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One of the greatest attractions of the village town of Orchha is the Chaturbhuj Temple. Dedicated to the four-armed deity, Chaturbhuj (chaturbhuj literally means four-armed), the temple has plenty of light and space inside, a feature unusual for a Hindu temple.

Constructed between the years 1558 and 1573 by Orchha’s king, Raja Madhukar Shah, the Chaturbhuj Temple is a bold concept and as enormous as any European cathedral. While earlier temples had fairly small enclosures, the Chaturbhuj Temple has a huge cross-shaped congregation hall. Conical shikharas (spires) crown the sanctuary of the spacious Chaturbhuj Temple.

The temple would remind a Western viewer of a basilica due to it's unusual layout in form of a cross. With its huge pointed shikharas soaring high above the village, Chaturbhuj Temple, with seven stories and spacious courtyards ringed by arched balconies, epitomizes the Bundelkhand style. The story about this temple is quite intriguing. It was built to house the idol of God Rama, that the queen was transporting herself, all the way from Ayodhya. It came to pass that the idol never reached the temple. The king immediately realised that his wife was honour-bound not to move the idol, and saved the day by installing the idol of Chaturbhuj (Lord Vishnu with four arms) in the temple instead. That is how the shrine became the Chaturbhuj Temple. Chaturbhuj is not a normal worshipping temple & does not have the throng of devotees one normally associates with Indian temples, which also makes it rather unique.

Raja Madhukar Shah provided a kalasha or horn-shaped crown, made of over 100 pounds of pure gold, on top of the temple. However, a few years, later robbers made off with the kalasha.

In the FG is the man taking his morning bath using water of the tube-well (borehole or water well). This activity of outdoor bathing is quite frequently seen across villages & small towns in India.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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