Orchha Things to Do

  • Laxmi Temple
    Laxmi Temple
    by RAJASTHANBYCAR
  • Chaturbhuj Temple
    Chaturbhuj Temple
    by RAJASTHANBYCAR
  • Closer view Chaturbhuj Temple
    Closer view Chaturbhuj Temple
    by RAJASTHANBYCAR

Most Recent Things to Do in Orchha

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    Raja Mahal - Diwan-i-Am

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 14, 2007

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    The Diwan-i-Am is an assembly hall where the king often held meetings with his council of ministers. It was built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah and features three platforms from the highest of which, the king held forth on affairs of the state. The Diwan-i-Am has massive columns and the vaulted ceilings have lively paintings in the Bundela style. These depict peacocks, parrots, antelopes, bison, elephants, deer and animals fights. There are also scenes from music concerts and hunting expeditions.

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    Raja Mahal - ceiling paintings

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 14, 2007

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    The most striking features of the palace are it's amazing ceiling paintings. The subjects of the paintings are mainly the life and deeds of Lord Rama and Krishna. The incarnations of the god Vishnu have also been painted as well as wrestling, village folk, hunting and royal amusements have also found a place in the depictions. A guy opened a door that led into the rooms where the paintings are located so you may have to do the same. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Raja Mahal

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 14, 2007

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    The construction of the Raja Mahal was started in 1531 by Raja Rudra Pratap, (the first Bundela ruler of Orchha between 1503-31), and was completed in 1539 in the reign of Bharti Chandra (1531-54). Later on, his successor Madhukar Shah (1554-92) made some alterations and additions giving it its final shape. Designed on a square plan, the palace is divided into two wings with five storeys on three sides and four storeys on one side around a central courtyard. The palace was inhabited for over 200 years. The most striking features of the palace are it's amazing ceiling paintings (see my following tip).

    Admission: Rs30 for foreigners and Rs20 for stills camera. This day ticket entitles you to visit all of Orchha's attractions.

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    Woman's work

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This was a popular scene that I saw everywhere in India - women doing physically hard work. I've seen women work on roads and buildings and here they're breaking up bricks into fine rubble and then carrying it in dishes on their heads to more women who would beat it down with a stick to form and layer of flooring. They do all this whilst still wearing colourful sari's.

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    Kraparam Gaur ki Haveli

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    These ruins are on the right just off By-pass road before you get to the cenotaphs. Kraparam Gaur was the chief commander of the Bundela army during the reign of King Vir Singh (1605-27). The main entrance of the haveli is built with bricks and lime mortar. The two storeyed gate has an arched facade and the stone door is carved with brackets of Rajput style. There are three arched windows on the first floor having a roof shaped like a back of an elephant. Inside the gate lies the main enclave of the haveli at a distance of about 120 feet.

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    Cenotaph of Jashwant Singh

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is the first on the left as you walk into the enclosed complex. King Indramani was succeeded by his son Jashwant Singh who ruled at Orchha from 1675 to 1684. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb granted him khillat in 1683. He died in 1684 and was succeeded by his son Bhagawant Singh. This cenotaph was constructed by his mother Amar Kunwari in 1684. The cenotaph has a square sanctum with arched doorways in each direction in Sarvatobhadra style and is surrounded by a rectangular passage having three arched doors towards the courtyard with each corner having square rooms connected to the passage on both sides. The three storeyed structure has a large spire of Nagar style in the middle and each corner square room is surmounted with a decorated dome making it an example of the Panchayatan style. The decoration of the shikhar, inverted lotus at the top of the domes octagonal base and kalash, niches and arched doors are again typical of the Bundeli architectural style.

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    Cenotaph of Maharaja Bhagawant Singh

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is in the middle three on the left. King Jasawant Singh died in 1684 and was succeeded by his son Bhagawant Singh. The maharani Amar Kanwari became the regent. After the death of Bhagawant Singh the Maharani adopted Udot Singh, who belonged to Hardaul's branch of the family, in 1689 and Udot Singh constructed this cenotaph in the same year. This cenotaph is square in plan, having a square sanctum with arched doorways on four sides, a rectangular passage and corner square rooms connected with the passage on both sides. The three storeyed cenotaph has a large Nagar style spire at the top and each corner square room is topped with a dome making it an example of the Panchayatan style.

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    Cenotaph of King Sawant Singh

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is the smallest within the complex on the left at the end. Maharaja Prathvi Singh (1736-1753) had a son named Puran Singh who died during lion hunting. His son Sawant Singh succeeded his grandfather in 1752 and ruled at Orchha upto 1765. King Sawant Singh received a royal banner and title of "Mahaendra" from Mughal Emperor Shall Alam. This cenotaph was constructed by King Het Singh after his father’s death in 1765. It is different from the other cenotaphs in shape and size. It is square in plan, having a square sanctum surrounded by a passage which is decorated beautifully with paintings. The construction of the spire, domes, kiosks and other parts of the cenotaph are a good example of Bundela architectural style.

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    Cenotaph of Maharaja Indrmani

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is the second on the right as you walk into the enclosed complex. King Sujan Singh was succeeded by his younger brother Indramani in 1672, who died in 1675. His son Jasawanl Singh succeeded him. He constructed this cenotaph in 1675. This three storeyed structure is built in a square plan, having a square sanctum surrounded by rectangular chambers with three arched doors and each corner has a square room connecting to the verandah on both sides. The sanctum has a large Nagar style spire and at each corner square rooms topped with domes depicting the Panchayatan style.

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    Cenotaph of Maharaja Sujan Singh

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    King Sujan Singh succeeded his father Pahad Singh in 1653 and died in 1672. His younger brother Indramani succeeded him and started to construct this cenotaph but it was completed later by Jaswant Singh (1675-1684). It is the earliest cenotaph inside the complex and is the first on the right as you walk in. It shows the developed stage of Bundela cenotaph architecture. It has a square plan, having a square sanctum at the middle and is surrounded by rectangular chambers with three arched doors towards the courtyard. The sanctum has four arched doors in each direction leading on to the outer chambers. The three storeyed sanctum has a Nagar style spire but each corner has domes above square rooms. The profuse decoration of the cenotaph is typical of Bundela architecture.

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    Cenotaph of Banka Umed Singh

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is the second on the right before you get into the complex and is the only non-king cenotaph. Banka Umed Singh was the landlord of Banka pahadi and kiledar of Orchha for. He died in 1742 and was a descendant of Haradaul and a son of Rai Singh (a brother of Maharaja Udol Singh). This cenotaph was constructed in 1742 during the time of King Prathvi Singh (1736-52). The square sanctum has an image of Umed Singh with his consort on the back wall. An inscription of three lines carved on the canopy mentions 1742.

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    Cenotaph of Madhukar Shah

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is located in a separate compound which I couldn't get into. It's the first one you'll come to on your right. Madhukar Shah, (ruled between 1554-92, the third Bundela ruler of Orchha), was a contemporary of Mughal Emperor Akbar and renowned ruler of the Bundela dynasty. Deeply religious, he was devoted to Lord Krishna. He built the superb Chaturbhuj Temple and completed the construction of the Raja Mahal and Diwan-i-Am. His cenotaph was built by his eldest son Ram Shah in 1593. Its sanctum houses marble statues of Madhukar Shah and his queen.

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    Cenotaph of Bir Singh Deo

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    This cenotaph is different to the others and is located outside the compound, very close to the river. The rule of Bir Singh Deo (1605-27) is regarded as the golden era in the annals of the Bundela dynasty. He built the grand and majestic buildings such as the Jahangir Mahal, Phoolbagh and Lakshminarayan Temple. This cenotaph was built by Jujhar Singh between 1627-28. It's constructed on an elevated square platform with a square sanctum that is three storey's high. Each floor has balconies, most of which have not been able to survive the ravages of time.

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    Cenotaphs

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    Fifteen cenotaphs, (or Chhatris), to the Bundela kings and members of their clan are located on the northern bank of the River Betwa about 500m south of the village. Most of the cenotaphs are designed in Panchaytan style and date from the late 16th - 18th centuries. They are constructed on an elevated square platform with a square sanctum. The upper portions are angular with arches with the peek patterned on the Nagar style of temple architecture. Five of them are housed in an enclosed compound where you have to purchase a day ticket at the Raja Mahal entrance in order to enter so. I climbed up the one's overlooking the river and sat at the top with the sun setting behind me and they're a very peaceful spot. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.

    In order to visit you have to purchase a day ticket at the Raja Mahal entrance. This ticket entitles you to visit all of Orchha's attractions for Rs30.

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    Cenotaphs from river

    by Willettsworld Written Jun 13, 2007

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    OK, so the story goes like this: I wanted to take a picture of the Hindu cenotaphs from the opposite bank of the river but the area was fenced off so I walked along the road and came to a place called the Orchha Nature Reserve - Rs200 which was a bit much to enter just to take a couple of photo's from the waters edge. I said to the guard that all I wanted to do was take a few pictures of the cenotaphs from the waters edge but he just kept saying "200 rupees". I got very annoyed and said it was ridiculous and walked back to the bridge and took some photo's from there with the sun in the way. Two young guys were sitting on a rock and I said to them that they should get a boat and take tourists along the river a bit so that they can take pictures of them and charge them Rs50 for doing so. I said it was a good business opportunity. I left them to mull it over and went back along the bridge to take some more photo's and watch people washing themselves. About 5-10 minutes later, the 2 young lads came over and said that they could get me in to the "Nature Reserve" for Rs20 (the Indian fee) but I said to them about the guard wanting to charge me Rs200. They said that one of their fathers was the park warden so we walked back and one of them started to make a call on his mobile whilst the other explained to the guard what I wanted to do. The guy on the mobile made another call and got through to his father and passed the mobile over to the guard. I was then ushered down with the other guy to the waters edge and took a few photo's without having to pay. Great stuff, I thought and I thanked the guys as we walked out and back down to the bridge. Then the guys started to say that they wanted Rs100 for their trouble and produced a pink receipt with 2 entrance fees (theirs) of Rs20 each. The guy on the mobile got on his motorbike and started to head off but the other guy was going on about the Rs100. I said that it's to late to charge me now as I've got what I came for. Cont below:

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Orchha Things to Do

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