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Orchha

Orchha
ओरछा
town
Orchha Palace
Orchha Palace
Orchha is located in Madhya Pradesh
Orchha
Coordinates:
Country India
State Madhya Pradesh
District Tikamgarh
Elevation 552 m (1,811 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 8,501
Languages
 • Official Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Telephone code 07680
Vehicle registration MP-36
Website www.ramrajatempleorchha.com

Orchha (or Urchha) is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501, as the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha lies on the Betwa River, 80 km from Tikamgarh & 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.[1]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Places of tourist interest 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Accessibility 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

Orchha was founded in 1531 (the 16th century AD)[2] by the Bundela Rajput chief, Rudra Pratap Singh,[3] who became the first King of Orchha, (r. 1501-1531) and also built the Fort of Orchha.[4] The Chaturbhuj Temple was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar, by the Queen of Orchha Ganeshi Bai,[5] while Raj Mandir was built by 'Madhukar Shah' during his reign, 1554 to 1591.[6][7]

Places of tourist interest

Chhatris on the bank of the Betwa River
Lakshmi Temple, Orchha.
Orchha palace cortile.

On a seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, which has been surrounded by a battlement wall, stands a huge palace-fort. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which is the Raja Mahal.

The Ram Raja Temple is built on a square base and has an almost entirely plain exterior, relieved by projecting windows and a line of delicate domes along the summit. The Jahangir Mahal is built on a rectangular base and is relieved by a circular tower at each corner surmounted by a dome, while two lines of graceful balconies supported on brackets mark the central storeys. The roof is crowned by eight large fluted domes, with smaller domes between them, connected by an ornamental balustrade. The Jahangir Mahal is considered to be a singularly beautiful specimen of Mughal architecture. A point worth mentioning here is that the mother for Jahangir was also a Rajput, Jodha. It is with this in mind that the Rajput king of Orchha had built the Jahangir Mahal.[8] Chaturbhuj Temple is an old temple from the 9th century.

The Uth Khana (Camel Shelter) where the King's camels were stationed is right next to the fort and is a must-see. Tourists can also climb on the roof of the Uth Khana and get a fantastic view of Orchha town. The ruins behind the fort complex are an even greater sight. It makes a tourist travel back in time and is an integral part of a visit to Orchha. It houses the residences of various military officers, ministers (housing, roads), gunpowder factory, etc. Although most are in absolute ruins, a silent walk through the ruins can give one goosebumps.

Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river. Elsewhere about the town there is an unusual variety of temples and tombs, including the Chaturbhuj temple, which is built on a vast platform of stone. The more unguarded and neglected of these buildings are popular hangouts for tropical bees, wasps, and other such excitable stinging creatures.

In 2006, Orchha's buildings were being documented by the LIK Team of IIT Roorkee, India[9]

A community radio station, Radio Bundelkhand was launched in Orchha on October 23, 2008. It is an initiative of the Development Alternatives Group. The radio station broadcasts daily programs in the Bundeli dialect and devotes significant amount of its broadcast time to local issues, culture, education and the rich tradition of Bundeli folk music. The station is available on 90.4 MHz.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[10] Orchha had a population of 8501. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Orchha has an average literacy rate of 54%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 64%, and female literacy is 42%, 18% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Accessibility

Orchha Railway station is Jhansi-Manikpur section of the North Central Railways. 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, Orchha also lies close to another popular tourist destination, Khajuraho.

Tourists who wish to visit Orchha from Khajuraho can catch the morning express which leaves at around 8 or 9 AM. Alternatively, they could also avail the afternoon express which leaves at around 12 or 1 PM. The train journey from Khajuraho is 5 hours and they will ideally have to get off at Jhansi and grab an autorickshaw or Tuk Tuk for Orchha (costs not more than INR 10-15). However, if the train halts at Orchha, they can also get off at the Orchha station and grab an autorickshaw to the temple complex.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Orchha".  
  2. ^ Orchha Tikamgarh district Official website.
  3. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 187.  
  4. ^ Mausoleum of Raja Rudra Pratap, British Library.
  5. ^ Orchha British Library.
  6. ^ Genealogy of Orchha
  7. ^ Raj Mandir British Library.
  8. ^ Orchha History
  9. ^ Mission Orchha Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.
  10. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  •  
  • "Orchha Town".  
  • "Orchha State".  

External links

  • Documentation of orchha buildings by IIT Roorkee
  • Genealogy of the ruling chiefs of Orchha
  • Orchha travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Travelogue and photos of Orchha
Pictures
  • Orchha Photo Gallery
  • Orchha Photo Gallery with over 50 Pictures 2009
  • Orchha pictures on OrientalQuest
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