Orchha Trip

#1 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:01
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After seeing a few places in Gwalior and the Pitambari Peeth in Datia, we left for Orchha. We reached Orchha around 3:30 in the afternoon and started looking for rooms. First stop was at Ganpati Guest House, very near the market place. Here I was quoted a room for Rs 850/- with A/C, without TV. I asked for a room with TV to which the owner said none of the rooms have TV as the other guests (foreigners) tend to sleep early and do not want to be disturbed by the noise of the TV. Since I had my son with me and he is a big fan of cartoons on TV, we moved ahead. We went to Hotel Sunrise near Betwa river. Here we were again quoted Rs 850/- with A/C and TV. We then checked out Bhandari Guest House which is next to Sunrise. Here we were quoted Rs 700 for a room with Air Cooler. So after some deliberation we decided to stay in Sunrise. We opted for a room on the first floor. There are also rooms on the second floor which are far better and costlier than the ones on the first floor. After settling down and refreshing ourselves we went towards the Betwa river. There were many people near the river bathing, sitting and chatting. We walked on the bridge and had a good view of the Chattris across the river. The night was spent in the hotel.

The next day we left for Jhansi and came back to Orchha again at around 3:30 in the evening. After refreshing our selves we went to see the Chattris from close range. We wanted to see the garden inside the complex since it was recommended by the hotel guy. He informed us that the garden was renovated for some Hollywood movie shooting. Unfortunately it was closed and I could see just a part of the garden from a small opening in the wall. This scene which was captured in the camera will never be forgotten by a tough cookie, (I think) when it was posted in Where Was This Photo Taken thread here. The chattris are quite huge when you see them from close. I have seen other snaps where I could see vultures sitting on top of the structures. We were unfortunate not to see them. After seeing all the Chattris up close we again moved towards the river. We crossed the bridge and went near the grassland. We sat there for some time till it was the right time to take a few pictures of the sunset with the Chattris in the foreground. It was quite an amazing view which might not look the same in the snaps.

Chattri Up And Close
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Garden inside the Chattri Complex


Sunset From River


Sunset From River


Betwa River


The next morning our driver wanted to be relieved a bit sooner. So we had to alter our plan a bit. We first moved to the Laxmi Narayan temple which is atop a small hill from where you could see most of Orchha and their tourist spots. In this temple there is no idol, which was stolen by some thieves. The temple was also closed and a few cows were grazing there. The next halt was at the palace. Here we bid our driver good bye. After making the final payment for the vehicle the driver did not move. This, as most of you must know by now, was an indication that a tip was expected. I paid him Rs 500/- as tip (some might feel this was a too less) which he accepted hesitantly and drove off. We took the tickets for the entrance and as usual accosted by guides quoting Rs 200/- for a guided tour. We settled on Rs 100/- and our tour started with the Raja Mahal. Here there are a few places where there are excellent frescoes which unfortunately can not be captured on camera since flash photography is not allowed neither tripods are allowed. After spending some time at the Raja Mahal we moved to Jehangir Mahal, which was supposedly constructed by the king for Jehangir. It’s architecture is a mix on Indian and Mughal style. After spending some more time here, we moved on to the Chatturbhuj temple.

The Ghat At Betwa River


Laxmi Narayan Temple


View From Laxmi Narayan Temple


There is an amazing story related to this temple which was told to us by our guide. Thus goes the story. It was said that the queen was a big devotee of Lord Rama. It is said that once Lord Rama appeared in her dream and instructed her to carry an idol of him from Ayodhya to Orchha without setting it down. If she kept the idol down it would not budge from the spot. On waking up she informed the king about the dream. The king started building the Chatturbhuj temple while the queen herself went to Ayodhya to get a statue of him so that it could be installed in the Chatturbhuj temple. When she reached Orchha the temple was undergoing finishing touches and the queen being tired kept the idol at the palace kitchen. Once the temple was complete when the statue did not budge, it was decided to convert the kitchen to a temple. Thus that temple came to be known as the Ram Raja temple, the only one of its kind where Lord Rama is revered as a king. He also informed us that if we look at the Chatturbhuj temple we have to climb some stairs. The reason behind that was to keep the place where the idol was to be installed at the same height as the queen’s room so that the queen would be able to see the statue once she gets up in the morning. Another reason as to why the idol did not budge from the place where it was kept down is that Lord Rama knew that he would be placed in such a way that the queen could see him without her making an effort to come to the temple. If the idol did not budge from the resting place then the queen would have no option but to take some effort and come and see him daily. I do not know how much truth is there in this story. But the locals also vouch that story. We Indians do know how to tell a story and relate it to an incident.

Steps Of Chatturbhuj Temple
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The Chatturbhuj temple is a huge building with a huge area. There was no crowd inside the temple. Only a couple of men were sitting at an open space, the pujari and us. I did not know that one could climb up the temple and have an good view of the surroundings. We were unfortunate to miss that also. Since the temple could not be kept without an idol, the king installed an idol of Lord Vishnu with 4 hands, hence the name of the temple. After the Chatturbhuj temple the next halt was the Ram Raja temple. No camera and leather belts allowed inside the temple. You are inspected at the place where you leave your shoes. Even if request the shoe mender to let you pass, there are security guards at the temple entrance who literally check the belts before allowing you to pass. I had a tough time since I was wearing a loose jean. I had to literally hold my jeans and walk around in the temple. It is said that the last aarti at the temple is not to be missed which normally happens around 10:00 every day. When we were there it was some special day hence I avoided going to see the aarti and also I had some mixed reviews of the aarti at IM. Again the evening was spent at the river side. I saw a rafting boat being kept in the shed. I do not remember the rates now. I think it was Rs 800/- for a trip from the Chattris to Bundelkand Resort and back. It starts in the morning at around 11:00 till evening 5:00. It is for a duration of around 45 minutes.

Chatturbhuj Temple


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Resting Time


Ram Raja Temple


The next day was spent leisurely since we were doing some souvenir hunting at the shops in and around the temple complex. During this time I also took the opportunity to see the sawan badhon (wind catchers). We had asked the hotel guy to arrange for an auto to take us to Jhansi Station from where we took our train back home. The journey was around 45 minutes and cost us Rs 150/-

Added more images here.

Main thread
Last edited by aarosh; Oct 4th, 2012 at 16:39..
#2 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:06
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#2
Lovely report and superb pics Aarosh. Good to see that you too have joined the gang of travel writers.

Keep it up!

EDIT: Excellent compositions.
Travelpod / Flickr


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#3 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:10
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This is the 5th one snonymous. I have done one for Mount Abu / Ranakpur /Udaipur / Chittaurgarh, Bharatpur / Deeg, Fatehpur Sikri / Agra and one a relatively unknown place in Kolad.

There are 2 more which are pending which I will do it when I have sufficient time. This trip was completed in September 2011 and report in January 2012.
#4 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:32
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It's always tougher to write Aarosh. We visited Orchha in December 2009 and I've never had the motivation to write about it ... Good photos in your travelogue. It's also interesting to see how you took snaps of very different places within the same city which has probably 6-7 landmarks total. Half of my photos are of Jehangir Mahal (the symmetry drove me nuts and I just had to capture as many nooks as possible). OTOH I didnt take a single snap of RamRaja temple (!!) - I just didnt like the painted exterior i guess.

I do have photos of the elusive vultures you've mentioned though.

Did you eat at the tikki-walla in the main market? The little kid was wonderful there ... we still remember him.

thanks for putting this up - brought back fond memories.
#5 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post This is the 5th one snonymous. I have done one for Mount Abu / Ranakpur /Udaipur / Chittaurgarh, Bharatpur / Deeg, Fatehpur Sikri / Agra and one a relatively unknown place in Kolad.
Sorry, missed them. I dont really see the Rajasthan/UP sections unless they come up right in front.

Im surprised that I did not see the Kolad post, that is Kolad in Maharashtra right?
#6 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:41
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El Classico! I must admit that I didn't go through the entire trip report (I definitely will), but the the photos are just too good, aarosh! Fabulous photos...loved them!
#7 Jan 19th, 2012, 20:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post It's also interesting to see how you took snaps of very different places within the same city which has probably 6-7 landmarks total.
I do have photos of the elusive vultures you've mentioned though.
I have a few more snaps which were to be put up, but they are at home. So a few more snaps of the Raja Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Frescoes and the Wind Catchers are due. I have added a few more images to the trip report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Did you eat at the tikki-walla in the main market? The little kid was wonderful there ... we still remember him.
Though I love to eat outside stuff, my wife is not a big fan of outside stuff. So missed them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post thanks for putting this up - brought back fond memories.
It was my pleasure vaibhav.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snonymous View Post Im surprised that I did not see the Kolad post, that is Kolad in Maharashtra right?
Yes snonymous, the one in Maharashtra. One of my friend is a Deshpande and the Janani temple is considered to be their Kuldevi (Goddess of family (for members who do not understand Marathi / Hindi)). He visits this place during Navratri every year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagarneel View Post El Classico! I must admit that I didn't go through the entire trip report (I definitely will), but the the photos are just too good, aarosh! Fabulous photos...loved them!
It is a combination of some editing and the beauty of India. Thanks sagar.
#8 Jan 20th, 2012, 12:23
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#8

A Few More Images

Old man waiting for tourists on the bridge connecting the palace.


Smoking Sadhu on Betwa River Bank


Wind Catchers


Raja Mahal


Another View Raja Mahal


Jehangir Mahal


Raft


Palace from Chatturbhuj Temple


Chattris
Last edited by aarosh; Oct 4th, 2012 at 16:45..
#9 Jan 20th, 2012, 12:28
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#9
aarosh - I feel you have Jehangir Mahal and Raja Mahal switched (in the labeling above)?
#10 Jan 20th, 2012, 12:55
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As far as I recollect the labels are correct, since the snaps are arranged in sequence. The first palace that we saw was the Raja Mahal and after that we saw the Jehangir Mahal.
#11 Jan 24th, 2012, 13:53
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#11
Wonderful photos and interesting stories, aarosh.
#12 Jan 24th, 2012, 13:59
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Thank you TD. Wonderful places result in wonderful photos.
#13 Jan 31st, 2012, 12:10
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#13
Stunning photo's Aarosh!
And loved reading your post. We'll be visiting Orchha in April and am really looking forward to it now.
#14 Jan 31st, 2012, 13:43
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Orchha will be worth your time spent. How many days are you planning for Orchha?
#15 Feb 1st, 2012, 22:17
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#15
Wonderful report and photos aarosh!
Thanks for sharing.
I visited this place in 2009 but could not visit chattris..
Savage Garden

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