Orchha is one of those few tourist destinations in India that will enamour you with its sheer simplicity. A small town located on the banks of river Betwa in Madhya Pradesh, Orchha has a distinct rustic feel which thankfully has not yet been destroyed by the ills of commercialization. Orchha was not a highly popular tourist destination in the past and that has helped it retain its old world charm. However, things have changed in the past few years and the small little town has become a standard stopover point for tourists visiting other destinations in Madhya Pradesh.
We visited Orchha for two days during our trip to Khajuraho. The good thing about Orchha is that it’s a small little town and can be easily explored in a day. Almost all places of tourist interest in the town are located quite close to each other and one can easily cover them on foot. Both me and my wife explored the entire city on foot as it gave us an interesting peek into the vibe of the city.
Orchha – Quick Facts
Orccha is located at a distance of 15 kilometers from Jhansi. You can either – take a train to Jhansi and from thereon take a taxi/auto to reach Orccha or drive down directly in your private car. Orchha is also well connected by roads from all major North Indian cities.
A lot of tourists, also visit Orccha on their way back from Khajuraho. If you have time by your side, it’s a good idea to combine your trip of Orccha with Khajuraho. We too planned our trip in the same fashion.
Orccha – Things to do
Visit the magnificent Orchha Fort – The Orccha fort is home to three magnificent palaces built over the years. These include Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mahal and Rai Praveen Mahal. Of these, the Jahangir Mahal, apparently built in honour of Mughal Emperor Jahangir is the grandest.
It is a large fort and I suggest you to allocate 4-5 hours to explore it in full. We spent an entire afternoon in the exercise followed by the sound & light show in the evening which I recommend everyone to attend. It provides a brief history of Orchha over the various ages and has been created well.
Explore the Cenotaphs (Chattris) of Royal Kings – The most visited and photographed monuments, the cenotaphs of Orchha were built during the medieval period in memory of the various kings that ruled the region. The location of these cenotaphs or ‘chattris’ right on the banks of the Betwa river provide them a unique visual appeal. I would strongly recommend everyone to get a view of these cenotaphs from the other side of the river in the evening with the setting sun as a background. The scenic view is surreal.
Sit on the banks of river Betwa – The river Betwa that flows through Orchha has some really nice scenic spots to sit and experience the surroundings. We experienced a sunset sitting idle on its banks and simply experiencing the sights around. If you are a city dweller, spending an hour or two on the banks of the river can be a therapeutic experience.
Visit Raja Ram Mandir – Orchha is the only place I have been to, where Lord Ram is worshipped not as a God, but as a king. There are several versions for this. Some told us that the area fell under Lord Ram’s kingdom in ancient times, some refer that this place was ruled by his in-laws (father of his wife) amongst others. Whatever may be the case, a visit to the temple is a must if you are in the city
River Rafting at Betwa River – We saw a few people engaging in this activity. However, we were not quite interested as the objective of our trip was different. Also, the idea did not seem quite exciting as it was not a place known for rafting unlike Rishikesh. If you still want to engage in this activity, you can contact the local MPTDC hotel – Betwa Retreat in advance that conducts these rafting trips.