Orchha, India is a peaceful town in comparison to the busier and bigger cities in India, and a town that is filled with history and beauty. Sitting alongside the Betwa River, Orchha has gorgeous architecture, friendly people, and can be a great, off-the-beaten-path stop for people looking for something a bit different when visiting India.
Last year, I visited Orchha, India while on a tour of India and Nepal with G Adventures. To be honest, it was a place that I didn’t know much about and I wasn’t as excited to visit in comparison to Delhi, Jaipur and Varanasi. But sometimes, these are the places that surprise and delight more than usual.
Rajni’s Cooking Class
It couldn’t get more local than this. As we sat on the floor in the house of the head chef and teacher, Rajni, we learned how to whip up some famous Indian dishes before we ate a pile of food and got tattooed with henna. I love experiences where you get to interact with locals, and this was definitely one I’ll remember forever.
Read my full article on Rajni’s Cooking Class here.
Orchha Fort Complex
This fort was built in 1501 AD, and the palaces and temples within the complex were built over time. Explore the different buildings that you can get lost in as you climb the narrow stairwells and walk through the hallways to peek out different windows to get extraordinary views of the village. There are very few tourist attractions in the world that aren’t blocked off with boundaries that don’t let you truly explore the attraction for yourself, so to me, this was incredible to visit.
Taragram paper plant
A short tuk tuk away from the main centre, this enterprise is based off the concept of “waste to wealth” and employs 40+ women to create recycled paper and products. A visit won’t take long, but it’s a neat initiative to see and support.
Due to the location of Orchha being on the Betwa River, taking a raft out on the river seems to be a must-do. Although this isn’t traditional white water rafting, there are a few rapids along the route. The best part of rafting down the river though is the view you get of all the forts and palaces that make up this village. A view from the water always gives you a unique perspective of a place.
Catch the Sunset
A sunset can be seen from anywhere in the world, yet to me, they never get old. Walk out to the bridge that crosses the river, and catch the sunset setting over the forts and palaces. Be careful though, because the bridge is narrow and often has buses and trucks crossing over it regularly.
There are 14 memorials (chhatris) along the Kanchana Ghat next to the river that were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. These were another must-do in Orchha, climb up the narrow stairwells to the top, wander through each one to check out the accuracy and precision of each, and enjoy the views of the river from the different windows.
Orchha was a magical little place, and one that I feel is very hidden off the typical tourist path. Although it may not be the easiest place to visit, it’s one that is well worth the trek to get a little bit of peacefulness of a local village in comparison to the busyness of the nearby cities.