Orchha is entered by a gate crowned with a brilliant red, elephant-headed Ganesh. The town’s name means ‘Hidden Place’ and the name is fitting of its concealed platforms, domes and spires rising out of dense jungle.
The ramshackle town is situated alongside the Betwa River. It was established in 1501 by Maharaja Rudra Pratap Singh, as the seat of a former princely state of central India.
A seasonal island on the river’s soft banks is the foundation of an impressive palace-fort surrounded by a battlement wall. The fort is made up of several inter-connecting buildings erected at different points in history. The most significant are the Raja Mahal and the Jahangir Mahal, the latter considered to be a singularly beautiful example of Mughal architecture.
A host of cenotaphs or chhatris are dotted around the fort and along the shore of the Betwa River and elsewhere about the town there are a variety of temples and tombs. Sunsets turn the circling vultures to silhouettes as the Hindu devotees chant rhythmic incantations to Lord Rama, who they believe resides in Ram Raja Temple; and the whole town is turned dusky pinks and amber before being completely swallowed by the shadows of the encroaching jungle.
The 9th century Chaturbhuj Temple | Visiting the many architectural wonders of the palace-fort
Also known as Urchha