Orchha: A complex of Indian forts | A Complete Travel Guide

Table of Contents

  1. About
  2. History
  3. Hidden Facts
  4. Best Places to See
  5. Best Time to visit
  6. Things to do
  7. Best Place to eat
  8. Best Places to stay

About Orchha

Orchha is a historical town in India, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. It lies on the banks of the Betwa River, in the Niwari district, 15KM from Jhansi and 80KM from Tikamgarh. The town is flanked by a river on one side and the Betwa forest on the other, with rocky rolling hills on the outer edges. The Betwa River splits into seven smaller streams, locally called the Satdhara, which adds to the scenic natural beauty of the region.

A land sitting on a rugged but beautiful landscape, this historical kingdom is dotted with palaces, ancient temples, intricate classic architecture, world-renowned murals and frescoes. From its natural environment to the old-world charm, everything about this place attracts tourists and travellers of all kinds.

What is Orchha famous for?

Orchha used to be a city of the royals in the 16th and 17th centuries, who left their architectural imprints in the numerous palaces, mansions, temples, and monuments. Some of them lie in ruins, while others are preserved by the MP Tourism Orchha as heritage sites. It rose to fame, mostly because of the Orchha Fort, which sits on a seasonal river island in the middle of the Betwa River. The massive palace fort is surrounded by a battlement wall and enshrines several buildings within, each constructed at a different time across history. Some of the most popular tourist places here like the Ram Raja Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Jahangir Mahal, are examples of ancient Indian architectural wonder.

The town is known for its historical landmarks and the antiquity which invites history and art lovers from all around.

History of Orchha

Video Credits: Madhya Pradesh Tourism

Orchha is said to be founded in 1531, by Raja Rudra Pratap Singh, a Bundela chieftain. He turned the small settlement into the administrative capital of the eponymous princely state. He was the first king of Orchha and also the first one to establish the Orchha Fort. The Bundelas ruled most parts of central India from here as their seat of power for over 200 years. This was the most glorious time when there was a widespread investment in art and architecture, civic constructions and planning. Some traces of the past grandeur remain scattered across the town and in the neighbouring districts. When the Mughals acquired Orchha, they further added to the cityscape with their signature architecture, which only led to making this town a work of enchanting artistry.

[Also Read: Explore Madhya Pradesh]

Interesting Facts about Orchha

Here are a few interesting facts and trivia about Orchha, that might intrigue you more to visit the town-

  • The name Orchha (locally called Urchha) is translated as “hidden”. It was an undiscovered territory, which Raja Rudra Pratap Singh unravelled and shaped into his capital.
  • The centre of Bundelkhand was considered to be the most powerful and influential kingdom of its time.
  • It is the only place in India, after Ayodhya, where Ram is revered as the eternal king, surpassing his human form. The Raja Ram Temple was built to commemorate his divinity.
  • Its architecture is a fantastic blend of Rajputana style and Indo-Islamic style, which is not easily obvious but can be determined from the carvings and construction methods.

[Also Read: Khajuraho Group of Monuments – The Complete Travel Guide]

Famous Forts in Orchha

The forts, palaces, and mansions are some of the best tourist places to visit and explore.

Orchha Fort complex

Orchha Fort Complex
  • How to Reach – The fort complex lies within walking distance from the city bus station. You can easily walk through the city and cross the stone bridge on the river to reach the fort.
  • Timings – 9AM-6PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 10, INR 25 for the camera, INR 100 for light and sound show (INR 50 for children).
  • Time Required – 2-3 Hours
  • Tips – Don’t miss the light and sound show held every evening after sunset.

Orchha Raja Mahal

  • How to Reach – The palace is located within walking distance from the city bus station. You can include this in your Orchha Fort tour or visit separately.
  • Timings – 9AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 5, INR 25 for camera
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Enjoy the sunset views from the top.

Orchha Jahangir Mahal

Orchha Jahangir Mahal
  • How to Reach – The palace is located within walking distance from the city bus station. You can include this in your Orchha Fort tour.
  • Timings – 9AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee – INR 5
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – You can also take a walk around the surrounding wooded areas or the river banks.

Rani Mahal

  • How to Reach – The mansion is located at 3KM from the city bus station and near ISKCON temple. You can take an auto or a local cab to reach.
  • Timings – 7AM-5.30PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Don’t miss a tour of the Darbar Hall, replete with awe-inspiring paintings and murals.

Places to visit in Orchha

Besides all historical landmarks, there are a few visiting places that are a must-see –

Orchha wildlife sanctuary

Orchha wildlife sanctuary
  • How to Reach – The sanctuary lies at 2.2KM from the Orchha Fort. You can take a local auto or book a cab to travel and return. Or, you can also walk through the city for 25minutes to reach.
  • Timings– 10.30 AM-5.30 PM, closed on Sundays
  • Entry Fee – INR 15
  • Time Required – 3-4 Hours
  • Tips – You can also try fishing, camping, canoeing, and jungle trekking within the sanctuary.

Chaturbhuj temple Orchha

Chaturbhuj temple Orchha
  • How to Reach – This famous temple is located opposite Orchha Fort, about 15KM from the city bus station. You can include this in your fort tour or take an auto or local taxi from the bus station to reach.
  • Timings – 9AM-5PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours
  • Tips – Don’t miss the sunset views from the viewing point of the temple, for great views of the surrounding landscape.

Ram Raja Temple

Ram Raja Temple
  • How to Reach – This famous temple is located within the Raja Mahal of Orchha Fort, and 15KM from the city bus station. You can take an auto or taxi from the bus station, or include this in your fort tour.
  • Timings – 8AM-12.30PM, 5PM-10PM
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – Less than 1 hour
  • Tips – Visit Ram Navami to experience the local traditions and celebrations.

Things to do in Orchha

Betwa River in Orchha

Apart from the palatial structures and historical buildings, this magnificent place also includes some interesting things and activities you can do –

Take an art tour, exploring the antique murals within the Raja Mahal or the frescoes in the Jahangir Mahal.

Have a relaxing day by the banks of the Betwa River, take a walk along the rocky shores or watch the sunset. You can also try river rafting or kayaking on the river when the water level rises after the rains.

Trek through the Orchha Natural Reserve situated on the river island between Betwa and Jamni rivers. The 12KM long nature trail along the two famous Orchha rivers, dotted with native flora and fauna is an enriching experience.

Go on a shopping spree for local goods, antique items, paintings, or traditionally handcrafted souvenirs like Dokra and Bastar.

Dokra
[Also Read: All you need to know about Sanchi Stupa UNESCO Site]

Best time to visit Orchha

Being a landlocked town, and surrounded by a hilly plateau, the weather here is very dry. Summers are hot and harsh while winters are chilly but pleasant. Hence the colder months, between November and February, are the best time to visit when the temperature is comfortable to explore outdoors.

[Also Read: All you need to know about Bhimbetka UNESCO Site]

Best Orchha Hotels & Resorts

Most resorts here are either old mansions/palaces turned into hotels or designed keeping the antique theme in mind. Check out these hotels for your stay –

  • Hotel Bundelkhand Riverside
  • Orchha Resort
  • Amar Mahal Orchha Hotel
  • Orchha Palace Hotel & Convention Center
  • Raj Mahal The Palace
  • MPT Betwa Retreat
  • MPT Sheesh Mahal Orchha
[Also Read: Gwalior: A Home to Most Beautiful Palaces, Temples and Forts]

Places to eat in Orchha

Try out some of these best restaurants to sample the local flavours –

  • Orchha Hut Restaurant
  • Café NoMads Orchha
  • Betwa Tarang
  • Bundeli Restaurant & Tea Café
  • Organic Food Restaurant Orchha
  • The Jharokha Restaurant

How to reach Orchha

By Train

Orchha has its railway station but there’s no direct rail connectivity to the town from other major cities. The nearest railway junction is in Jhansi, about 18KM away. You can take an auto, bus, or book a cab from Jhansi to reach here.

By Road

Orchha is well-connected by road to Jhansi, Gwalior, and other major cities in Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring states. There are regular state-run and private buses from Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Agra, etc. Jhansi is the nearest bus station. You can also book a cab or rent a private car from any of these cities to reach here via NH44.

By Flight

There is no direct flight connectivity to Orchha. The nearest airport is in Gwalior, about 140KM away. The next closest airstrip is at Khajuraho Airport, about 143 away. From either of these places, you can book an airport taxi or hire a car to reach here.

Download our Savaari car rental app for a smooth and pleasant journey. 

A quick summary
Orchha: A complex of Indian forts | A Complete Travel Guide
Article Name
Orchha: A complex of Indian forts | A Complete Travel Guide
Description
Orchha is a historical town in India, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. It lies on the banks of the Betwa River, in the Niwari district, 15KM from Jhansi and 80KM from Tikamgarh.
Author
Brand
Savaari Car Rentals
Logo

About the author

An engineer by degree, a writer by passion, I’m a lover of fiction, classics and Shah Rukh Khan. When I’m not busy challenging the status quo, one word at a time, I fancy reading, shoe-hoarding and petting my cat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *