Earlier this year, I had a chance to visit one of my friend’s wedding in Jhansi. While the wedding function was in the night time, I had reached early morning to be part of all the fun. However, since there were no ceremonies to be attended till noon, we planned to visit Orchha which was just about 20 kms from Jhansi. When I heard this name, I got little excited since the place had been somewhere in my mind, ever since I had seen my friend’s pictures to the place. I just grabbed the front seat of Innova to capture the journey.
Orchha, literally meaning ‘the hidden place’, is situated in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh and once used to be the capital of Bundelkhand. Sitting on the sides of the river Betwa and once a lush green town, the grandeur of the town now lies in in stone, encapsulating a rich legacy to the times.
The road from Jhansi to Orchha is really comfortable and quite colourful, thanks to the trees on the sidelines.
A big entry gate from the Municipal Corporation welcomes you to the town of Shri Ramaraja Sarkar.
As you approach towards the town, you can’t miss appreciating the architectural beauty of ancient buildings. You get a genuine feeling of travelling across the ruins of an ancient civilisation as you move across the city. Moving closer to the temple area, you are welcomed by the authentic ancient gate to the town.
Well, our first stop to the small trip was the Raja Ram Temple. It is the center around which the life of Orchha revolves. This is the only temple in India where Lord Ram is worshiped as a king and that too in a palace. It has a square building, tiled with marble and the temple in pink and yellow colors, gives a bright look. Just a small tip for travellers, it is a strict no for photography inside.
There are 14 Chhatris or Memorials to the rulers of Orchha, grouped along the Kanchan Ghat of the river Betwa on the south end of town.
While you climb anyone of these Chhatries, you can see the entire town from the top. The scenes give the idea of being in a lost era which was once ruled by kings.
One may cross the river Betwa to go to the rest of the town through a single-lane small bridge which can accommodate just a single car on either of the sides.
Across the other side of the river is the Orchha sanctuary which once used to be hunting grounds of the royal family and also housed tigers. The scene today is just a dry stretch where you might get to see a Nilgai or fox if the luck favors you.
So, with this, we just got a call from Jhansi to get back soon else we might miss few ceremonies. So, this marked an end to our tiny trip to Orchha.
Orchha has not been much on the toursits’ maps or wishlists , but certainly, it has had a tiny bit of limelight when Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachhan had shot here for Raavan. Katrina Kaif has also shot here for ‘AamSutra’ Mango slice advertisement with the town presenting an ancient background.
While it was certainly easy for me to make an unplanned visit to the ancient town of Orchha, it is not tough either to visit the town otherwise too. Located on Agra-Khajuraho route, Orchha is 460 kilometres away from Delhi, hence roughly 10 hours drive.
Alternatively, one can just reach Jhansi through train which is a well-connection junction on railway network. Thereafter, you can travel by taxi, autos or other means of transport to reach Orchha. Orchha too has a railway station but not many trains make a stoppage here. The nearest airports to Orchha are located in Gwalior and Khajuraho.
Unlike the not-so-closer metropolitan distances, every place in the town of Orchha is just a walk away. A visit to the town will make you listen to the silence the ancient era and get you more close to the forgotten tales of those times.