The historic ensemble of Orchha

Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

The historic ensemble of Orchha is part of the Tentative list of India in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Orchha was the capital of the Bundela dynasty from 1531-1783. It has a huge palace-fort, consisting of several connected buildings erected at different times. Its three palaces show the distinct Bundeli architectural style. A particular form of garden design also developed here.

Map of The historic ensemble of Orchha

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Ralf Regele

Germany - 08-Oct-19 -

The historic ensemble of Orchha (T) by Ralf Regele

When making travel plans, Orchha might seem to be one of the lesser sightseeing spots of northern India - more temples and another palace of a dubious princely state. However, the lesser interest is actually the strongest point of Orchha - this is a place that is not yet overrun by tourist hordes, and still exhibits some of the old charm of India. The settlement at Orchha is more of a village than a city, despite the size of the ancient buildings. You can still rent a shaky bike and drive around the village streets, climb around in crumbling ruins of giant palaces, and watch the villagers wash their clothes in the river (and yes, probably your clothes, too, if you gave them away for washing at the hotel). It is still India, so there is dirt and poverty and cows and a lot of people. Don't expect any pastoral dreamland. The historic buildings are of impressive size: There's the palace area with three or four interconnected palaces, a huge ancient temple in the middle of the village, a triangle-shaped temple with nice wall paintings, and the oversized chhatri area close to the river. The Chhatris (large tomb buildings, complete with vultures) seem to be restored and have a nice garden area around them, but the other buildings are slowly falling apart and are in dire need of repair - which has its own charm.
In another nation, the sheer amount of historical buildings in Orchha would make it an easy recommendation for a WHS site. However, there are a lot of  palaces in northern India that compete for your attention. At the moment, the laid-back charm of the site distinguishes it from other sites, but this might change in the future. Orchha is not an insider secret - there are normal hotels and tourist groups already. I don't know if I really want Orchha to be a WHS site - it would certainly create more attention and a more touristic athmosphere.
Visited in November 2015.
Importance 3/5 Beauty 5/5 Uniqueness 4/5 Environment 4/5 Experience 5/5

Full Name
The historic ensemble of Orchha
Structure - Palace
2019 Added to Tentative List

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The historic ensemble of Orchha (T)
WHS 1997-2024