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Orchha

INTRODUCTION
Orchha, that means a "hidden place", undoubtedly lives up to its name. Architectural gems, nevertheless, flourish in this town. Gathered around the foot of the striking ruins, a sleepy village of efficiently painted houses, market stalls, and a couple of attractive government hotels offer most of the basic amenities. Orchha is a less hyped tourist resort on Jhansi-Khajuraho journey. Usually the tourists are drawn to concluding on historical & artistic pursuits. History of Orchha revolves around Bundela dynasty that ruled over this region of Bundelkhand. Orchha has an alluring different appeal. It too has a history & a history of Indian music & poetry. It is also a warehouse of medieval architecture not noticeable elsewhere. Once you are in Orchha, you are fairly in a dreamland of a hoary past, humming its mellow strain in the waves of Betwa River. The most captivating place in the Orchha complex is the two-storeyd brick construction, Rai Praveen Mahal in the garden of Anand Mahal. It was built by Raja Indramani. Rai Praveen, a multitalented singer & a woman of exceptional beauty was a paramour of Raja Indramani. The place has the other monuments of interest with fascinanting beauty delicate carving on the niches are Chaturbhuj temple, Laxmi Narayan temple, Phool Bagh & the legendary Dinman Hardaul temple.

amarkantak-tourism

HISTORY
Tourists are enamoured of the unique architecture of its monuments of historical & religious significance. Orchha was originated in the 1501 AD, by the Bundela chief, Rudra Pratap Singh, who became the first emperor of Orchha, (1501-1531) and also built the castle of Orchha.He died in an attempt while saving a cow from a lion. The Chaturbhuj Temple was built, during the time of Akbar, by the Queen of Orchha, whereas Raj Mandir was built by 'Madhukar Shah' during his sovereignty, 1554 to 1591. At the time of Rudra Pratap singh sovereign, the succeeding rulers, Bir Sing Deo, opposed Akbar & aligned himself with prince Salim, who later rewarded him with the kingdom of Orchha & he ruled from 1605-1627 ensuring its ongoing prosperity. Raja Bir Singh Deo constructed the exquisite Jhanagir Palace to commemorate the Emperorís visit to Orchha. His son, jhujhar could not win the Mughal Emperorís Freindship & was routed by the imperial army of Shah Jahan. The foundation of the Bundela dynasty in the 11th century is traced to a Rajput prince who presented himself as a sacrifice to the mountain goddess Vrindavasini; she stopped him and named him 'Bundela' (one who offered blood). Orchha was pillaged & finally in 1783 the Bundela capital was moved to Tikamgarh. Then Hamir singh ruled the region from 1848 to 1874 & which was elevated in the style of maharaja in 1865, Maharaja Pratap Singh (born 1854, died 1930), who succeeded to the throne in 1874, devoted himself utterly to the development of his state, himself designing most of the engineering and irrigation works that were executed during his rule. Then later on Vir Singh, Pratap Singh's successor amalgamated his state with the Union of India on January 1, 1950. The district developed into part of Vindhya Pradesh state, which was amalgamated into Madhya Pradesh state in 1956. Today speckled around the area little shrines & memorials each with its own history, each contributing to the finery & nostalgic beauty that is Orchha.

HOW TO REACH
Orchha town is part of Madhya Pradesh state but its closest town is Jhansi which is in Uttar Pradesh state. It is in North of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It can be reached by all means i.e. by air, train or by road. Please find various ways to reach Orchha.
By Air: Nearest Airport for reaching Orchha by flight are in Gwalior (150Kms) and Khajuraho (195Kms). Gwalior airport have connected with Mumbai and Delhi airport where as Khajuraho airport have connectivity with Delhi & Varanasi airports. In addition to this, air-taxi service connects Gwalior airport with other major cities of Madhya Pradesh like Jabalpur, Indore & Bhopal.

DISTANCE CHART
LOCATION MAP
From
Distance
(in Kms)
Jhansi 20 Kms.
Khajuraho 195 Kms.
Gwalior 150 Kms.
Agra 270 Kms.
Shivpuri 120 Kms.
Chanderi 160 Kms.



By Train: Nearest railway station to visit Orchha is Jhansi (Railway code: JHS)at a distance of 20 kms/40minutes. Jhansi railway station is connected with many important cities & tourist destinations like Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Katni, Umaria, Bhopal, Pipariya, Haridwar, Chitrakoot, Varanasi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Bangalore, Gaya, Howrah etc. If you are looking for more train options to Rajasthan destinations like Jaipur, Bharatpur, Udaipur than Gwalior station (150kms) will be better option.
By Road: Orchha town lies on State-Highway No.37 that connects Jhansi city to Tikamgarh town. Orchha can be accessed by road from Agra, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Panna National Park, Shivpuri, Chanderi, Bhopal etc. Jhansi is the nearest larger town from Orchha. One can get bus & auto-rickshaw service between Jhansi to Orchha at frequent interval.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Orchha is a small town in the bank of Betwa river at a distance of 20kms from Jhansi city. Although it is a small town but here one can find large number of historical monuments under well maintained conditions at a small area. Here we can find fort, palace, temples, cenotaphs with fun of river-rafting in Betwa river. Some of the important tourist attractions in Orchha are as given below:
Jahangir Palace: Synthesises Hindu & Muslim styles, as a tribute to Emperor Jahangir by Raja Bir Singh Deo. Its strong lines are counter balanced by delicate chhatris & trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness. The main entrance to the palace is from the east, flanked by figures of elephants. The palace has three stories with 136 chambers. It has 3 types of balconies, 4 types of arches, 5 types of domes & 6 types of ceiling. A procession of stone carved elephants attracts the visitors instantaneously. The inner & the outer walls of the palace are decorated with cobalt & turquoise blue tiles. All the chambers had been painted with murals, remain of which are still visible.
Riverside cenotaphs: On the southern bank (Kanchan ghat) of river Betwa, half a km from Orchha bus stand, 15 cenotaphs are located belonging to Bundela kings & members of their clan. Designed in panchayatna (five projections) style, peak of the sanctum is patterened in Nagar (Indo Aryan) style of temple archietecture. Most of the structures are three storyed. All the chambers on four corners have dome shaped tops surrounded by small cenotaphs resting on columns. Though most of them are in a dilapidated condition but a few are well preserved condition but afew are well preserved. One of the cenotaph has a well executed carved marble statue of Madhukar Shah.
Rai Praveen Mahal: Rai Praveen was the favourite mistress of raja Indramani (1672-75) when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was on the Throne. This elegant double-storeyed, brick building seems to be more Mughal than Bundela. It has a main hall, terraces overlooking its formal gardens, little chambers, & is filled with light & air. Rai Praveen was a skilled dancer, singer musician & a poetess who was associated with the great Hindi Poet Keshav Das. River-rafting in Betwa River: Though you can get fairly good views of the chhatris from the land, the best views can be had from the river. Raft & paddled upstream to hit the first mild rapids. This gives newcomers a feel of what white-water is like. The rafting trip covers 3 kms & takes approximately 45 minutes. Even the ghostly horsemen, who are sometimes reported to visit the hamlet, could not have had a more exciting experience of magical Orchha.
Ram Raja Temple: Today with its snoaring spries & palatial architecture, the temple is the only in the country where Rama is worshipped as king. In the Ram Raja Temple, the image of lord Rama sits on a throne, surrounded by Sita, Hanuman & his brother. During the time of Ram Naumi, the temple is a site of hectic activity where lakhs of people from the surrounding areas come to celebrate birth of Lord Rama. Vivah Panchmi in the month of November-December is colourful festival celebrating the marriage of Ram & Sita.
Chaturbhuj Temple: It was specially constructed to enshrines the image of Lord Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Built upon a massive stone platform & reached by a steep flight of steps, the Chaturbhuj temple dominates the landscape of Orchha & is the largest temple there.
Laxminarayan Temple: With the Ram Raja temple, that incorporates elements of fortís architecture. The interiors contain the most exquisite of wall painting of the Bundela School. Covering the walls & ceilings of 3 halls, these murals cover a variety of spiritual & secular subjects.
Phool Bagh: A creative system of water ventilation connected the underground palace with a bowl like structure from whose fountains droplets of water filtered through to the roof, simulating rainfall. Dinman Hardaul Temple: He 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 consort. This saintly prince was, after his martyrdom, worshiped s a god, & even today, the villages of Bundelkhand contain platforms like shrines where Hardol is worshiped.
Note: Language specific guides are available there to give you precise details or information about the particular monument & history. The place is so charming that at night light the sound program is going to get organized to entertain the Visitors.

PEOPLE
Population of Orchha is about 10000 people. As it is part of Bundelkhand region, land is not so fertile and more rocky. Here occupational structure shows that people are more engaged in service sector than agriculture. Either they are earning their livelihood through tourism or by doing service in nearby cities like Tikamgarm, Jhansi, Gwalior etc. Some peoples are engaged in handicrafts work, making bamboo items, pottery work, miniature painting and other craftsmanship work. It we go through the history of this Bundelkhand region, we will discover that despite of poverty here local people are very good fighter and aggressive by nature. Here new generation is more curiously showing interest in Tourism industry due to involvement of money, fame, interaction with foreigners and also it is source of income while staying at their native place. Tourism is promoting the destination and making the people know the grand history of this historic place. Active participation of new generation has improved the tourism services in this region.

CLIMATE & WEATHER
Orchha is locate at 25.35074 Latitude & 78.64215 Longitude. It has average elevation of 285 meters (936ft.). It is located in the plateau of Central India. Average rainfall of Orchha is about 900 mm per year which comes mostly from south-west monsoon arises from Arabian sea. Here monsoon lasts for 3-4 months i.e. from July-Aug-Sept-Oct. During monsoon, Orchha Climate & Weather remain pleasant as betwa river remain flooded with water and flows swiftly. Region of Orchha & its adjoining area have dry deciduous forest where we can find more variation in day & night temperature. Here we can observe extreme temperatures. Summers season prevails from Apr-May-Jun-July where temperature rises up to 47°C with heat waves. Winter season prevails during Dec-Jan-Feb. Annual Temperature Chart of Orchha is given below showing the average minimum & maximum temperature during each month of a year.
Months
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Minimum (°C)
08
12
18
24
30
28
26
25
22
21
20
10
Maximum(°C)
18
30
33
38
45
41
36
38
32
32
30
21
To know the current status of Orchha Climate and Weather report, please go through given below table details.

BEST TIME TO VISIT
Orchha is a ever-green tourist destination as it has historical monuments as main attractions which can be visited any time throughout the year. Still to enjoy the its adjoining nature and river-rafting, winter & springs are considered as best time to visit Orchha. Tourist prefers to visit Orchha from October to April as during this time climate remain cold and surrounding natural beauty of Orchha remains at their best. Tiger Reserves of Central India are also remain open during time that allows Orchha to be a part of Wildlife Tour. In summers, Orchha and its nearby areas like Khajuraho, Chanderi etc. remains hot along with dryness in surrounding natural beauty. Betwa river water also remain low during summers that poses difficulty in any kind of river rafting. So winters & spring seasons are the best time to visit Orchha.

ACCOMMODATION
Orchha is a heritage destination where we can enjoy heritage tourism along with nature & adventure tourism. Unlike Khajuraho, we have some good 3-Star category heritage accommodation in Orchha like Hotel Sheesh Mahal, Bundelkhand Riverside, Betwa Retreat etc. These heritage hotels in Orchha are the best options and in addition to it, other available hotels are of standard & budget category. Here local people have made number of budget hotels & guest houses for budget category visitors. In an all we can say that Orchha hotels are not too much costly and town offers accommodation options to every category of visitors. Ideal time to stay in Orchha is of one day but if you have a tight schedule you can visit this magical town while going/returning to/from Khajuraho as a journey break.

NEXT TO MADHYA PRADESH
Being located in North of Madhya Pradesh in Central India, Orchha has many historical heritage destinations to visit. This region is popular for heritage tourism lovers as it has connecting heritage destinations like Khajuraho, Shivpuri, Gwalior, Datia, Chanderi etc. Region is more rocky due to which here we can find more monuments and historical buildings in compare to southern Madhya Pradesh which is good for nature & tiger tourism. Lets know more about nearby tourist destinations next to Orchha:
Datia fort: It is 70km from Gwalior, 30 km from Jhansi city in Madhya Pradesh. Datia lies on the track from Gwalior to Jhansi. The fort built in year 1620 by King Bir Singh Deo & itís named after him. In the vicinity, the palace is also known as Govind Mandir. The fortís decoration is well integrated unlike Mughal Inspired Edifices & therefore this was conceived as a single unit The Bir Singh Palace has five stories observable. A central dome mounting to 35m caps the palace. The palace has a square plan with a vaulted tower at each corner. The main entrance is on the eastern side, while the south opens out to a lake, the Karna Sagar. The palace is totally made up of stones & bricks with no use of iron & wood & this uniqueness makes this palace special.
Jhansi fort: The Jhansi fort is located in the fringes of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. It was built in the year 1613 by Raja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha. The Jhansi Fort participated a major role during the first war of Indian Independence. The vast fort is built on a hilltop called Bangra. The Fort is an architectural glee to eyes, due to its magnitude and exquisiteness. The fort was a residence of Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, who fought with British army and achieved martyrdom. The fort was prior built on the top of the knoll in order to act as an army throttlehold and garrison during the Sepoy mutiny of 1857 but was later adapted in to residential quarters. The fort saw lots of ups and down in the course of history. The revolt in Jhansi was led by none other than Lakshmi Bai, popularly called Jhansi ki Rani in the chronicles of history.
Khajuraho: The shrines of Khajuraho are Indiaís exceptional gift to the world, representing as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy; ideal in execution & inspiring in expression. Life in every form & mood has been incarcerated in stone, showing not only to the craftís man artistry but also to the astonishing breadth of vision of the chandela Rajputs under whose rule the sanctuary were envisioned & erected. The Khajuraho Sanctuaries were built in the short extent of a 100 Years, from 950-1050 AD in a truly motivated burst of creativity. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived to constitute one of the worldís immense artistic wonders.
Shivpuri: The old summer capital of the Scindia rulers of Gwalior, Shivpuri is 112 Kms south west of Gwalior & 94 km west of Jhansi. The intense forests of Shivpuri were the hunting grounds of the Mughal Emperors when great flocks of elephants were captured by Emperor Akbar. This was also where the maharaja of Gwalior once hunted tigers. Shivpuriís royal ambience lives on in the superb palaces & hunting lodges & the beautiful marbled memorials, cenotaphs, to the Scindia rulers inlaid in fine pietra dura & jail work style, like the famed Taj Mahal. Madhav National Park in this forested hill territory promises a assortment of wildlife.
Chanderi: A town surrounded by hills, lakes and forests and there are several tribute of the Malwa sultans & Bundela Rajputs. Chanderi is a town of historical importance in Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh state in India & is located strategically on the borders of Bundelkhand & Malwa its history takes you to the 11th century, when it was dominated by the trade route of Central India. During the period of Emperor Akbar, 1200 baolis were counted within Chanderi. There are approximately 375 monuments in Chanderi; it has number of 9th and 10th century Jain temples attracting thousands of Jain pilgrims from all over the country. There are number of jain places nearby as we can say chanderi is most likely the centre of Jain Culture.
Gwalior: The city of Gwalior is a warehouse of Historical objects. Be it the old fort & modern places, one can see structural design & relics of at least three periods of Indian History. Gwalior is famous for its very old & very large fort. Inside the fort walls there are number of appealing temples & insolvent palaces. The spectacular colourful history of the great fort certainly goes back over a 1000 years. Gwalior renowned beginning stems from a meeting between Suraj Sen & the hermit Gwalipa, who lived on the summit where the fort stands. The recluse cured Suraj Senís Leprosy with a drink of water from the Suraj Kund, which still remains in the fort. Then he awarded him a new name, Suhan Pal, & said his descendants would remain in power as long as they kept the name Pal.
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