Orchha-where Lord Rama refused to change His residence
Orchha is a historical place in Madhya Pradesh, India. Once the capital of the powerful Bundela kings, Orchha has many tourist attractions which draws thousands of tourists, both from the country & abroad. Orchha is situated on the bank of the sacred river BETWA (Betrabati in the scriptures). The beautiful river, with numerous bouldrers & rocks in its bed, can be crossed by an ancient (16th century A.D.) arched stone bridge which itself is an ancient engineering marvel.
The main places of tourist attraction are the Royal Palace, The Jehangir Mahal, Rai Parveen Mahal & the two awe-inspiring temples -- the RAMRAJA temple & the CHATURVUJA temple.
The Royal Palace or the Raj Mahal was built by King Madhukar Shah in between 1531-1545 A.D., a contemporary of Emperor Akbar. It is famous for its cenotaphs (locally called Chhatris) & beautiful murals on the exterior.
The Jehangir Mahal,an imposing structure with stupendous structural beauty, was built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in 1620 A.D. to commemorate the visit of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir. A huge building with awesome art works , it leaves the spectators widely gaping in awe. In one portion (Sheesh Mahal) of this palace a hotel is opened in recent times.
The Rai Parveen Mahal, which close to the Jehangir Mahal, is said to be built by King Indramani in 1670 A.D. for his favourite concubine Rai Parveen.
The Ram Raja temple , situated opposite to the Jehangir Mahal, is the most important temple in Orchha, dedicated to Lord Rama . The temple is unique in the sense that it is the only temple in India where Lord Rama is worshipped as a king (Raja), & that too in a palace. It was built by King Madhukar Shah. The idol of Lord Rama was brought from Ajodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama. There is a legend about this idol & its placement here. It is believed that the idol was brought in Orchha to be placed in the nearby Chaturvuja temple, also built by King Madhukar Shah in 16th century A.D. But as the later temple was not fully finished to receive the idol, it was kept temporarily in the queen's palace. When the Chaturvuja temple was finally ready, Lord Rama refused to leave the palace & dictated His wish through dreams to the ing & the queen. Madhukar Shah then decided to convert the palace into a temple & the idol was placed there permanently. The palace-turned temple is thus not alike any temple in India. The exquisitely ornated palace-temple is extra-ordinarily beautiful with the idol of Lord Rama dressed in a royal manner. Thosands of devotees throng the temple daily.
The Chaturvuja temple is a massive temple built originally for Lord Rama by King Madhukar Shah , but when Lord Rama supposedly refused to stay here, it was converted into a temple of Vishnu, the four armed deity,of the Trinity of Hinduism (actually, Lord Rama is considered as an Avatar of lord Vishnu). A massive temple built on a raised stone platform, with high spires rising to the heaven, this is what the common tourists feel as the most eye-catching of all the temples of Orchha. A massive & steep staircase leads to the main entrance. Inside, there is a large space like a cross, where the devotees can gather to watch the deity. With airy interior & plenty of natural light, this temple has somewhat unique ambience compared to the common Hindu temples.
A little distance away from these two temples is the sacred river Betwa. The bathing areas (ghats) are reasonably clean with the crystal clear water of Betwa running swiftly. The scenic beauty of the place is unbelievable.
Orchha is really a nice place to visit.