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Orchha

Orchha prime grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. In this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection. Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatris. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacular. Complementing the noble proportions of their exteriors are interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela school of painting. In the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, vibrant murals encompassing a variety of religious and secular themes, bring the walls and ceilings to rich life.
The origin of the Bundela dynasty in the 11th century is traced to a Rajput prince who offered himself as a sacrifice to the mountain goddess Vrindavasini; she stopped him and named him ′Bundela′ (one who offered blood). The dynasty ruled over the area between the Yamuna and Narmada rivers. Garhkurar, once capital of the Bundela Rajas, fell to the Tughluqs just as that dynasty was weakening. Into the vacuum that they left, the Bundelas again expanded, moving their base to Orchha (meaning hidden). Raja Rudra Pratap threw a wall around the existing settlement and began work on the palace building (c. 1525-31) and an arched bridge to it. This was completed by his successor Bharti Chand (1531- 54) who was installed in the Raj Mahal withgreat ceremony.