This beautiful temple dominates the town of Orchha with its shikharas (spires) soaring into the sky. Built on a 4.5-m-high platform, a flight of stairs leads to the main temple. It is said that this is where an idol of Lord Rama was originally supposed to be enshrined. Failing to do so, king Madhukar, who was the then ruler of Orchha, decided to place an idol of Lord Vishnu here. The word 'chaturbhuj' literally means one who has four arms, and refers to Lord Rama, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.


King Madhukar is said to have built this temple for his wife, Ganesh Kumari, who was a devotee of Lord Rama. Legend has it that the lord appeared to the queen in a dream and asked her to build him a temple. The queen went to Ayodhya, said to be the birthplace of Rama, to procure his idol. On returning, she kept the idol in her palace as the temple was still under construction. After the temple was built, she decided to shift it but the idol would not move. Thus, an idol of Lord Vishnu was placed in the sanctum sanctorum. The architecture of the temple is truly marvellous as it looks like a multi-storyed palace with arcaded openings, a large entrance, a central tower and fortifications. The external ornamentation of the temple is done with lotus emblems and other symbols of religious significance. Today, the temple is under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

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