We visited, a small, charming town of Orchha, where most travelers make a short stop to break the long drive to the magnificent temple town of Khajuraho. What makes it worth a stop for many are its grand temples as well as its medieval forts and palaces built in the 16th and 17th centuries by Bundela dynasty.
However, we were feeling so “templed-out” by the time we got here and didn’t feel like dragging ourselves to any kind of ancient ruins. Besides, we wanted to reserve some of our remaining “temple energy” for Khajuraho’s greater and more ancient temples, which were the reasons for our travel in this central region of India in the first place.
As we entered the town, we were charmed by the sight of people bathing in Betwa River. We decided that we would rather explore the town itself and see more of its local scenes than its temples, fort and palaces. From here, we were satisfied just to have a glimpse of the town’s famous Ram Raja Temple across the river.
It was a wedding season in India. We chanced upon this wedding reception under a tent and it struck us how miserable the bride and groom looked. We learned that it was a typical arranged marriage and they were probably meeting each other for the first time.
We came across the town’s bazaar where there were many stalls selling colorful dyes.
Right behind the bazaar is a magnificent Chaturbhuj Temple, a non-working temple. It was built in the 1500’s to house the statue of Lord Rama. According to legend, as the idol was being transported to the temple it got stucked at one place and couldn’t be moved. People took it a sign that the statue wanted to stay at that place and decided to build a temple around where it was. That temple is Ram Raja, the temple in the first photo.
We went inside the empty temple just to see the view from above and found a lovely view of the town’s fort (left). We also met some lovely children who were running around the temple and who happily posed for us (right).
Here comes the groom accompanied by drums and male entourage. He didn’t look too happy; we wondered if his was an arranged marriage, too.
Sadhus are widely revered for their holiness. Hindus believe that the holy practices of the sadhus help to burn off their karma and that of the community at large. As they are believed to benefit society, sadhus are supported by donations from many people.
We saw a film documentary years ago where we where learned that widows in India were ostracized in the society a long time ago. We were surprised that this sad fate of the widows still exists today in parts of India. Widows are considered a financial burden to their families. Cast out of their homes, they live the rest of their lives in poverty and isolation.
We were happy with our decision to skip the temples, forts and palaces of Orchha. We may not see the relics of the grandeur of its bygone era, but we were sure glad to see the rythymn of life of its present. The walk around its town was certainly a very rewarding experience. I hope you enjoyed the walk with us.