History of Orchha

 

The city of Orchha has a rich history which unfortunately has not been that popular as some of the other places of India. To know more about Orchha, and the Tourist Attractions in Orchha, let us first know about the History of Orchha.

 

The picturesque city of Orchha situated on the banks of the River Betwa, was founded in 16th century A.D. by Rudra Pratap Singh who was one of the Rajput rulers belonging to the Bundela Dynasty who ruled over the district of Bundelkhand to which Orchha belonged.

 

In the early 17th century, the mighty Mughal Army led by the then Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, was offered tough resisted by his opponent led by Raja Jujhar Singh. After a fierce battle, the destiny of Orchha went to the hands of the latter, who ruled the place for six years beginning from the year 1641 A.D.

 

In the 18th century, the mighty Maratha forces were successful in capturing all the States of Bundela other than Orchha. In the year 1783, Tehri (presently known as Tikamgarh), became the capital of Orchha. Tehri was located 40 miles to the South of Orchha. It was in Tehri, that the famous Tikamgarh Fort was built.

 

During the period between 1848 and 1874, Orchha was ruled by Hamir Singh who acquired the status of Maharaja in the year 1865. In the year 1874, Maharaja Pratap Singh (born-1854) succeeded to the throne of Orchha. It was under his rule that Orchha experienced the maximum development. Most of the irrigation works and other related assignments were thoroughly designed and supervised by Maharaja Pratap Singh, who died in the year 1930.

 

In the beginning of the 20th century, Orchha was the most ancient and prosperous state in the Bundelkhand region. Finally after independence, Orchha became a part of the State of Madhya Pradesh from the year 1956.

Jahangir Mahal

One of the most popular historical monuments in Orchha, Jahangir Mahal is located at a distance of 18 km from Jhansi. Placed in the fort complex of Orchha, this palace was built in the memory of Mugahl ruler Jahangir by King Vir Singh Deo in the 17th century (between 1605 and 1626). The palace is known by a number of other names too including, Orchha Palace, Rani Mahal, Jahangir Citadel, Citadel of Jahangir, Mahal-e-Jahangir etc.

 

Located on the banks of River Betwa, Jahangir Mahal is a three-storied storied structure that is a blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. This beautiful palace consists of numerous large courtyards, more than 100 rooms, balconies, 8 elegant domes, terraces and porches. The outside walls of the original gateway to the palace (towards the east) are decorated with turquoise colored tiles and the gate has detailed decorations. This gate was originally the entry gate for the King and either side of it has an elephant with hanging bells. The several windows and balconies make the palace airy. The palace is in red and yellow sandstone.

 

Along with Jahangir Mahal, Ruler Vir Sing commissioned around 52 forts during his reign of 22 years. Today the palace is under the aegis of Madhya Pradesh Archeology department. Tickets are available from the ticket counter near the main entry gate. Photography is prohibited inside the palace. In the evening, a light and sound show is also organized here.

 

History: Mughal Prince Salim (also known as Jahangir) and Maharaja Vir Singh, the ruler of Bundela were friends even before they came on the thrones. Salim, the eldest son of Mughal Emperor Akbar had several conflicts, including the topic of Anarkali, the lover of Salim. One of the Navratans (Nine Jewels) of the court of Akbar, Abu Fazal took advantage of the situation and instigated Akbar to disown Salim as the heir to his throne. After knowing this Salim revolted against Akbar who sent Abu Fazal to fight against Salim’s Army in Agra. Abu Fazal started a march to fight Salim’s army but he first had to cross Bundela region. Salim’s friend Vir Sing decided to help his friend Salim in this matter. A fight took place between Vir Singh army and Abu Fazal’s troop and the former emerged victorious. Singh presented Fazal’s head to Salim as a token of his friendship and loyalty. Emperor Akbar died after 3 years and Salim (Jahangir) became the new ruler. To return the favor, he gifted the whole Bundelkhand region to Vir Singh. On Singh’s throne coronation ceremony, Emperoro Jahangir came to Orchha and to honor his visit, King Vir Singh commissioned the construction of Jahangir Palace.

Dinman Hardaul’s Palace

Orchha, a medieval city built on the banks of River Betwa in Madhya Pradesh is almost a ghost city now. But it still retains one of the finest display of monuments, temples, palaces and cenotaphs, all of which speak of interesting stories, legacies and history.One such beautiful palace is the Dinman Hardauls Palace , rich in history of worship and martyrdom.

 

History of Dinman Hardaul’s Palace: The second son of BhirSingh Ju Deo,the ruler of Orchha, Dinman Hardaul gave up his life to prove his innocence to his elder brother Jhujhar. Jhujhar had doubted the relationship Hardaul had with Jhujhar’s companion. Prince Hardaul was greatly respected and revered as a saint by the people. After his martyrdom, Hardaul was worshipped as a God.

 

How to reach Dinman Hardaul’s Palace: The nearest airport to reach Orchha is Gwalior which is 120 km away. One can also reach Orchha by rail since Jhansi is the enarest railway station only 16 km away.One can hire autorickshaws, cabs or buses from Jhansi to reach Ochha.

Ram Raja Temple

Ram Raja Temple Of the many interesting temples in Orchha, the Ram Raja Temple is an important tourist attraction. There is a fascinating tale behind the history of the Ram Raja Temple. This temple was at one point of time, a palace of the then ruler Madhukar Shah. Legend says that once Lord Rama appeared in his dreams due to which Madhukar Shah brought the idol of Lord Rama into the palace before installing it inside the temple. But for some reason the idol could not be moved from its original place in the palace. The ruler then remembered the bit of his dream where it was said that the idol would stay at the place it would be kept initially. It was then that the king turned the palace into a temple.

 

Description of Ram Raja Temple: The temple was originally a palace. So the traditional temple architecture and style is not seen in the Ram Raja Temple, Orchha.

 

How to reach Ram Raja Temple: Ram Raja Temple can be easily reached from Orchha in Madhya Pradesh, in any kind of local transport. Orchha is situated in the northern end of Madhya Pradesh, the central most state in India. The closest airport is Gwalior(120 kms) while Jhansi is the closest railway station (16 km). Orchha lies on the Jhansi-Khajuraho road.

Chhatris of Orchha

The Chhatris or the cenotaphs in orchha are another of the many historical tourist attractions in Orchha. These are memorials of the rulers of the Bundels and are laid down in a row of 14 along the beautiful banks of the Betwa River. It reflects a wonderful sight though to some it looks uncanny. The Chhatris of Orchha are the most melancholy ruins of the city in Madhya Pradesh.

 

History of Chhatris of Orchha: Each of the 14 chhatris on the river banks, are built in memory of the rulers of Orchha, the former rulers of Bundelkhand dynasty.

 

Description of Chhatris: These chhatris or cenotaphs present a picturesque sight on the banks of the river betwa. The monuments still speak of the ancient rulers, their victories and their stories. These fourteen chhatris are best viewed from the narrow road bridge, or from the boulders from where you get a perfect reflection of the chattris of Orchha on the still waters of the river. The Chhatris of Orchha look like a pale brown shade of weed throttled domes and spires.

 

How to reach Chhatris of Orcha: Orchha is famous for the beautiful river Betwa that flows through the place and along whose banks the city grew

Laxminarayan Temple 

The Laxminarayan temple, one of the three most important temples in Orchha is an interesting tourist attraction of the place. It displays a perfect and unique mix of temple and fort architecture. Though the temple is dedicated the Goddess Laxmi, there is no idol of the Goddess kept inside the temple.

 

History of Laxminarayan Temple: Vir Singh Deo had built the beautiful Laxmi Narayan Temple around 1622 But due to inadequate maintenance, the condition of the temple soon worsened. It was reconstructed by Prithvi Singh during 1793. This temple was dedicated to Goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and within the inner chambers of the temple, Vir Singh made arrangements for offering sacrifices for Laxmi.

 

Description of Laxminarayan Temple: The Laxminarayan Temple in Orcha is built in an exceptional blend of temple and fort architecture, with the help of lime mortar and bricks. There are frescos and paintings within the walls of the temple that are a blend of Mughul and Bundel forms of art. These frescos illustrate certain social and secular themes. The vivacious colors of the frescos are still retained. Within the Laxminarayan temple, the carvings are displayed in a geometrical pattern and there are scenes from the life of Lord Krishna, adorned with flowers and animals.

 

How to reach Laxminarayan Temple: The Laxminarayan Temple is located in Orchha and it is easily accessible.

Raj Mahal

The Raj Mahal, Orchha is among the most visited Palaces in Orchha. Every year, thousands of visitors from various parts of the world pay a visit to this majestic palace.The construction of the Raj Mahal in Orchha, India was initiated by Rudra Pratap Singh, the Rajput ruler of this region in the 16th century. But the task of completion of the construction was taken up later by the successors of Rudra Pratap Singh, the most popular among whom was Madhukar Shah. The two rectangular courtyards in the interior of Raj Mahal, Orchha were used by the Bundela Queens.

 

Description of Raj Mahal, Orchha: The features of Raj Mahal, Orchha include lavish royal accommodations that are marked by elevated balconies. The various floors are interconnected by paths rise that are proportional tiers on all four sides. The entire structure is marked by towers and domed pavilions.The interiors of the Raj Mahal are lined with fragments of mirrors and animated paintings which are plastered all over the walls and ceilings. Some of these are still in remarkable condition and can be witnessed even today.The Raj Mahal, Orchha leads you to the Sheesh Mahal, which is one of the other Tourist Attractions in Orchha.v Orchha is situated on the Jhansi-Khajuraho Road and is easily accessible by various modes of transport from various parts of Madhya Pradesh as well as other parts of the country. The availability of local transport facilities is also commendable.

Chaturbhuj Temple

There are a number of temples in Orchha , Madhya Pradesh which are all interesting sites to visit. Of them, one is the Chaturbhuj Temple.This temple in Orchha was built by Raja Madhukar between the years 1558 and 1573.History of Chaturbhuj Temple: The original place where the idol of Lord Rama was places is the Chaturbhuj Temple. The history of the Chaturbhuj temple, Orchha is associated with an interesting legend that imposes the faith of the people.It is said that Maharani Gansh Kunwar, wife of the Ruler of Orchha, raja madhukar built the temple for Lord Rama. She wanted to relocate the idol of Rama that was placed in Rani Niwas, her private apartments to the temple.But the idol refused to move.Thus , the king instead of Lord rama, places the idol of Lord Vishnu, with four arms in the temple. That is how, the name Chaturbhuj temple was attained.

 

Description of Chaturbhuj Temple: There is a fine collection of religious symbols that adorn the outer walls of the Chaturbhuj temple. The interiors of theChaturbhuj temple in Orchha are bleak compared to the fine display on the outer walls of the temple. The Chaturbhuj temple has a criss crossed congregation hall for the devotees while thee are spires that are built on top of the sanctuary of the Chaturbhuj temple. The temple has a striking resemblance to the Kushak Mahal in Chanderi. One unique feature, unlike all other Hindu temples is the abundance of light and space inside the temple premises.

 

How to reach Chaturbhuj Temple: Orchha is located in the northernmost part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, besides the Malwa Plateau. It is easy to reach Chaturbhuj Temple once in Ochha with the help of local transport.the Chaturbhuj temple is located opposite the Raja Mahal.One has to climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha.

 

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