Adding to its ongoing initiatives to promote Madhya Pradesh as a leading tourism destination in the country, the State Tourism Board announced ‘Namaste Orchha’, a new festival scheduled to be held from March 6-8, 2020, celebrating the cultural landscape of the state in the historic town of Orchha. The festival was announced at a curtain raiser in New Delhi.
The three day extravaganza in this ancient and quaint town will feature diverse activities of music, art, wellness, travel, nature, adventure, history and culture. These activities would be led by experts in their respective fields with participants comprising invited delegates. An immersive visual spectacle of Maha Aarti will be curated at the banks of river Betwa. Designer Anupamaa Dayal, the pioneers of fusion rock Indian Ocean, renowned sculptor and nail art painter Wajid Khan are some of the artists who will create engaging experiences for the audiences at the festival.
The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board has recently won 10 National Awards and the state has also been listed among the Top 3 ‘Best Value Destination’ of the world by Lonely Planet. The Madhya Pradesh Government has identified tourism as one of the leading sectors for development and aims to promote MP as an attractive destination for both domestic and international travellers. There is a sustained focus on infrastructure development, restoration of heritage sites, development of natural reserves and biodiversity, promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism as well as rural tourism.
Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Secretary Tourism, Govt of Madhya Pradesh and Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board said, “Madhya Pradesh is among the most exciting tourist destination in the country and has immense potential to grow inbound tourism. Under the vision of the Honourable Chief Minister, tourism has been identified as a key focus area. We are creating new opportunities and initiatives to promote the state and its rich cultural, natural and architectural heritage and its traditions and history. This festival will find a place of pride in the lives of the local populace of Orchha, sharing their home and heart with visitors. It will also bring the very best of Madhya Pradesh together in a meaningful celebration.”
There will also be ‘gram’ and ‘farm’ stays to promote rural entrepreneurship; workshops and site-visits for photography, film-making, performing arts; exhibitions showcasing the state’s handicraft heritage and legacies, sustainable fashion and design presentations in collaboration with master-craftsmen and well known global-local brands. It will also offer opportunity for local businesses to expand tourism offerings and weddings industries to exploit the yet untapped potential in the state.
Yasmin Kidwai, Festival Director and Curator, Director of Spring Box Films said, “Orchha is a hidden gem in Madhya Pradesh and thrives on its celebrated heritage, natural beauty, culture and creativity. Our thought is to create an annual event in the cultural calendar of Madhya Pradesh that will help to discover this fascinating place and bring in the confluence of ideas and creative collaborations.”
Just under 500 kms from Delhi, Orchha is a perfect weekend getaway as it is easily accessible from the national capital via road (approx. 8 hours), by train up to Jhansi Junction (approx. 5-6 hours including a 30-minute drive from Jhansi to Orchha) and by air up to Gwalior (approx. 4 hours including a 3-hour drive from Gwalior to Orchha).
The Orchha Fort Complex hosts the legendary and unique Ram Raja Temple, built in honour of Lord Ram and is the only place where he is worshipped both as a god and as a king. There is the imposing Chaturbhuj Temple, with a blend of temple, fort and palace architectural features, the royal palaces- Raja Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal, which is now converted into a heritage hotel; the Jahangir Mahal built by Maharaja Bir Singh Deo in honour of a visit by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir; and the Phool Bagh, an architectural marvel built for natural cooling through a water ventilation system. Numerous cenotaphs or chhatris, constructed in honour of various erstwhile rulers of the city, dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river.
The rich and unfettered natural resources, biodiversity and pristine landscape are also an unparalleled attraction for nature and adventure lovers to explore Orchha. From guided tours of the Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary to adventure sports along the Betwa river, picturesque natural beauty to an experience of rural life, there’s something for every traveller to take home.