Orchha means ‘hidden palace’. That is exactly what this beautiful little town is, a treasure trove of scenic places and historically significant monuments. The city of Orchha was founded by the Bundela Rajput, Rudra Pratap in the 16th Century. The town of Orchha holds a very significant place in the history of India and is the capital city of the Bundela rulers.
This historically significant town lies on the banks of the Betwa River and is very famous for its palaces and temples that were erected in the 16th and 17th centuries. Orchha is also known to celebrate the Bastar-Dussehra around the months of September-October with lots of grandeur where you will get to see large processions and brightly lit up streets. If you are looking for a guide to things that you can do in Orchha, read on to find out about all the exciting things that can be done here!
9 Must do Things in Orchha
1) Experience the majestic Jahangir Mahal-
The Jahangir Palace is a part of the Orchha Fort and is one of the four majestic palaces that the Orchha fort has. The palace is made in a classic Mughal architectural style and was built as a citadel for the Mughals. The Palace gardens and gateways are built in a way to even fit in war elephants. You can only imagine how big these gateways are till you actually visit them!
2) Explore art at the Raja Mahal-
Raja Mahal is another beautiful palace inside the Orchha Fort. This Mahal is very intriguing for tourists from all over the world as it gives them a chance to explore the architectural structures and styles that existed centuries ago. Decorative murals of animals, people and Gods adorn Raja Palace’s interiors while the secret passages inside the palace add to the mystery, making it one of the most interesting places to visit here.
The windows and arcades of the palace are designed in a way that the sun’s rays peeping in through these inlets create many different temperatures and moods, all through the day.
3) Visit the holy Ram Raja palace-
The Ram Raja Palace has a very interesting story that dates back to the reign of kings and queens in India. Legend has it that the idols that were supposed to be installed in the Chaturbhuj Temple were kept in the queen’s palace till the palace was being constructed. When people tried to move the idols from the queen’s palace to the Chaturbhuj Temple, the idols became immobile. This is how the Raja Ram palace became a temple and is considered as one of the holiest palaces here.
4) Admire the architecture at Chaturbhuj Temple
If you have a keen interest in architecture, you have to visit the Chaturbhuj Temple in Orchha. Built in the 17th century by the Bundela Rajput Kings, this one is a classic temple with exquisite architecture that will make you marvel at the intricate designs. Legend has it that the location of the temple was decided in such a way that the then king could see Lord Krishna’s idol directly from his balcony. When you visit the Chaturbhuj Temple, make sure to visit the top floor of the temple to get the best views of the surroundings.
5) Delve into the history of Bundelkhand at the Jhansi Fort
Spread over a sprawling 49 acres, the Jhansi Fort was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo about 400 years ago. Also known as, Rani Jhansi ka Quilla, the Jhansi Fort is listed among the best-fortified areas of India. If you want to learn about the history of Bundelkhand, we suggest you also visit the museum inside the Jhansi Fort to get an insight into all the wars and battles that this majestic Quilla has lived through.
6) Pack in a wild experience at Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary
The Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1994 and is one of the best places to visit in Orchha, especially if you are travelling with young kids. Despite being spread over a relatively small area, this sanctuary is home to tigers, leopards, jackal, sloth bears, langoors, blue bull, monkeys and peacocks. There are over 200 species of birds that also reside within this sanctuary, adding more excitement to your visit.
The most scenic part of the sanctuary is where the Betwa river flows right at the centre of the sanctuary. You can reach this spot and relax for a bit before you go ahead and spot more animals. If you are lucky, you will also get to see the migratory birds at the sanctuary which include woodpeckers, owls, jungle bush quail, black swan, kingfisher and geese.
7) Learn about the culture of Orchha at the Chhatris
The Chhatris were constructed to pay an ode to the rulers who contributed to making the Bundelkhand dynasty into ‘the mighty Bundelkhand Dynasty’. There are 14 Chhatris which represent the culture of Orchha along with the grandeur of the rulers of olden times. A visit to these Chhatris is a must for those who have an interest in design and architecture.
8) Visit the Laxminarayan Temple
The Laxminarayan Temple was constructed in 1662 and is symbolic of the architectural styles and designs of the olden times. Crowds of people flock to the temple to pray to Goddess Laxmi, the main deity of the temple. The design of Laxminarayan Temple is a mix of fort and temple architecture while the display of beautiful paintings only adds to the aesthetic beauty of the temple.
9) Hear about Prince Hardaul’s story at the Dinman Hardaul Palace
Dinman Hardaul’s Palace is not just another palace but has a very interesting story that lies behind it. The Dinman Hardaul Palace was constructed in honour of Prince Hardaul who was known to live true to his values and beliefs. Prince Hardaul’s brother, Jhujhar suspected him of being romantically involved with his friend, this did not go down too well with the Prince and led him to take his own life. The Dinman Hardaul Palace is not only a symbol of Prince Hardaul’s loyalty to his principles but is also a symbol of the art and architecture of the 17th Century.
Best time to visit Orchha
The months from October to March, are great for tourists visiting Orchha as the weather around these months is suitable for outdoor activities.
How to reach Orchha?
Orchha is situated beside the Malwa Plateau and a major part of the town lies in the northern part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, making it one of the central cities of India. This city is located close to Delhi.
Air: You can take a direct flight to Gwalior Airport from major cities of India. The main city of Orchha is just a 3-hour drive from Gwalior Airport.
Rail: Take a train to the nearest Jhansi railway station. The distance from the station to the main city of Orchha is just 25 minutes. The Tamil Nadu Express, Rajdhani Express, Garib Rath, Karnataka Express, Pushpak Express, Punjab Mail and the Jhelum Express are some trains that ply from major Indian cities to the Jhansi Railway station.
Road: Orchha is very well connected to the cities of Jhansi, Lalitpur, Gwalior, Isagarh, Bhind, Ashoknagar, Sagar, Damoh and Jabalpur. If you want to travel via road, you can either hire private cars or take one of the Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPRTC) buses.
Tip: You can do a full trip from Delhi to Orchha, clubbing your visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra and even cover the Khajuraho temples (Chhatarpur).
When are you heading to this amazing place to learn about the culture and history of this hidden city?