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Orchha

Around 20 km from Jhansi is Orchha, the royal abode of the Bundela rulers. This town, in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, was once the seat of the former princely state of Central India. Orchha has become a major tourist attraction of Madhya Pradesh, due to the number of beautifully constructed palaces, temples and cenotaphs built in the 16th and 17th centuries, reflecting the rich Bundela art and architecture.

Around 20 km south-east of Jhansi is the small town of Orchha. Orchha was founded in 1501 by the Bundela chief, Rudra Pratap Singh, with the objective of converting it into his capital. 
Maharaja Bir Singh Deo (1605-27), known as the greatest Bundela king, developed a great friendship with Emperor Jahangir. However, the following Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was infuriated  by the expansion of the Bundela kingdom, and attacked Orchha, which led to its gradual deterioration.

The Betwa River and a tributary of the Yamuna, known as Vetravati, rise in the Vindhya Range north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh, and flow through Orchha to Uttar Pradesh. The forests around it, as well as the many spectacular monuments, naturally attract tourists to this place, which makes a perfect break for tourists travelling from Rajasthan towards Khajuraho or Varanasi. 

Orchha, meaning "hidden place", was surrounded by dense forests giving shelter to the Bundelas for centuries. The palaces are an unusual fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture. The monuments, forts & temples built by the Bundela rulers take one back to the rich culture and architectural beauty of medieval times.

Jehangir Mahal
Orchha's single most admired palace, the spectactular Jehangir Mahal was built by Bir Singh Deo. It was a monumental welcome gift for the Mughal emperor Jehangir when he came to visit the state in the 17th century. The exquisite balance of the strong lines and the intricate chhatris and trellis work, embodies the spirit of Bundellas. This carved palace has an aura of grandeur and opulence. It features a five-storied palace with eight pavilions, considered to be a meeting point of the Orchha rulers with their subjects. The main gate is flanked by two stone elephants, one holding a bell, while the other is holding flowers in its trunk to welcome the arrival of the Raja. Large central courtyards adorn the three storeys of elegantly hanging balconies, terraces, apartments and onion domes.
Raja Mahal
Raja Mahal, the second palace in this fort complex, is well known for its aging but stunning murals depicting religious themes. Stone jali work (lattice) decorates sections of the Raja Mahal, showcasing a fine example of Mughal architecture. The palace is in the shape of a perfect square that is further divided into two courtyards. The main courtyard is flanked by the palace which has a four-storied building at one end.
Rai Praveen Mahal
Rai Praveen Mahal is the exquisite palace built for the poet and musician, Rai Parveen, who was the love of Raja Indramani. Rai Praveen was as well known for her enchanting beauty as for her poetry and music. She was also the paramour of Indrajit Singh, in whose court she performed. Fame of her beauty eventually reached Emperor Akbar, and he invited her to perform at his court. Indramani could not refuse the emperor’s order, and Rai Praveen had to go to Akbar’s court. Enthralled by her beauty and musical prowess, Akbar tried to entice her with great riches to join his harem. However, Rai Parveen had the courage which Indramani lacked and refused Akbar. Impressed by her loyalty, Akbar let her return to Orchha. A two storied brick structure, positioned in the midst of a landscaped garden, Rai Praveen Mahal is designed to fit in with its magnificent surroundings. Built in 1618 by Maharaja Indrajit Singh, the three-storied palace is popularly known as the Anand Mandal Bagh.
Sheesh Mahal
Built during the early 18th century, the Sheesh Mahal ("Palace of Mirrors") was originally intended to be an exclusive country retreat for the local Raja, Udait Singh. Following India's independence, the property was inherited by the state government. Now one section of the palace has been converted into an enchanting hotel, accommodating visitors in royal style.
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Laxmi Narayan Temple exhibits a unique style of architecture, made up of an attractive mix of fort and temple characteristics. The walls of this charming shrine are elaborately decorated with fabulous mural paintings, which show lively compositions from mythological themes. This temple also houses the very famous post mutiny paintings.
Ram Raja Temple
Ram Raja Temple is a magnificent shrine considered the only temple in the country where Lord Ram is worshipped as Raja (king). It is a palace turned temple, with soaring spires and palatial architecture it is one of the most unusual ones in India.
Phool Bagh
Phool Bagh is a well-laid-out garden and was the resting place of the erstwhile Bundela rulers. This garden has fountains, pavilions and an ingenious water ventilation system.
Chhatris
The great rulers were honoured with imposing chhatris (cenotaphs - monuments erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere), beside the beautiful Betwa river. The 14 Chhatris along Betwa River memorialize Bundelkhand’s former rulers. Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river.
Barua Sagar
This dam created on the Betwa River provides an excellent view of the surrounding area. One can enjoy a swim in the lake or go for a walk in its picturesque environs. This place also has great historical importance as the site of a battle between the Peshwas and the Bundela kings.
Jhansi Fort
This fort was a residence of Rani Lakshmi bai of Jhansi, who fought the British East India Company during the 1857 War of Independence. Rani Lakshmi Bai was seen as the epitome of female bravery in India. The fort was built by Raja Bir Singh in the 17th century purely for defence.
There are local bazaars in Orchha where you can shop for Dokra, a tribal art in which non-ferrous metalware is produced by hand, using the wax-casting process.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
GWALIOR 128 Km 01H 50m
Gwalior Junction
Jhansi Junction 20 Km 00H 20m
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Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 25 °C 46 °C
Winter 8 °C 25 °C
In summers, the temperature rises to about 46°C and minimum temperature is about 25°C. Winters during December to February are pleasant within a temperature range of 9°C to 25°C. Best time to go is between October - March.
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