Orchha has hands down the best Forts/Palaces in India. Trust me on this, I entered the Orchha Fort compound and was awestruck for a minute. The building is standing tall for ages but still, hold the charm to mesmerize you and make you fall in love at fight sight. Wait till you get to hear the great stories about it :)
Most Noteworthy, this place is still is a hidden gem among the Indian travellers, that is the reason you will find more of Foreigners here. But this place is not to be missed! A small town near Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh, but has a beautiful aura of its own from the time you enter the vicinity.
The place is not huge, some would say there is nothing much here. But mark my words the 2 days I spend here was not enough to embrace its beauty.
I heard a lot about Orchha, the more I read made me anxious, so finally decided to visit here. It was one of the capital cities of the Bundela dynasty. Under the Tikamgarh district on the banks of Betwa River.
Basic Budget: 5,000-7,000 INR (per person)
I visited in November. It was a Solo trip for 2 days
How to reach Orchha?
I visited Gwalior before coming here. So from Gwalior took a train to Jhansi and then by road to Orchha. It took me half hour from there. You can take autos or taxis. The taxi costs around Rs 700, auto is a bit cheaper. The route/road is quite decent.
It lies on the road between Jhansi and Khajuraho. Also, well connected via road with all the main Cities in Madhya Pradesh. The distances from some of the main cities are:
- 20 km from Jhansi
- 120 km from Gwalior
- 180 km from Khajuraho
The nearest railway station is Jhansi. It is an important junction in central India, which connects from most of the cities of the country.
The nearest airport is Khajuraho. There are a few airlines that connect it to other major cities of India like Delhi, Varanasi.
What is the Best time to visit Orchha?
The best time to visit is in the months from October to March. Basically, the winter months are good.
Places to visit in Orchha
First of all, I was lucky to have a guide that a friend suggested, Mr Hemant Goswami who helped me understand Orchha better through his eyes. He is one of the best and well-known in Orchha, very knowledgeable and courteous.
Orchha is a small town, can be covered using any mode of transport: walking, cycle, auto, car etc. The local taxi usually takes Rs 800 for a day tour. Most of all the town promises, to not make you feel bored at any point in time. As it offers beautiful architectures along with the Betwa river flowing.
My first place to visit was Orchha Fort, it caught my attention from far off. Almost standing tall like a crown of the town. It has various parts, some are now ruined but others are open to visitors.
This fort is a perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture and its beauty. The fort has various parts like Jahangir Mahal; Sheesh Mahal; Raja Mahal. Also, there is a Sound and Light show in the evening to explain the history of the fort. It would easily take around 3 hours to enjoy the fort :)
Check out the History of Orchha Fort in detail here: Orchha Fort, Madhya Pradesh- Forts of India
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Not just a temple, but a gallery to some of the most amazing paintings of Orchha. Another interesting fact about the temple is its Owl shape. As it is known that the mode of transport of Goddess Laxmi is an Owl, this temple gives a shape of a flying owl. Also, try finding a beak shape on the top of the entrance gate :P
When I visited there was renovation going inside the temple to preserve the paintings and the art that was painted on the walls and roofs of the galleries of this temple. Various ancient and modern ways of paintings are used here depicting the stories of Mahabharata, Ramayana and the British era.
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Raja Ram Mandir
This temple holds utter importance to the locals. Furthermore what makes it more interesting is the fact that it is the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as a Raja/King. Hence the name Raja Ram Mandir :)
Check out the details here: Raja Ram Temple, Orchha[gallery type="rectangular" ids="2376,2377,2378,2370" orderby="rand"]
Nature Adventures at Orchha Sanctuary and Kayaking in Betwa River
Apart from all the temples, forts and palaces, Orchha also has something to offer for the adventure junkies. Probably you can indulge yourself in a Cycle tour or Jungle walk at Orchha Sanctuary or try out Rafting or Kayaking in Betwa River. There is another river which flows inside the sanctuary and meets Betwa river known as Jamuni river.
Check out the details here: A step towards nature in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Group of Chatteris/Cenotaphs
There are around 15 cenotaphs located on the banks of Betwa River of the Bundela kings and other family members. Most of these are designed in Panchayatan style, elevated on a square platform and in the centre the upper portion has been made angular shaped with arches. The peek is in a Nagar style temple architecture.
Especially relevant, it is the only place in India where you may find Chattris of Hindu kings and their family. Each building is multi-storied and so beautiful. These are not to be missed by any chance :)
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Sunset from the riverside
Orchha offers you one of the world’s best Sunset sites. Consequently, you can view it from various locations here, keeping all the beautiful architectures in the picture.
The best places I found was from the old bridge on the Betwa river (which on high river flow becomes dis-functional) and the garden in front of the forest department office near the Orchha sanctuary.
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This temple was originally been created by the queen for Lord Ram, but there is a story behind it not being used (Check out the story here).
Hence, this temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is now known as Chaturbhuj temple. The architecture is yet again not to be mentioned. Also, it offers beautiful views from the top but there is timing for the same. The floors above closes in the evening, but its a must visit :)
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If you are a shopping junkie, try your hands of Silver Jewellery, it is said to cheap due to the mines nearby. And Kalakand, which is a local sweet and also offered at Raja Ram Temple,
Every place I visited had an interesting story behind it and had a personality of its own. The beauty/colours of the buildings have preserved these stories well and proud!
PS: Foreigners be ready to be requested for Selfies for the local kids around :P
What all can I wear in Orchha?
There are no specific restrictions in the area. But as this a small town, hence it is suggested to wear not so revelling clothes. Summers are really hot therefore not a preferable time to visit. Also, if visiting in winters carry light/woollens according to the weather forecast.
Where can I stay/eat best in Orchha
While Orchha has various hotels/resorts, some old palaces/havelis are also converted into resorts. You may find some economical options to luxury and heritage properties here.
- Betwa Retreat: for food and stay, it’s under MP Tourism
- Kalakand is the local sweet, can be found near Ram Raja Temple
- I Stayed at the Bundelkhand Riverside resort. Check out the details here: Bundelkhand Riverside resort, Orchha
My Cherished moments!
- Watching the sunset from the Old Betwa river bridge
- Kayaking in the Betwa river and having a new view of the town
- Cycle tour in the Orchha Sanctuary
- Jahangir Mahal is one of the best places to visit in Orchha :)
I can’t non-stop praising since I am totally mesmerised by this place. Therefore, will surely be visiting it yet again so time soon…Go Banjare! 🙂