Orchha (or Urchha) is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The town was the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha lies on the Betwa River, 15 km. from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
Places of tourist interest
On a seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, which has been surrounded by a battlement wall, stands a huge palace-fort. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which are the Rajmandir and the Jahangir Mahal.
The Rajmandir is built on a square base and has an almost entirely plain exterior, relieved by projecting windows and a line of delicate domes along the summit. The Jahangir Mahal is built on a rectangular base and is relieved by a circular tower at each corner surmounted by a dome, while two lines of graceful balconies supported on brackets mark the central storeys. The roof is crowned by eight large fluted domes, with smaller domes between them, connected by an ornamental balustrade. The Jahangir Mahal is considered to be a singularly beautiful specimen of domestic Hindu architecture.
Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river. Elsewhere about the town there is an unusual variety of temples and tombs, including the Chaturbhuj temple, which is built on a vast platform of stone. The more unguarded and neglected of these buildings are popular hangouts for tropical bees, wasps, and other such excitable stingy creatures.
In 2006, Orchha's buildings were being documented by the LIK Team of IIT Roorkee, India
In 2008, a community radio station, Radio Bundelkhand was launched in Orchha. The radio station broadcasts programs daily in the Bundeli dialect and devotes significant amount of its broadcast time to local issues, culture and rich tradition of Bundeli folk music. The station is available on 90.4 MHz.
Shivpuri About 105km from Gwalior, Shivpuri – with Gwalior and Orchha – today forms part of the golden triangle of tourist destinations in MP.
For a small town, Shivpuri seems to have played, if not the lead, then at least a good character role in the history of MP.
Shivpuri, it seems, got its name thanks to the many temples dedicated to Lord Shiva (the destroyer of the Hindu Trinity of Gods) here. While that might be true, it is known that at one time it used to be called Sipri.
Abul Fazal has made a passing reference to it in his Ain-i Akbari. Apparently, in 1564, while returning from Mandu, Akbar stayed here to hunt the elephants in its jungles.
In the 17th century, by a curious twist of events, it came to be the jagir (estate) of the Narwar Kachhawahas. The Mughals, like most royalty, were plagued by the problem of too many claimants to the throne – and sometimes many promising candidates were in the fray together. When Shah Jahan, whose reign is hailed as the golden period of the Mughals, came to power his problem was his elder brother Prince Khusro.
Khusro had been the grand old Mughal, Akbar’s favourite grandson – in fact for a long time bets were on that Khusro would succeed Akbar instead of his son, Jahangir. An eventuality which Akbar’s sudden death prevented. Throughout his lifetime, Jahangir saw to it that Khusro never had any leisure for his thoughts to stray towards the throne.
When the time came for the next ruler to take charge, intrigue again won over hierarchy. After having put all his other brothers to bed, Shah Jahan started looking for Khusro.
Unfortunately for the king, his brother, being a very capable general and a popular hero, had a strong and loyal following and managed to elude him for a long time.
One of the people who went over to Khusro’s side was Amar Singh Kachhawaha of Narwar. When Khusro was finally captured and put to death, Amar Singh lost his estate. However as a special show of mercy later Sipri and Kolras were granted to him.