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An essential stop en route to or from Khajuraho, ORCHHA ("hidden place") certainly lives up to its name, residing amid a tangle of scrubby dhak forest 18km southeast of Jhansi. In spite of its generally tumbledown state, the fortified and now deserted medieval town is a former capital of the Bundela rajas and remains an architectural gem, its guano-splashed temple shikharas, derelict palaces, havelis and weed-choked sandstone cenotaphs floating serenely above the banks of the River Betwa.
Clustered around the foot of the exotic ruins, the sleepy village of neatly painted houses, market stalls and a couple of attractive hotels makes an excellent spot to unwind after the hassle of northern cities. However, it's firmly established on the tour-group trail these days, and it's worth spending a night or two here to see Orchha after the bus parties have moved off.