Orchha

Orchha princely state was under the Bundelkhand Agency of the British Raj in Central India. It was bounded on the north and west by the Jhansi District of the United Provinces; on the south by the Saugor District of the Central Provinces and by the States of Bijawar and Panna; and on the east by the States of Charkhari and Bijawar and by the Garrauli jagir. This state gave a marvellous piece of architecture such as Chaturbhuj temple and Raj Mandir. The state was the oldest and highest in rank of all the Bundela state. The state was entitled to 15 gun salutes by the British authority. It had an area of 2,080 square miles.

The Bundela chief, Rudra Pratap Singh established Orchha state and became its first ruler. He built the fort at Orchha on the bank of Betwa River. In 1531, he shifted his capital from Garhkundar to Tikamgarh. He was succeeded by his son Bharatichand. He died without any heir and so he was succeeded by his younger brother Madhukar Shah. The Orchha rulers had to resist attacks of Afghan Shah Suri and the Mughal Emperor, Akhbar. These attacks were noted by the poet Keshavdas and by Abu Fazl in Akbarnama.

Another important ruler, Vir Singh was a vassal of Mughal Empire. He assassinated Abu Fazl while returning from Deccan. He is described by one of the historians as, “the most famous and most powerful of all the Orchha Chiefs. A man of dashing personality, a great warrior and no scruples, a bold and organised administrator…..” He sponsored for temple construction in Mathura and Vrindaban. He built Phool Bagh garden, Jahangir Mahal and the Lakshmi temple. He was succeeded by his son, Jhujhar Singh. He failed to resist Mughals and so Orchha was occupied by Mughals from 1635 to 1641.

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