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Orchha

Dreamy, isolated and marooned on a bend of the Betwa River, Orchha is a fantastically romantic cluster of stone palaces, temples, towers and gateways surrounded by acres of bright green jungle. This small town has a relaxed, laid-back feel, and visitors can easily spend a few days soaking up the spectacular Mughal-inspired architecture that flanks the river. 

From 1531 to 1783 Orchha was the capital of the Bundela kingdom, founded by Bundela Rajput, who became the first king of Orchha and ruled the area between the Yamuna and Narmada Rivers. The city rose to prominence in medieval times with the construction of Chaturbhuj Temple built during the reign of Emperor Akbar by the Queen of Orchha.

Along the banks of the river Betwa are some the town’s most stunning temples – enjoying them during the honey-glow of sunset should be high up on any visitor’s itinerary. The intricate pine-cone shaped spires of the Chaturbhuj Temple, dedicated to Vishnu, are visible from most parts of the town but up close they demonstrate a fascinating attention to detail. Adventurous visitors might like to climb the dark and winding interior of the towers to enjoy a commanding view from the rooftop over the town of Orchha. 

The Chaturbhuj Temple is part of the Fort Complex and visitors can wander the large square which leads to the beautiful Raj Mahal, the Rai Parveen Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal, which has eight elegant domed towers on top of the detailed pavilions. The Ram Raja Temple has a subtle design of yellow and pink stucco domes and terraces, and is the only palace in India where Lord Ram is worshipped. For this reason, the Ram Raja Temple has a high number of Hindu pilgrims.

As well as architecture, Orchha was home to a great school of Bundela painting, whose lively work - featuring both secular and religious subjects - is visible on the interior walls of buildings such as the Laxminarayan Temple. This temple is located on the road that leads out from Orchha and affords lovely views over the town.

Orchha has numerous royal cenotaphs, formal gardens and fountains as well a plethora of historic temples to provide visitors with a wonderful interlude in this captivating town.

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