It's an old tradition in Bundelkhand to address the very first wedding invitation card to a person by name Hardual Singh, who's worshipped as a god in the region. The reason behind this special status, dates back to times when Jujhar Singh was the king of Bundelkhand and his brother Hardual Singh was the prince. Due to some unfortunate miscommunication, Hardual had to sacrifice his life inorder to prove his innocence against his alleged affair with his sister-in-law Champavati. That's one of interesting story from charming place called 'Orchha', which we don't get to read in our textbooks. Usually, the unique history of the place is often overshawdowed by glamourous history of nearest city Jhansi.
|Sunrise Amidst Mustard Field|
After my friend's wedding in Satna, I had a day out in Khajuraho and subsequent day I had an early morning taxi ride from Khajuraho to Satna. The route was quite interesting as every 20 km on the highway we were switching states i.e. U.P. to M.P. and vice versa. The photographic moment of the journey was witnessing the sunrise amidst mustard fields next to the highway. After the picturesque journey, I was in Orchha quite early in morning and witnessed that life has its own definition at the historical place. Apart from a few piligrims, the natives of the city were relaxing indoors by extending their overnight sleep :)
Raj Mahal and Jehangir Mahal
The major monuments in Orchha are Raj Mahal and Jehangir Mahal. The latter one was constructed to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. The monuments comprises signature architecure of this region i.e. chatris and mix Hindu/Islamic architechture. The place is must visit for its sound-n-light show in evening. It's very informative and majority of information in this post is from the same show :)
Story of Rai Praveen
Rai Praveen was a poet, musician and dancer in court of Bundelas. Once she was captivated by Emperior Akbhar and set managed herself free through her oratory/debating skills. On her return she was falicitated with a dedicated palace besides Jehangir Mahal.
|Rai Praveen Mahal|
Ram Raja Mandir
Ram Raja Mandir has a unique story attached to it. It's the only temple where Lord Ram is worshipped as a king and that too in structure which was previously Queen's Palace. One of the queens of Orchha after fulfilling her wish to visit Ayodhya, got back with a statue of Lord Ram. Since the Chaturbhuj temple was under construction she decided keep the idol in her palace itself. But before leaving Ayodhya, Lord Ram had stated to the queen that his idol will remain at the place where it's installed first. By the time she realized this, the idol was temporarily installed in palace and it had to be retained there by coverting the palace into a temple.
|Ram Raja Temple|
Other major temples in Orchha are Chaturbhuj Temple and Lakshmi Temple. Chaturbhuj temple was supposed to be Ram temple for the reasons mentioned above the rani mahal adjacent to it was convered into a temple. A 10 minutes walk from Chaturbhuj temple would take you to Lakshmi Temple at an elevated location.The temple is rectangular on the outside and octagonal on the inside. The idol of the deity has missing for last 20 years, but one should visit this place to view beautiful paintings and witnessing 360 degree view of Orchha from the terrace.
Cenotaphs are one of the signature monument of Orchha. They have erected as a memorials for kings of Orchha.
Banks of Betwa River
An early morning visit banks of Betwa river will provide one more key aspect of the place. You can visit thousands of piligrims to Ram Raja Temple taking a sacred dip in the river. There's a single lane bridge across Betwa River where vehicles (HTVs, LMVs) move on either ways by using headlights as mutual exclusion signal.
|Bridge Betwa River|