Orchha - Khajuraho via Gwalior
Orchha is reportedly the only place in the country where
Lord Ram is worshipped 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.
Ram's wedding is enacted each year in
mid December. Orchha itself resembles a bedecked bride as the baraat
- comprising gorgeously decorated chariots, caparisoned elephants,
and horses - wends its way down the narrow streets. Later, the town
celebrates the royal nuptials over a banquet hosted by the temple trust.