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Orchha (Pastoral Retreat)

Orchha is a very old and beautiful town built in the year 1501 by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh. This place showcases an exquisite range of archaeological monuments. The ambiance of the town is very pleasing and the location on the banks of river Betwa also adds to the serenity of the town. Though the word ‘Orchha’ means a hidden place, this town is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. There are numerous ancient temples that date back to the 16th and 17th century. Despite of being a small town, it has various spots that attract tourists like ants being drawn to a piece of jaggery. Attractions like Rai Parveen Mahal, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Jahangir Mahal, Ram Raja temple, Raj Mahal, and Phool Bagh are worth visiting. The world-class Mural Paintings on the walls of the temples and buildings are another major attraction of the town.

Jahangir Mahal:

Jahangir Mahal, 17th century mansion, is remarkable for its vivid and fine Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The reason behind the construction of this palace was to honor Jahanghir on his first visit to Orchha. In this storied building, elements like marvelous sculptures, hanging balconies, delicate trellis and chhatris, topped domes, etc., represent an excellent architectural brilliance.

The Jahangir Mahal was built in 17th century by Bundela ruler, Bir Singh Deo. This palace is the symbol of friendship between the Bir Singh Deo and Jahangir. During the first visit of Jahangir in Orchha, this palace was built in his honor. The entrance of the palace is noticeable by traditional and artistic gateway. The front wall of the palace is covered with turquoise tiles and faces to the east. The magnificent Palace is a tourist destination for its grace and finest piece of architecture during Bundela Dynasty.

Chhatris:

The cluster of the Chhatris along the Kanchana Ghat of the Betwa River is one of the imposing and attractive features in Orchha. These Chhatris are the memorials of the rulers of Orchha, they date back to the 17th and 18th century and tells the story of the once glorious past of the Orchha rule. In total there are 14 cenotaphs built together and carries more or less the same structures, like a temple. Among them all, Bir Singh's Cenotaph stands out in its design, it has Islamic features on it. King Mudhurak Shah's Chhatri is the abode of Lord Ganesh. The best time to visit this location is in the morning and in the evening, the reflections of these Chhatris on the Betwa river makes the sight spectacular and unforgettable.

Jehangir Mahal:

Jahangir Mahal was built by King Vir Singh Deo, honoring the Mughal Prince Jahangir in the 17th century. This three storied structure is situated in the Fort complex of the Tikamgarh District of Orchha, it overlooks the Betwa River. The palace is spectacular and is built in an Indo Islamic architectural style, it consists of several courtyards, balconies, rooms and domes. The entrance facing the east is elaborate with the wall designed with turquoise tiles. Two stone elephants greet you at the entrance with a bell, which used to mark the entry of the king in the olden times. The best time to visit the palace is between the months of October and March as the temperature becomes pleasant. Visiting hours are, from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm.

Orchha Fort:

The Fort Complex is the main attraction of Orchha, it is located on an island on the Betwa River. There are three main palaces within the complex: Raj Mahal, situated on the right of the quadrangle. There is the Jahangir Mahal, built elaborately in commemoration of the Empwroe Jahangir. The final palace is the Rai Parveen Mahal, built in the name of the poetess and the musician whose love story is outstanding. The Orchha Fort is the center of the Orchha heritage and the narrator of the glorious past. An interesting thing about this place is that, Lord Rama is not considered as God like in the other parts of the country. They worship him as a great king. Best time to visit the complex is during the winter season, when the temperature decreases.

Chaturbhuj Temple:

The Chaturbhuj temple at Orchha has its own unique charm like the other attractions of the place, it is built on a massive rock platform, opposite to the Raja Mahal. It was constructed by Raja Madhukar in the 16th century and is an abode of the Lord Vishnu. The name of the temple suggests that it is the temple of the one with four arms referring to Lard Vishnu. In order to reach the temple, you have to climb a number of steps and on reaching the height, the view of the rest of Orchha is splendid. The exterior of the temple is heavily decorated with the symbols of the lotus, and the architectural style displays a style taken from the forts.

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