Orchha, the historical town in district Niwari, Madhya Pradesh has been included in UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites. Surendra Singh Baghel, Minister of Tourism & Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) shared in a statement that a detailed proposal was made by the tourism department in collaboration with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and was sent to the UNESCO in this regard. Mandu is already included in UNESCO’s tentative list.
Orchha is located in Niwari district on the banks of river Betwa. It was established in the 16th century by Bundela Rajput King, Rudra Pratap. This ancient town has two magnificent towers (Saavan and Bhadon), along with four palaces namely Jahangir Palace, Raj Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, and Rai Praveen Mahal. These magnificent buildings of Bundelkhand’s heritage are unparalleled depiction of cultural and charming devotional beauty. The stone carved idols of God and Goddess, along with the painting of animals and birds which reflects the master art of painters of those times, are fresh and attractive. In the southern part of city, on the bank of Betwa River at the Kanchan Ghat one could also explore 14 cenotaphs of different Bundela kings.
It is the only place in India where Lord Ram is worshipped as King and has a dedicated temple called Sri Ram Raja Mandir. Chaturbhuj Temple, Lakshmi Narayan Temple etc. are also beautiful and fine examples of stone carving and paintings. Apart from the tourists who visit Orchha for it architectural and historical magnificence, there is a constant flow of other tourists who are nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and those who like to experience the water sports (river-rafting) after the monsoon. Orchha has fairly good connectivity with all the major cities and other tourist destinations via road and railway route. The nearest airports are Khajuraho and Gwalior.
Currently, in the list of World Heritage sites Khajuraho, Sanchi and Bhimbetka from Madhya Pradesh are already there. After the completion of UNESCO’s detailed selection process, if Orchha gets commissioned in the list in the world heritage sector, Madhya Pradesh will become the second state after Maharashtra to gain the distinction of having four World Heritage sites.