperor when in the 17th century he arrived here on a state visit. Jahangir came to reward his old ally with the sword of Abdul Fazal, his former enemy, whom Bir Singh killed a few years earlier. The entrance to the palace is decorated with elegant ceremonial gates, and the main facade facing east is still decorated with turquoise tiles. On both sides of the staircase, there are two stone elephants, holding bells in the trunks, which were to announce the arrival of the rajah. Again three floors with elegant overhanging balconies, terraces, apartments, and bulb-shaped domes adorning the central courtyard. This palace, however,
Shish Mahal: - Built in the early 18th century, long after Orchha was abandoned, the Shish Mahal ("Mirror Palace") was originally planned as an exclusive rural residence for the local raja, Udait Singh. After 1947, the palace became the property of the state government, which converted it into a hotel. This rather squat building is located between the Raj Mahal and Jahangir Mahal, at the far end of the open courtyard. Covered with a layer of whitewash and devoid of most of its Persian carpets and antiques, the palace has retained little from its former splendor, although it’s amazing terraces and towers still open. The only rooms that are worth a visit - provided they are not occupied (specify in the accommodation department) are luxurious rooms one and two.
Lakshmi Narayan Mandir: - Lakshmi Narayan Mandir (Lakshmi Narayan Mandir) is crowned by a rocky mound, located exactly 1 km from the village of Orchha, at the end of a long cobbled path. A leisurely fifteen-minute walk from the square immediately behind the Ram Raja temple is rewarded with beautiful views and excellent paintings of the 17th and 19th centuries. For a small tip, the chowkidar who lives here takes you through the galleries inside the temple. Pay attention to the frieze depicting the Battle of Jhansi, on which in the upper room of the fort you can see the wound next to her horse, and below - the frustrated troops of British musketeers fleeing. Another battle scene features an epic clash between the ten-headed, twenty-strong demon Ravana and the army of monkey soldiers led by Rama. In other places, one can see episodes from the favorite stories about Krishna, as well as portraits of the Bundel Rajas and pictures of their military and architectural achievements. Finally, there is a sketch on the side column depicting two heavily drunk English soldiers - equally parody of some curious colonial customs and a diatribe against drunkenness.
Chhatriya: - The solemn row of light brown, weed-covered domes and spires - chhatri - stretching along the river, is the most melancholic ruins of Orchh and is a suitable place to finish the tour of the village. Fourteen cenotaphs - the memorials of the former rulers of Bundelkhand - are best viewed from a narrow bridge, or, even better, from stone boulders on the opposite shore, from where you can also admire their reflections in the calm waters of Betva.
Orchha Fort: - Fort Orchha is a complete contrast to the Red Fort of Agra and Amber Fort in Jaipur. Those forts look like candy, restored to shine to attract tourists, glossy, and this seems unreal - everything is too beautiful! Fort Orchha, on the contrary, as if abandoned, dull, and from this, seems more real and mysterious. Especially so, or the Indian authorities have not yet found the means to make this fort as glossy as I do not know. But I really liked this fort. It was erected on the island of the river Betva, so that the waters of this fast river would impede the enemies in the event of an attack. However, one of the branches of the river, which is closer to the city, was almost shoaled, so it does not seem to be a serious obstacle to overcome. Through it, there is a large stone arched bridge. It leads to a large tower with a wooden gate that closes the entrance to the inner courtyard of the fort. Metal spikes protruding from the gates protect against uninvited guests, even if they arrived on elephants.
Inside the fort, there are two huge palaces - Raj Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, and the small palace Rai Prin Mahal.
Chaturbhuj Mandir: - Chaturbhuj Mandir, perhaps the largest and most magnificent temple of Orchha. It is already on an elevation, but also a high pointed dome, ascended 105 meters, distinguishes it from all buildings and palaces, thanks to which it is clearly visible from everywhere. But, approaching it, on the contrary, it is difficult to find an angle to present it in all its glory. Of all the temples and palaces of Orchha, it most resembles the European basilica, since it has a cross at its base, you would even compare it with St. Peter's in the Vatican. And this is in a deaf Indian village-town with a population of just over eight thousand people! You think about this obvious imbalance when you walk around the huge palaces, temples, and cenotaphs of the town. What should have been the medieval princedom that existed in the XVI-XVII centuries, which could have built such a miracle for itself! There are several versions of the appointment of the Chaturbhuj Mandir. It is said that the temple was originally built for the god Rama, then consecrated in honor of the four-armed god Vishnu. This explains its cruciform shape. They say that the stairs can go upstairs. You can see a beautiful panorama from there opens. It's a pity… what a beautiful panorama from there opens.
Ram Raja Temple: - The temple of Ram Raj stands out among other temples and buildings of Orchha with its bright yellow color. Unlike them, it looks completely new, I even thought at first that it was a replica. Rather, it looks like a palace, for example, such as I saw in Samood. But no! I was wrong! This is also an ancient Hindu temple, but the last restoration. There is a beautiful legend about the history of the dedication of the temple to the god Rama. Unfortunately, I did not get inside, I was upset. But then I learned that shooting is prohibited inside.
Best Time to Visit: -
The best time to arrive in Orchha is from November to March. The rest of the time is very hot.
How to Reach Orchha: -
By Road: You can take a jeep from Khajuraho to Jhansi with a stop at Orchha. This trip together with excursions took us 5 hours. An individual can drive to Orchha from Jhansi (18 km) by local buses (45 minutes every half hour). The bus comes to the bridge.
By Train: Orchha is located on a railway line built a couple of years ago and connects Jansi and Khajuraho, so you can get to Orccha from Khajuraho by train, about 4 hours on the road.