Cenotaphs or better known as Chhatris inIndia!! The simple, yet elegant canopies that served as pavilions, galleries, design elements in building architecture and also as memorials for the dead. It is perhaps the placement of cenotaphs (chhatris) in relation to each other and within the context of a larger building that makes them appear grand and beautiful, than as stand alone elements. The rising chhatris in the corners of palaces and a series of them in the pathways are perhaps the most standard placements seen in the ancient buildings. When built as memorials, they stand out independently and often in randomly built clusters.
“Chhatris are elevated, dome-shaped pavilions used as an element in Indian architecture. Chhatris are commonly used to depict the elements of pride and honor in the Rajput architecture of Rajasthan. They are widely used, in palaces, in forts, or to demarcate funerary sites. Originating in Rajasthani architecture where they were memorials for kings and royalty, they were later adapted as a standard feature in most heritage buildings in India, and most importantly in Mughal architecture. They are today seen on its finest monuments, Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra and more famously in Orchha, the hidden town of Madhya Pradesh. Chhatris are basic element of Hindu as well as Mughal architecture.”
The royal enclosures at Orchha had a generous dose of chhatris decorating the buildings. The cenotaphs of Orchha’s kings, although much different to the canopy-like chhatris we see in Rajasthan, are a delight to see, with their giant sizes and their great location. Most of the tourists’ visit to Orchha, which begins out of curiosity, get extended for more than the planned days with much of it spent admiring the magnanimous chhatris. Here is a set of images of huge and massive Chhatris in Orchha
The above photographs are of the royal enclosures and the royal cenotaphs in Orchha.