The hidden one in the forests of Madhya Pradesh. This is how we heard of Orchha and were intrigued to see it, on the return from Khajuraho to Jhansi to catch the train back to Delhi.

Cenotaphs_in_Orchha; pix: wikimediaTwo days had been spent in Khajuraho and the guide had become a friend. He said we must visit Orchha, founded in the 16th century AD by the Bundela Rajput chief, Rudra Pratap Singh. He was also the first King of Orchha, (1501-1531) and built the Fort of Orchha. This sounded interesting. Forts and palaces would be a change after the temples of Khajuraho and its not every day that one plans a trip to the heart of India.

Orchha sightseeing

The guide had prepared us well, written a note mentioning the main places of interest and must see in Orchha. We might not find a tourist office there, he said, so it was best to go well prepared. Enroute, in the car, we took out the list to find Chaturbhuj Temple (built during the reign of Emperor Akbar by the Queen of Orchha Ganeshi Bai, Raj Mandir (built by ‘Madhukar Shah’ during his reign 1554 to 1591), Chhatris on the bank of the Betwa River, Lakshmi Temple, Orchha palace. The Chhatris are the cenotaphs of Orchha rulers, dating to the 17th and 18th century. What was it to be first? Even as we were contemplating, the car stopped in front of an ancient structure. Some bikes and cars were there too.

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