The Splendour of Orccha

In the long dark winter of 2009 while returning from Kanyakumari (where I was born) to Lucknow (Where I now live)we had to break Journey at Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh for 2 days. Looking for ways to pass the time we heard that the ancient city built by the kings of Bundelkhand was nearby. The city is called Orchha.


Orccha is located in the Madhya Pradesh side of Bundelkhand on the Betwa river about 15 kms from the famous junction of Jhansi – so if you ever get to see Jhansi don’t miss this town. Khajuraho is pretty close but might take an extra day.Orccha it is said was founded by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap who built his capital here. It seems this town and neighboring Datia were the only Bundela towns that were not defeated by the Mughals during their invasion. Rudra Pratap chose this site for the town as it was not easily approachable – the name Orccha means Hidden.


The Orccha fort complex consists of the Sheesh Mahal which has been taken over by MP tourism which maintains premium accommodation there (You get to stay in the same bed room as the Mughal Emperor Jahangir did – I did ask an American tourist there how the rooms were. She said it was wonderful.), The raja Mahal which was the original palace built by Rudra Pratap. The palace is divided into tow wings and 5 floors (one long climb to the top – worth the view as you get a birds eye view of the Beta from the top) and has a lot of original paintings depicting the lives of Lord Rama and Krishna.


The Jahangir Mahal was built exclusively for King Jahangir and consists of exquisite carvings, sculptures and paintings and a central ribbed dome. Some of the original coloured tiles are visible even today.





The Dauji ki Kothi is located to the south of the Jahangir mahal and is the residenc of the ministers and court staff of the king. Here also exquisite carvings and neatly adorned gates can be seen.



Orccha has a rich and splendid heritage. The Chatrubhuj temple is located just across the betwa from the fort. The temple has an interesting story. It seems Lord Ram appeared in dream of the then ruler Madhukar Shah. The ruler subsequently brought an idol of Lord Ram and placed it in the Raja Ram temple (A castle then) before installing it into a temple. However, when the time of installation approached, the idol refused to move from its present place.The Chaturbhuj temple in Orchha was the original destination of the idol of Lord Ram.

Orchha is easily approachable due to its proximity to Jhansi. However apart from the Orccha Resort and the MP Tourism Sheesh Mahal, economy accommodation is more or less available only in Jhansi. Licensed guides are available at the gate entrance. During offseason rates can be negotiated with them. Most of the guiding is done in Hindi and English speaking guides may not be available. My post on the Jhansi Fort is still in the making and will be posted soon.


  • Nice small post.
    Pictures are neatly taken and looks good.
    Waiting for ur post on Jhansi Fort.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Patrick,

    A very informative write- up for the followers Ghumakkar.

    It will be great if the size of the picture could be bigger with captions.

    I had been to Jhansi many time when I was based at kanpur & handling eastern UP region Sales. Visited Jhansi fort couple of times but never had been to Orccha.

  • Vishal says:

    Thanks for the informative article!

    I think this is where Kata Kata song from Mani Ratnam’s next Raavan (starring Abhishek-Aishwarya) was picturized. Can’t wait to see this mahal on screen now!

  • Orccha evokes some good old memories, so its always good to read about it again and again :-)

  • Patrick says:

    Thanks everyone. Orccha was actually a trip I made by coincidence. I plan one day to drive down to Jhansi – Orccha – Kajuraho – Panna and back. Don’t when, but I hope to make it happen.
    @ Mahesh
    Point taken about the photos. will try and edit.

    • Pavit says:

      I did drive down Jhansi Orccha Kajuraho Panna, though a long time ago, and it was definitely worth it. Out of all these places, I had the most peaceful time in Orccha. One thing you have missed out mentioning are chhatris on the banks of the Betwa. Really beautiful to see the rising sun transform them into gold!

      • patrick says:

        Yes i have heard that the Chattris are very beautiful. Unfortunately it was a foggy day and I couldn’t get a good shot of them from afar and lack of time to go close up.

  • nandanjha says:

    The other Patrick – It might appear a little rushed post to readers who have been your fans :-).

    I have been to Orchha twice but didn’t know the meaning of the word. First was in 2002 or 2001 and the second was in 2008. A lot has changed during this time.

    Have they started the sound-n-light show ? Its a calm-n-quiet place. Would want to go there again, and preferably in a non-touristy time.

    looking fwd to read about Fort.

    • Patrick says:

      @ Nandan
      Yes it does look rushed doesnt it!! Well I had only a day and since it was winter I had to get the wife and kid back to the hotel before the cold really set in.

      I did make enquiries about the S & L show. I read somewhere here in Ghumakkar that a sound and light show in both hindi and english was available in Orccha as well as Jhansi. However I was told in Orccha that there was no regular show and in Jhansi there was only the Hindi edition and that too on a minimum number of people in the audience.

  • rahul says:

    Hey….been posted in jhansi for the last couple of years n would just like to reconfirm what patrick has written bout ORCHA ….if one ever gets a chance , its a perfect getaway for a weekend – there are other places of interests adjoinin Orcha as well like datiya and baruasaagar ….will put up the pics !!

  • Arvind says:

    I would say “lost splendour” since these are palace ruins unlike the palaces of Amber or Jaipur. For a taste of Hindu palaces of medieval India, Orchha is an architectural treasure. Don’t miss the wonderful wall and ceiling paintings at the Laxminarayana Temple or the cenotaphs by the river.

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