Friday, August 8, 2014


Day 23 Khajaraho to Orccha

Distance 200  km

Road Condition: Decent to Good.

True to it's name, Orccha is a hidden jewel of MP, quite literally, there are absolutely no sign boards and we had to stop multiple times to check if we were heading in the right direction despite using Maps. This small town packs a punch and keeps tourists busy for a couple of days.

Orccha is way off the tourist radar, the place offers stunning view of Chattris, river rafting in Betwa, Raja Ram Temple with an astounding story, Laxminarayan Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple, beautifully planned and exquisitely built Fort - housing Jehangir Mahal, Raja Mahal, Rai Praveen Mahal.

View Of Orccha From Lakshmi Narayana Temple
Raja Ram Temple: This Palace turned temple has a fascinating story to say. The statue of Lord Rama was brought from Ayodhya to Orccha by Ganesh Kuanwari. The temple still being under construction, the deity was placed in the palace kitchen. Upon completion of the temple they tried to move the idol but in vain. Thus a new temple was built around the idol. This is the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshiped as King.

Palace Turned Temple
Make yourself available here at 8 pm to witness the evening Aarti. The temple premises is buzzing with activities and you can capture sadhus doing what they do best. Camera and leather belts are strictly prohibited inside the temple premises and there are no safe deposit box or cloakrooms.

Chattris: Built along the banks of Betwa river, stands tall the burial place of the Bundela rulers. The narrow passages lead to the first and second storey offering breathtaking view of Orccha. The view of the Chattris from the 'Sunset Point' across Betwa river is stunning.

These monuments are now shelter to vultures. Maintain absolute silence and be sure not to disturb them as they may take flight. This is one of the very few places to get up close view of these critically endangered species. Gates open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, however the tickets have to be purchased from the ticket counter at the fort.

Right next to the Chattris by the river side are 2 monuments left in ruins, one of them seems to be an old Shiva temple. This 3 storeyed building has mysterious stairway leading to the upper floors. The higher the climb the better the view of the river, ruins & Chattris. Do watch out for bats & insects in the dark stairway.

It would be a good idea to visit these monuments early in the morning as plenty of beers bottles left behind suggest trouble mongers could be around after sunset.

Fort: The fort compound is the center of attraction in Orccha, home of magnificent and much talked about Jehangir Mahal built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th Century.

From Jehangir & Raja Mahal you get a breathtaking bird's eye view of Orccha. The mural painting in the palace and the views from Raja Mahal are so mesmerizing that you might lose track of time.

It is a long walk to the exit door which is the only way out and is closed at 5.30 pm. Be mindful of the time otherwise you might end up like us, trapped inside. In a much dramatic way, we had to scream our guts out to draw the attention of other tourists and finally got the authorities to unlock the door and get us out.

Our Gateway To Freedom
Sound and light show takes place here, there are 2 shows - 7.30 pm English & 8.45 pm Hindi. A part of the fort complex 'Sheesh Mahal' is now converted to a heritage hotel, owned and run by MPTDC.

Chaturbhuj Temple: Built upon a massive stone platform stands tall the stunning Chaturbhuj Temple initially built for Lord Ram. Steep steps lead you to the top of the monument and the view of the city is brilliant. You have a panoramic view of Jehangir Mahal, Raja Mahal, Chattris, Ram Raja Temple & Lakshmi narayana Temple.

There was a charming wedding processing going on with guys playing desi music on drums. The mood was electrifying and everyone around felt like they were a part of the Baraat.

Lakshmi Narayana Temple: Make it a point that you visit this temple to see the 2000 year old Mural wall paintings covering spiritual & secular concepts bringing the walls of the temple to life.

The weather gods were very kind to us. As a pleasant relief from the scorching sun, the sky turned gloomy, slight drizzle & strong winds brought down the mercury level drastically. Making the visit around these historic monuments very pleasant.

It was quite thrilling & exciting to drive on the narrow bridge that can accommodate only one heavy vehicle at a time.  A slip here or there you might end up in the bottom of the river. This narrow bridge is the lifeline connecting Orccha & Tekhmargh.

We checked into Bundelkhand Riverside, it is hard to believe this is not a heritage property. This charming property built on the banks of betwa river, takes you back in time. The switchboard, furniture, high rise ceiling with chandeliers, huge mirrors in hallway, beautiful paintings, old photographs, minute attention to detail makes this one of the best properties in Orccha. The rooms do not have TV sets but there is a common TV room. Property is absolute value for money, they provide complimentary breakfast.

Hotel offers swimming pool, open terrace, private entry to the river. The river facing rooms have great sit-out. The management organizes folk musical event in their lawn everyday. The service is outstanding - everybody is helpful and knowledgeable. They always greet you with a smile and exchange pleasantries. They stand as a fine example for hospitality industry.

After spending 3 beautiful days in Orccha, we left for Shivpuri.

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