Orchha's 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 temples of Khajuraho are India's unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman's artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.
The Khajuraho temples were built in the short span of a hundred years, from 950-1050 A.D. in a truly inspired brust of creativity. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world's great artistic wonders. The creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon and the legend behind the founding of this great dynasty and the temples is a fascinating one. Hemwati, the lovely young daughter of a Brahmin priest, was seduced by the moon-god while bathing in a forest pool. The child born of this union was seduced by the moon-god while bathing in a forest pool. The child born of this union was Chandravarman, founder of the Chandela dynasty. Brought up in the forests by his mother who sought refuge from a censorious society, Chandravarman, when established as a ruler, had a dream-visitation from his mother. It is said that she implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so, bring about a realisation of the emptiness of human desire. It is also possible that the Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult, which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the infinite liberation of nirvana.
Architecturally too, they are unique, being very different from the temple prototype of their period. Each stands on a high masonry platform with a marked upward direction in the structure, further enhanced by vertical projections to create the effect of grace and lightness. Each of the chief compartments is mounted by its own roof, grouped so that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico; a highly imaginative recreation of the rising peaks of the Himalayas abode of the gods.
|Area||:||16.93 sq km|
|Temperature||:||Summer 34°C Max 23°C Min
Winter 21°C Max 13°C Min
|Season||:||July to March|
|Average rainfall||:||40 inches|
|Clothing||:||Light Cottons, Winter: Light woollen|
|Average Rainfall||:||114 cm|
|Language||:||Hindi & English|
Regular services link Khajuraho with Delhi, Agra and Varanasi.
The nearest rail heads are Harpalpur (94 km) and Mahoba (61 km). Jhansi (172 km) is a convenient rail head for those travelling from Delhi and Madras; Satna (117 km), on the Mumbai-Allahabad line.
Khajuraho is connected by regular buses with Satna, Harpalpur, Jhansi and Mahoba.