Orchha, meaning a ‘hidden place’, certainly lives up to its name. Languishing amid a tangle of scrubby dhak forest, 18 km southeast of Jhansi, the former capital of the Bundela dynasty gets only a small portion of the Khajuraho-bound traffic. Architectural gems, however, abound in this town. Clustered around the foot of the exotic ruins, a sleepy village of neatly painted houses, market stalls, and a couple of attractive hotels provide most of the basic amenities.
Raja Rudra Pratap started the construction of Orchha but he could not finish it, as he was killed trying to rescue a cow from the clutches of a tiger. However, the construction continued. Thereafter, the Bundela dynasty's fortunes depended on the goodwill of the Mughals. Orchha's most illustrious ruler was Raja Bir Singh Deo. During his 22-year rule, Bir Singh Deo erected a total of 52 forts and palaces across the region, including the citadel at Jhansi, the rambling Narsing Dev at Datia, and many of Orchha's finest buildings. Apart from the Sheesh Mahal, now converted into a beautiful hotel, most of the magnificent monuments lie virtually deserted now