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Tourist Places To Visit In Orchha
Located in the heart of India about 15 km from the historic Jhansi, Orchha is delightful. It is also mysterious and hidden. It is only once you visit the place that you will get to see its many hidden charms. Orchha is like a coy maiden and unlike smart city lass. You have to unravel her mysteries if you wish to explore Orchha. These mysteries include not only the several monuments with their amazing architecture and the imposing Chhatri but also its temples and palaces. Then, for the true nature lover among us there is the beautiful Betwa River with its attractive birds. Let us take a closer look at the several charms, the tourist places to visit in Orchha.
The Captivating Jahangir Mahal
There are three imposing palaces in the Fort Complex in Orchha. Jahangir Mahal is one of these palaces. The others are Raja Mahal and Raj Praveen Mahal. Rudra Pratap Singh started the construction of Orchha during the 16th Century. Two kings followed him. These were Bharti Singh and Ram Shah. However, Bir Singh was crowned the Maharaja of Orchha, in place of Ram Shah, by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, since Bir Singh had helped the Emperor when he revolted against Akbar. As a mark of gratitude for the Emperor, Maharaja Bir Singh constructed Jahangir Mahal. Bir Singh Deo in his 22-year reign built 52 forts in the region. Some of these, such as the Citadel of Jhansi and the Sheesh Mahal, were truly works of magnificent architecture.
Jahangir Mahal is a palace built around a square courtyard each side measuring 67.5 m. The three-storied palace, built of red-and-yellow sandstone, has 136 rooms that are decorated with impressive wall paintings. In the palace’s rooms and domes, its entrance gates and corridors or terraces you will see a remarkable confluence of both Islamic and Hindu architectures.
The palace is built on the banks of the Betwa River and is surrounded by an emerald green forest that provides a stunning view. There is a camel stable behind the palace. It was a great honour for Bir Singh Deo when the Emperor accepted his invitation and stayed at the palace for a night. It takes an hour to visit the palace and photography is permitted. There is a sound-and-light show here at night similar to the one in Gwalior, Khajuraho and Jhansi.
The Architectural Excellence of Raja Mahal
Those interested in architecture and history will find Raja Mahal irresistible. Truly, this palace which was built in the 17th Century, is a masterpiece in terms of its artistic excellence. The palace is absolutely flawless. It is for this reason that tourists from all over the world are attracted to it. What makes this palace remarkable is the presence of diverse murals of different gods as well as mythical animals and people.
The architecture of the palace ensures the control of temperature right through the day by a skilful control of sunlight. The kings and queens resided in this palace till 1783. Legend has it that an image of Ram was kept in the palace with the intention of transferring it to a proper temple, the Chaturbhuj. However, when the time for the transfer arrived, it is understood that the image could not be moved. Due to this reason, a part of the palace has been converted into Ram Raja Mandir. It is understood that this is the only shrine in India where Lord Rama is worshipped in the form of a King. There is a police force guarding the temple and Lord Rama is given a royal gun salute as deserving of a king, each day.
The Ram Raja Mandir in Orchha
The Ram Raja Mandir in Orchha is considered a sacred pilgrimage for Hindus. It is also known as Orchha Temple and according to Wikipedia, it receives around 6,50,000 domestic tourists and about 25,000 foreign tourists annually. You must visit this temple to see the idol of Lord Ram, not as a husband and brother or a conquerer of Raavan but as the King of Ayodhya. This is a rare sight.
Chaturbhuj Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is also located in Orchha. It was built in 875 AD during the dynasty of Gurjara Pratihara. The temple is well known because of its excellent architecture which receives rich praise from archaeologists and historians from the world over.
The Romantic Raj Praveen Mahal, Orchha
The Raj Praveen Mahal in Orchha is another palace which has excellent architecture and very beautiful carvings all over. The palace was built by the King Indrajit Singh in honour of Raj Praveen, who was the renowned nightingale of Orchha in his court. The palace has a second floor which displays several artistic scenes of Indian dance mudras. The Mahal also has a cannon foundry or tope khana which at one time was used to defend the palace against invaders.
Though this palace is not as spacious as the Jehangir Palace, it has a powerful tale of love to tell. It seems Raj Parveen was the beautiful wife of Raja Indramani. She attracted the roving eyes of no less a person than the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who proposed to her. Raj Parveen was not only beautiful. She also had very artistic tastes and was an excellent dancer and a well known singer. She was evidently very loyal to her husband as well. She turned down the offer of the emperor. This palace therefore also reflects the loyalty of an Indian queen for her husband. You will like the palace which has a beautiful garden around it.
The Charming Chhatris or Cenotaphs
The Bundela Kings had royal tombs built for them on the picturesque banks of the Betwa River. These Chhatris have been constructed on a raised platform which is supported with the help of pillars. The domes of the Chhatris have beautiful paintings. These imposing Chhatris are striking when viewed from the opposite bank of Betwa. You will find the reflection of the Chhatris in the river water very attractive.
A Memorial of Chandrashekhar Azad
A memorial has been built in Orchha to honour the great revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad. There is a reason why Azad’s memorial finds a place in Orchha. It seems when the freedom fighter was on the run from the police, he had hidden in Orchha. The memorial on the Jhansi-Orchha road consists of a small courtyard with Azad’s life-size statue in bronze while at the rear is a Hanuman temple that used to be worshipped by Azad.
The Magnificent Rani Mahal
The Rani Mahal reminds the visitor of the rich heritage of days gone by. The palace is as elegant and magnificent as a royal palace is expected to be. There are exquisite carvings as well as attractive paintings that convey the artistic temperament of the Bundela rulers as well as the capability of the artisans. The palace was used by the queen of Raja Madhukar Singh and Rani Laxmi Bai herself was the last occupant. Today, the palace has become a museum that is worth viewing. It houses ninth and twelfth century paintings besides scriptures of that era. Murals of our epics such as Ramayana adorn the walls while there are beautiful gardens on the outside. The Rani Mahal is one that must not be missed.