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Bundela Cenotaphs – Orchha

by on October 7, 2010

This was actually my first visit to Orchha. Though I had visited it some time ago, but my time donation was really less. I didn’t have much time to explore this magical land. Well, this time I crossed the Betwa River to capture the shots of the cenotaphs as well as their reflection in the waters. Just while clicking shots and wandering around, I managed to learn some bits of history attached to this magnificent place from fellow travellers.

Prince Salim was eluding Agra. The main reason for it was his rebellion against his own father Akbar, the most powerful ruler of all times. To capture Salim, Akbar sent his most powerful and trusted man Abul Fazi.

As Salim passed through the central India, he happened to pass through the territory of Bundelas. The Bundelas, the fierce Rajput warriors use to rule the hidden city Orcha at that time. Actually, the word Orchha itself means “Hidden”.

Bir Singh Deo, the Bundela chief proved to be of tremendous help to Salim. He succeeded in killing Abul Fazl in an ambush and then sent the head to Salim. It’s said that on seeing the head of Abul Fazl Salim got so angry and irritated that he threw it into his toilet.

After some point of time, Prince Salim finally patched up with his father and returned to Agra. After the death of Akbar, Salim took in charge of Mughal Empire, who later on was known by the name Jehangir meaning “Seizer of the world”.

Bir Singh Deo’s favor was never forgotten. He was showered with Mughal patronage. Orchha, with its repository loaded, entered into golden era. Many charismatic palaces, temples and building portraying Bundelkhand architecture style were built in Orchha.

The Cenotaphs or Chattris were built to pay homage to the dead ancestors of the Bundela kings. It is said that first king of this dynasty offered his blood drops to Kali Goddess, which earned them name Bundela, meaning “One who offer drops”. His descendants carried this name till the line was faded.

I swear the place was truly an awe-struck experience of my life. Taking all this knowledge with me, I made my way back to Jhansi with plans to reach Delhi as soon as possible.

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