Jahangir Mahal :
Jahangir Mahal is a palace that was exclusively built by Vir Singh Deo in 1605 to humor the Mughal emperor Jahangir who was a guest of the Maharaja for one night only. The palace is built in four levels with elegant architectural features of both Muslim and Rajput architecture. Its layout is a symmetrical square built in the inner courtyard of the fort and has eight large domes. It has a plethora of rooms with arcade openings, projecting platforms and windows with lattice design work. The roof above top floor of this Mahal is accessed through a steep stairway. It provides picture perfect views of the temples and the Betwa River outside the fort complex. The palace also houses a small archaeological museum.
The entrance gate from this palace, which was earlier the main gate and which has carved ornamentation, leads to the royal baths and then to an elegant small dwelling unit built within a garden in typical Mughal architectural style; this had been built exclusively for Rai Parveen, the female escort of the Raja Indrajit; her large-size portrait in a revealing and seductive attire adorns hall in this Mahal. She was a poet and musician. The building is a double storied structure built with bricks, rising to the height of the trees in the well tended garden called Anand Mahal. The garden is laid out with octagonal flower beds and has good network of water supply. There are niches in the Mahal which permit natural light to the main hall and smaller rooms.
It is said that Emperor Akbar (r. 1556 – 1605) who was enamored by Parveen’s beauty had taken her to his palace in Agra to be his courtesan. But Parveen, who wanted to get out of the situation, composed a gazal or a couplet which stated her status as an already used woman not fit for an emperor, which enabled her to get release from Akbar’s court and return to Orchha.
Orchha Fort complex :
The Orchha Fort complex, which houses a large number of ancient monuments consisting of the fort, palaces, temple and other edifices, is located in the Orchha town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The fort and other structures within it were built by the Bundela Rajputs starting from early 16th century by King Rudra Pratap Singh of the Orchha State and others who followed him.
The fort complex, which is accessed from an arched causeway, leads to a large gateway. This is followed by a large quadrangular open yard surrounded by palaces. These are Raja Mahal or Raja Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, a temple, gardens and pavilions. The battlements of the fort have ornamentation. Notable architectural features in the fort complex are projected balconies, open flat areas and decorated latticed windows.
The fort was built following the founding of the Orchha State in 1501 AD by Rudra Pratap Singh (r. 1501–1531), a Bundela rajput. The palaces and temples within the fort complex were built over a period of time by successive Maharajas of the Orchha State. Of these, the Raja Mandir or Raja Mahal was built by Madhukar Shah who ruled from 1554 to 1591. Jahangir Mahal and Sawan Bhadon Mahal were built during the reign of Vir Singh Deo (r. 1605–1627). The features of “pepper pots and domes” seen in the fort complex are believed to have inspired Lutyens in the architecture of the structures which he built in New Delhi.
More photos of Orchha Fort Complex here.
Our group trip photos in Instagram.