September 29, 2016

Saga of Raja Ram Temple at Orchha

After exploring the Chambal ravines and an amazing pit stop at Sonagiri temples the road to Orchha was in front of us. We have driven for 15 km. from Sonagiri, when a fort along side a river came to our sight. It was the imposing 7 storied Datia Fort, also known as Bir Singh Palace. However no member of Datia royal family ever lived in this palace.


If you like to drive and explore the magic of offbeat places, Madhya Pradesh is the place you should be. All good things shall begin with praying to the Gods. So after driving for 51 km. and crossing the entrance doors for Orchha, we arrived at Raja Ram Temple. 

Raja temple is an acclaimed temple in Orchha which was earlier a palace, in fact a queen’s palace. The palace was turned into a temple and this is the only temple in the world where Lord Ram is worshipped as King Ram.

The story of Ram Raja Temple as told by the local peoples...

The King of Orchha, Madhukar Shah Ju Dev was a devotee of Banke Bhihari (Lord Krishna) while his wife Queen Ganesh Kunwari used to worship Lord Ram. One day both King and Queen went to worship in Lord Krishna’s temple which was closed by that time. The queen requested the king to go back but the king wished to stay. So both of them decided to stay back at the temple premises. To give company to king and queen there were a number of devotees who were singing and dancing outside the temple. It is believed that Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha embodied in person and danced with all of them and heavens showered golden flowers at this extravaganza of the Gods.

After that heavenly incident the king was craving to go to Mathura, the land of Lord Krishna but the queen wanted to go to Ayodha. As a result, fight for worship of Gods started between them as king did not liked the idea that queen was worshipping Lord Ram. So one day king got furious and asked queen to stop worshipping Lord Ram as Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha had come to dance with them and Lord Ram never appeared or embodied in front of them. Finally King told the queen to go and return only when she get blessed by child form of Lord Ram, only then king will accept her devotion. Extremely hurt by this behavior of king, queen 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 queen started her journey she ordered her servant to build a temple (Chaturbhuj Temple) for Lord Ram when she will return with Lord Ram with her. Near to Saryu river and close to Laxman fort queen started praying to Lord Ram and undertook strict meditation to please Lord Ram. When Lord Ram did not appear after long time of meditation and prayers, she gave up food but Lord Ram didn’t appear even then. Finally her hope surrendered and in despair, she jumped into the Sarayu river. Just at that moment a miracle happened and a child appeared in the Queen’s lap, and the child was none other than Lord Ram.





Lord Ram was moved with her prayers and pledged to fulfil 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 pur forward three conditions:
  1. I will travel only in Pukh Nakshatra. When Pukh Nakshatra will end I will stop and resume only when Pukh Nakshatra sets in again. In this manner I will travel from Ayodhya to Orchha on foot along with a group of sages.
  2. On reaching Orchha, I will be the King of Orchha and not your husband. And…
  3. 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.

Looks like the test for the queen was still not over, but the brave queen happily agreed to all the conditions. With Lord Ram in her laps, 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.

Meanwhile King Madhukar Shah had a dream where Lord Krishna scolded him on his discrimination between the Gods, and told him that Krishna and Ram are one and the same. Realizing his mistake, king offered due apologies and went to receive the queen with all royalty. By this time the soul of queen had been dedicated to Lord Ram, so material comforts did not mattered to her anymore. So queen refused the comforts and apologies offered by the king. The Queen told to the king that she now possessed Lord Ram in child form and she has got everything one could ever ask for. 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.
Raja Ram temple from Chaturbhuj temple
Now according to Lord Ram’s third condition the place where queen seated the baby Lord Ram became the resting place of Lord Ram. Lord Ram transformed into an idol and got fixed in the queen's palace. It is believed that till this day the Ram Raja Temple is the queen's palace.

Originally, Lord Ram was in the standing position as he transformed himself into an idol. The queen used to serve Lord Ram for 3–4 hours every day in standing position. Seeing that the queen gets tired, Lord Ram requested the queen to serve him while sitting only. But queen refused politely saying that when the Lord is himself standing then how can she sit. On hearing this from the queen, it is believed that the deity had sat down. As promised by the queen, Lord Ram is the King (Raja) of Orchha, hence the name Ram Raja Temple. Till this date Lord Ram as a king rules over Orchha and everyday a guard of honour is held. Till date marriage invitation in this region is first sent to Raja Ram.

Raja Ram is sitting in Padmasana with left leg being crossed over to right thigh. It is believed that locating the thumb of left foot fulfills all the wishes of the visitors. The Ram Raja Temple is built on a square base and has an almost entirely plain exterior, relieved by projecting windows and a line of delicate domes along the summit.

Adjacent to Raja Ram temple is the gigantic Chaturbhuj Temple, built by the king Madhukar to idolize Lord Rama.

However Lord Rama decided to make his house in the Rama Raja Temple. The present deity in Chaturbhuj temple is Lord Sri Laxmi Narayan, Lord Vishnu. An idol of Lord Vishnu with four arms which was kept in this temple gave the name Chaturbhuj temple (Four arms). This temple is directly opposite the palace, so that the queen could have watched the worship of the Gods in the temple from her room. Colossal size of Chaturbhuj temple is in stark deviation from the normal construction size of temples in India. The Grand architecture of Chaturbhuj Temple attracts thousands of visitors every year. Check out from the other side...

Please note in the summers temples in Orchha are closed between 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Make your plans accordingly.

Pray to Gods and continue heritage exploration at Orchha.
Keep travelling Guys...





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2 comments:

  1. Great to know the story. I haven't been to these parts yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by. Story as told by locales was fascinating like a mythological fairy tale.
      All the monuments in this place are so gigantic that one feels like a lilliput in the land of Goliaths. Plan out a visit to this hidden place...

      Delete

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