The big palace in Orchcha. Take a guide, he would take Rs.100 and would explain the significance of the palace. Tell him to open the king and queen's quarters and show the wall paintings depicting the 9 avtaars of Vishnu.
The sound and light was supposed to start, if it has do see it to understand this town's history better.
Hardaul was the son of Bir Singh Ju Deo, and died to prove his innocence to his elder brother Jhujhar who cast doubts on his relationship with his (Jhujhar's) consort. This saintly prince was, after his martyrdom, worshipped as a god and even today, the villages of Bundelkhand contain platform like shrines where Hardaul is worshipped.
This palace was also constructed by King Vir Singh Dev. It is said that he built nine palaces for his son called Nauchauki. Jujhar Singh palace was one of them. The three storeyed palace is built in rectangular plan, having a large hall and rectangular rooms on the ground floor. There are three square rooms topped with ribbed domes on the upper storey. The designs of the inverted lotus shaped domes are typical features of the Bundela style of architecture.
This palace, located in front of Hardaul Bathaka (Seat), is called Palaki Mahal due to its large palanquin roof. It was built by King Vir Singh Dev (1605-1627). The two storeyed palace is built in a rectangular plan consisting of three arched door verandahs which have rectangular rooms on both sides. Tiled stone pillars and the first floor with palanquin roof were added in late 17th century when the pavilion of Hardaul was constructed.
The Phool Bagh is a flower garden containing a palace, named after it. King Vir Singh Dev, (1605-1627), built this garden and palace. It has a pillared hall on the ground floor in front of which decorated fountains were built, and squarish large rooms topped with ribbed domes on the first floor. The peacock shaped brackets, pillars, ribbed dome and niches are typical of Bundeli architectural style. Below the main building is an extensive Thakhana (basement) for use in hot weather ventilated by two tall shafts which are perforated to provide ventilation for cooling.
This is a large rectangular courtyard located behind the Shish Mahal and Jahangir Mahal. There were elongated chamber doors on three sides, however only the walls remain. A water channel also came along the walls which was evidently used by the horses for drinking water.
It is said that after the suicide of Raiman Daua's family, Maharaja Vir Singh felt extremely repentant and called Daua's pregnant daughter-in-law from her parents house for whom this new building was constructed. She gave birth to a child named Shyam, who later became military commander of the Bundela army. The building has two courtyards having arched entrances facing east that are decorated with full bloomed lotus flowers on both sides. The three storeyed gateway is topped with a palanquin roof.
This was the house of the chief of the cavalry located to the north of the Shyam Daua's ki Kothi. It has rectangular chambers and verandahs with its basement to the north while the southern part is in ruins. The building probably dates to the 17th century which is evident from its architectural features.
The Rai Praveen Mahal was constructed by Prince Indrajit Singh for Rai Praveen who was a famous poet and musician and his favourite concubine. The walls of the central hall on the second storey bear many paintings depicting the several moods of Rai Praveen. The palace is combined with a garden divided into two parts by a wall and which is popularly known as Anand Mandal Bagh.
Within the fort walls several structures were built to support the powerful army maintained by the Bundela state. The Unth Khana, or camel house, is considered one such military structure. The building itself is square-shaped with a strong veneer of stone blocks. Four flights of stairs lead up to a terrace on the roof where you have to watch where you walk otherwise you'll fall off the sides! Despite the lack of external decoration, its appearance is elegant, even majestic. The interior is quite elaborately decorated and had rings in the ceilings as if for swings.
As I was walking out of the Jahangir Palace towards the Unth Khana (camel stables), a guy called me over and said if I wanted to visit these cellars (or possibly dungeons) with him. I agreed so he took me down underneath the steps of the main palace entrance and showed me around. They are lit in places but it's probably wise to bring a torch.
Both the Raja Mahal and Jahangir Mahal were being renovated whilst I was visiting. Like all over India, bamboo scaffolding is often used in order for workmen to reach hard to get to, high up places. To us it looks very precarious but they walk around on it without a by or a leave. Rather then than me that's all I'm saying!
There's a door at one side of the inner courtyard of the Jahangir Mahal that leads into a small archaeological museum. The museum houses some stone carvings, stone inscriptions and such like. The museum is included in the price of the palace day ticket.
Like in the Raja Mahal, the Jahangir Mahal is built around a central courtyard. A domed pavilion with an aprtment underneath marks the corners of the upper storey as well as the middle of each side. The courtyard also features a small shallow bathing tank.
This is the highlight building within the fort at Orchha and is a fine example of Rajput Bundela architecture and is the culminating point of the evolution of medieval Indo-Islamic architecture. It was built by King Bir Singh Deo in 1626 and named after the Mughal emperor Jahangir who spent one night here. The palace is square in design around a central courtyard with four fortified bastions at each corner. The Chhajja on the corners of the first storey is held by a series of carved elephant brackets on all sides. All the 132 chambers of this palace had been decorated with paintings, the remains of which are visible only in a few rooms. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.