Ram Raja Temple in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to Lord Rama. This unique temple is more of a palace than a temple. Lord Rama is worshipped as a King. All arrangements here like a guard of honor, food, and other amenities are those that would be fit for a king. Though a temple was built, here the Lord lives in a palace that became a temple.
Temple and Darshan Timings
|February to October||8:00 AM to 12:30 PM|
|8:00 PM to 10:30 PM|
|November to February||9:00 AM to 1:00 PM|
|7:00 PM to 9:30 PM|
History and the story of Orchha Ram Raja Temple
The story and history of the Ram Raja temple go back about 500 years, to the time of King Madhukar Shah Judev, who was the ruler of Orchha from 1554 to 1592 CE. The king was a devotee of Banke Bihari in Vrindavan. His wife Ganesh Kunwari was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. They were two pious souls. One day the king and queen went to Lord Krishna’s temple, only to find it closed for the day. They saw a group of devotees dancing and singing hymns to the Lord. The king and queen joined the group. Such was their zeal and devotion, that It is said Lord Krishna and Radharani joined them and a shower of petals fell from the heavens.
Sometime after this incident, the king and queen decided to go on a pilgrimage. The king was in favor of Vrindavan, but the queen wanted to go to Ayodhya. Both were adamant and thus could not come to an agreement. The king argued about how Lord Krishna had made His divine presence felt on the day they were dancing and singing with the group of devotees outside the Krishna temple. He said Lord Rama does not do something like this. He challenged the queen to go to Ayodhya and bring back Lord Rama in a child form. Queen Ganesh Kunwari accepted the challenge and declared she will either come back from Ayodhya with Lord Rama or drown herself in the Saryu river. Before leaving, she gave instructions for a temple to be constructed adjacent to their palace. That temple would come to be known as Chaturbhuj temple.
Queen Ganesh Kunwari set off on foot and after some months of travel, arrived in Ayodhya. She selected a spot on the banks of the Saryu river, near Lakshman Fort. She started prayer and penance to Lord Rama, surviving only on fruit. After some time she gave up fruit and lived only on leaves. Nothing happened and after a month or so, she jumped into the river to end her life as she had resolved. That’s when a miracle occurred. She found herself on the banks of the river with Lord Rama as a child in her lap. The Lord was pleased with her devotion and told her to ask for a boon. She asked the Lord to accompany her and stay in Orchha in His child form. Lord Rama agreed, but with three conditions. First, He would travel only in Pushya Nakshatra. Second, on reaching Orchha He would be the King, and third, He would stay in the first place He was put down from the queen’s lap.
The return journey began, the queen was going by foot with a group of saints and sanyasis. Since they could travel only during Pushya Nakshatra, the journey took almost nine months. In the meanwhile, the king had a dream in which he was told there was no difference between Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. The queen reached her palace in Orchha and retired for the night. She placed Lord Rama on the bed. The next day when she tried to take the Lord to the newly made temple, the Lord would not move as per His earlier condition and turned into a stone idol. The Palace was then converted into a temple and Lord Rama was the Raja of Orchha.
Importance of Orchha Ram Raja Temple
Ram Raja temple is a unique temple with a history going back just 500 years, but with a timeless connection to Ayodhya. The Lord appeared on the banks of the Saryu river and traveled to Orchha in Queen Ganesh Kunwar’s arms and lap. The Lord sits in Padmasana here, and it is believed all wishes are granted by looking at His left toe.
Best time to visit Orchha
Orchha can be visited all through the year, but the winter months are best.
Ramnavmi in the month of Chaitra is the most important festival. Holi, Ganga Dassehra, and Ram-Vivaah are also celebrated.
How to reach Orchha
The nearest railway station is Jhansi, about 20 km away. Jhansi is well connected to many major cities in India.
The nearest airport is Gwalior Airport, about 132 km away.
Orchha is 15 km from Jhansi, 125 km from Gwalior, 234 km from Kanpur and 328 km from Chitrakoot.
Nearby temples and places of interest
Other temples and places of interest in Orchha and nearby are – Chaturbhuj temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple, Khatri Baba temple and Orchha wildlife sanctuary.