In the heart of Bundelkhand lies a fortified cluster of dwellings, founded by Raja Rudra Pratap in 1501, temples and shrines bearing testimony to a medieval legacy in stone – Orchha. Situated along the left bank of the Betwa River, they are reminiscent of hardy times. Clustered around the foot of the exotic ruins, lies a sleepy village of neatly painted houses and market stalls. The origin of the Bundela dynasty in the 11th century is traced to a Rajput prince who offered himself as a sacrifice to the mountain goddess Vrindavasini; she stopped him and named him 'Bundela' (one who offered blood). Orchha's most illustrious ruler was Raja Bir Singh Deo who ruled for 22 years, erecting a total of 52 forts and palaces across the region, including the rambling Narsing Dev at Datia, and many of Orchha's finest buildings most which have lain virtually deserted now.
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