The iconic temple of Raja Ram is one place in Orchha that no one misses to visit! The Palace turned temple with its mesmerizing evening Aarti stands out among all the other Hindu pilgrimages. Here Lord Rama is revered not as a God but as a king, contrary to what the name reflects it’s a Palace not a Temple.
The Temple may appear in front of you as one of the innumerable sanctified sites, but it is unique and intriguing for its jaw dropping legends and history. You’d come across many legends around the temple. However, Orchha is reportedly the only place in the country where Lord Ram is worshiped in his royal aspect and not as an avtar of Vishnu. It is said that Lord Ram resides in Ayodhya by day and sleeps in Orchha at night. Hence the Ram Raja Temple remains closed throughout the day: the heavy silver doors of the sanctum are flung open only at 7 p.m. when the evening aarti is performed. It’s a moving ceremony laced with a certain amount of pomp and fanfare. The gun salute reverberates through the night as the lights fade away. Do not miss the Ram raja Temple aarti when you visit Orchha. It is one of the best ceremonial sights to behold. The Aarti is as pompous and grand as the temple itself.
The wife of Orchha’s King Madhukar Shah Ju Dev, Queen Ganesh Kunwari used to worship Lord Ram. One day she left for Ayodhya on foot and sweared to return only with the child form of Ram or else will drown herself in Saryu river at Ayodhya. Such was the belief of the queen that as soon as she started her journey she ordered her servant to build a temple (Chaturbhuj Temple) for Lord Ram when she will return with Lord Ram. At Saryu river queen started praying to Lord Ram and undertook strict meditation to please him. Lord Ram was moved with her prayers and pledged to fulfill her wishes, the queen requested Lord Ram to come with her in the child form to Orchha. Lord Ram agreed to go with her in child form but put forward some conditions:
- I will travel from Ayodhya to Orchha on foot along with a group of sages.
- Since the child form of Ram would travel in the queen’s lap, the first place where I will be seated will become my final place of stay and the place will be famous by the name of Ramraj.
The devotee, brave queen happily agreed to all the conditions. With Lord Ram in her lap, the Queen started her journey to Orchha. It took her 8 months and 27 days to reach Orchha from Ayodhya on foot (1574 – 1575) as the journey happened only in Pukh Nakshtra.
After reaching Orchha, queen returned to her palace with baby Lord Ram in her room with intentions to take Lord Ram to the Chaturbhuj Temple the next day. The queen forgot the last condition and Lord Ram transformed into an idol and got fixed in the queen’s palace. Till this day the Ram Raja Temple is in the queen’s palace. The idol could not be shifted to Chaturbhuj Temple.
The temple is a marvelous fusion of modern architecture in an ancient palace with shrines scattered around. They simply do not blend although religion and heritage meet right in the heart of this town. Built on a square base, the temple has an almost entirely plain exterior, relieved by projecting windows and a line of delicate domes along the summit. But the interior of the temple, actually a palace, is just spellbinding. It is a scene that can be best described as a stereotype. The India that every foreign traveler dreams about — the mystical, spiritual India where the bizarre and the regular meet at street corners, where cows are worshiped , where saffron clad men with tambura in hand try hard to look saintly but end up being talented street musicians, where kitsch and color sell at bazaars.
The temple’s courtyard is an open bazaar selling anything from sweets to knick knacks. The cows stand stubbornly in your path, accustomed to being worshiped and fed. The tiled flooring inside becomes shelter for devotees who prepare to sleep.
It is said that Lord Ram resides in Ayodhya by day and sleeps in Orchha at night. Hence the Ram Raja Temple remains closed throughout the day: the heavy silver doors of the sanctum are flung open only at 7 p.m. when the evening aarti is performed. It’s a moving ceremony laced with a certain amount of pomp and fanfare. The gun salute reverberates through the night as the lights fade away. Do not miss the Ram raja Temple aarti when you visit Orchha. It is one of the best ceremonial sights to behold. The Aarti is as pompous and grand as the temple itself.
Raja Ram’s wedding is enacted every year in the mid of November or December. Orchha itself resembles a bedecked bride as the Baraat – with the brilliantly decorated chariots, caparisoned elephants, and horses – wends its way down the narrow streets. Later, the town celebrates the royal nuptials over a banquet (bhandara) hosted by the temple trust.
Plan your next holidays for this hidden town of Bundelkhand to experience the magnificence of Raja Ram Temple and the divine Aarti!!
Experience the allure of this amazing holiday destination with Amar Mahal, Orchha.
For more details and reservations please contact:
Amar Mahal, Orchha, District Tikamgarh,Orchha,India