Nature walks: Walk in the forest and fishing - Across the river from the verandah (sit out) can be seen what used to be the largest forest in the former Princely State of Orchha. The forest surrounds the confluence of the River Jamni and Betwa rivers and includes several riverine islands. In the past, the Betwa River supported seasonal sport fishing for the great Indian Mahaseer, and still hosts a number of fish and turtle species.
Wild animal spotting and bird watching - The Orchha Sanctuary is roughly 25 kms long and 15 kms wide. The original forest was covered with Dhawa and Kardhai trees (both Anogeissus spp.). In the 1940's, Maharaja Sir Vir Singh Deo Bahadur (1930-1956) undertook a large plantation of Teak trees (species Tectona grandis ) which can still be seen. This forest was an unspoilt natural habitat for a large variety of wildlife and still has Wild boar, Langur, Blue Bull (Nilgai), Sloth Bear and over 200 species of birds. It was a natural hub for the tiger and the last tigers were seen in the forest in the years before 1970. Trails are being developed in the Sanctuary for walking/driving in the interior and by the banks of the Jamni and Betwa rivers. A morning's walk can yield 200 bird species in this forest/river ecosystem.
Boating, Canoeing, and river rafting - The Bundelkhand Riverside hotel has its own boats and canoes to experience the majestic Betwa River and the architectural splendour of Orchha. River Rafting on the waters of the Betwa can be organized.
Fairs and Festivals - Besides Holi and Deepavali the following fairs and festivals are celebrated at Orchha with much pomp and show. Guests are cordially invited to be part of these celebrations:
Ram Raja Temple - is the palace of Raja Madhukar Shah where the icon of Lord Ram was brought from Ayodhya by Maharani Ganesh Kunwar. The temple is an archetypal palace with pillared arcades. It has a rectangular courtyard with parabolic arches. (closed during the afternoon)
Chaturbhuj Temple - was built by Raja Bir Singh Deo constructed to enshrine the image of Lord Rama (Incarnation of Vishnu) that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Cuniform in plan it is the combination of temple and palace architecture. The main temple has a Grabha Griha( Sanctum Sanctorum) housing the image. From the top of the temple one can see the Ram Raja temple and Sawan Bhadon Towers.
Laxmi Narayan Temple - The temple is on an elevation and built on a rectangular plan by Vir Singh Deo in 1622 A.D. and renovated by Prithvi Singh.The golden image of the Goddess Lakshmi was taken away by Malhar Rao Holkar and replaced by images of Radha and Krishna.The wall paintings in the Lakshmi Narayan Temple are worth a visit and depict scenes from the epics and even the 1857 uprising with scenes of battles between the Rajputs and the British army.
Chhatris (Cenotaphs) - to Orchhas rulers are down by the Betwa River. The principal Chhatris is that of Maharaja Bir Singh Deo from the 17th century. It is a magnificient structure on the banks of the river Betwa and is now in a state of disrepair. Cenotaphs of other rulers and queens are alongside this one.
Jahangir Mahal - is an impressive Palace with a small archaeological museum on the ground floor. It is common falicy that it was constructed for the reception of the emperor Jahangir and thus got its name. The mason mark in the courtyard dates back to 1586 A.D.The Fort of Orchha has 3 Palaces - the Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mandir and Sheesh Mahal and also the Haveli and Garden of Rai Praveen who was an accomplished courtesan in the reign of Raja Madhukar Shah.
The Phool Bagh (Formal Garden) - has a Baradari in honour of Diwan Hardaul, who was poisoned by Rani of Raja Jujhar Singh, his brother. The Phool Bagh also has the Badgir Sawan Bhadon Towers. These cooling towers, which caught the prevailing wind, came to Orchha from their origin in Yazd in Iran.
Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.*
To visit all the monuments tickets can be bought at the Fort, Orchha.
Sound and Light or Son et lumiere Show at Raja Mahal, Fort, Orchha*
Kindly recheck with the concierge for updated timings
Panna Tiger Reserve (174 km) - Panna is famous for tiger, leopard, spotted deer, sambhar deer, chinkara, wild boar and other mammals including over 300 species of birds. The Ken River flows through this beautiful park and is home to the long snouted crocodile (Gharial) and Marsh Crocodile (Mugger). The reserve is dotted with ancient rock paintings.
Gwalior (118km) - Is known for Gwalior Fort, Jain sculptures, Teli- Ka- Mandir and Man Singh Palace. The Gwalior fort stands majestically on a hill. The Mughals held the fort till Mahaji Rao Scindia established himself in 1784 A.D. The fort was built by the Raja Man Singh in the 15th century and has bands of glazed ceramic tiles adorning the facade.
Khajuraho (168km) - Once a great Chandela capital, Khajuraho is now a World Heritage Site for its temples built between A.D. 950 to 1050 and is known to be one of the largest groups of Medieval Hindu and Jain Temples. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern and are made of sandstone.
Datia (46km) - The Fort of Bir Singh Deo which is the twin of the Orchha Fort was built in 1626 A.D. The Datia Fort is called Gobind Mandir and was built after Jahangir Mahal with a central tower. Peetambra Peeth a famous Shaktipitha is located in Datia and houses the temples of Buglamukhi Devi and Dhumavati Mai.
Sonagir (56km) - Is known for Jain temples (about 12 km from Datia). There are 101 White Temples, 77 of them are located in the hills and 26 in the village. Temple 57 is the main temple and a tall statue of Lord Chandraprabhu is housed within the temple.
Jhansi (18km) - Is famous for its Fort built in 1613 A.D. by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha and Rani Mahal, the former Palace of Rani Lakshmibai which is now a museum containing hundreds of sculptures. The fort is built on a hilltop. 10 prominent gates give access to the fort these are Datia Darwaza, Unnao Gate, Khanderao Gate, Sagar Gate, Orchha Gate, Sainyar Gate, Laxmi Gate, Jharna Gate and Chand gate.
Shivpuri (104 km) - Is the old summer capital of the Scindias. Shivpuri is known for Chhatris (tombs) and the Madhav National Park. The park has Chinkaras, Indian gazelle, Nilgai, Chausingha or four-horned Antelope and Sloth Bear among many others. The Madhav Vilas Palace is rose pink in colour and reflects colonial architecture. The Chhatris or cenotaphs of Madho Rao Scindia and his wife are beautifully embellished marble structures.
Garh Khundar (30 km) - Known for its Fort on top of the hill and a lake built by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo of Orchha. It is in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh.