The once capital of the mighty Bundela Rajput kings, the small city of Orchha is brimming with monuments from its rich history. Its riverside setting amongst hills and lush greenery makes this ancient city an idyllic destination for exploring its many picturesque temples, palaces, and chhatris which encapsulate a grand period of its history.
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The Ram Raja temple, located within Orchha fort, is famous as the only place where Rama is worshipped as a king and not as a god. Legend says the image of Rama which was temporarily installed in the palace could not be moved to the designated temple, thus the palace was converted to become a temple. A large number of pilgrims make there way to the temple annually, especially during auspicious Hindu festivals.
Chaturbhuj translates to ‘one who has four arms’ in reference to Rama, an avatar of the god Vishnu. According to legend, it is said this temple was designated to be the home for Rama’s idol before it was mistakenly was installed at the palace next door instead. At present, an image of Radha Krishna is worshipped within the temple. The temple’s elaborate architecture with its large and small spires makes it one of the beautiful structures in the city’s landscapes and a highlight for visitors.
Jahangir Mahal is one of three palaces located within Orchha Fort Complex and was built as a citadel for the Mughals. The three-storied palace has dome tops per Timurid architecture and its gates are massive enough for war elephants to enter. In the evenings, there is a light and sound show here that regales visitors of the history of Orchha and the Jahangir Mahal.
Numerous chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the river side. These chhatris, small canopied ornate structures, are commonly used in palaces, forts, or funerary sites and were prominent features in Mughal architecture. In Orchha, these chhatris are memorials to the many rules of Orchha.
Datia, a city just an hour north of Orchha, is an ancient town that was the former seat of the Indian state in the British Raj. The town is home to a number of significant ancient temples and a thriving pilgrimage spot for religious devotees. Datia is best known for the Pitambara Peeth, a complex of Hindu temples, as well as the towering seven-storeyed Datia Palace built entirely of stone and brick in Bundela architecture. Amongst the large number of temples are 77 beautiful Jain temples, recognizable by their tall artistic spires.
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