Lakshmi Narayan Temple Orcha
Lakshminarayan Temple is dedicated to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and her consort, Narayan. It was built in 1622 on the orders of Bir Singh Deo but has needed extensive renovation over the centuries.
It’s an odd mixture of temple and fort (with musket embrasures in the crenellated outer wall) and an even odder mixture of concentric forms – it is basically an octagonal central tower inside a triangular temple within a square compound that has bastions at each corner. In line with this eccentricity, the entrance gate is set in a corner rather than the wall.
Despite that unpromising description, it is gorgeous and its eclectic ceiling paintings have been successfully restored in the past two decades. They are a mixture of ancient mythology and relatively recent history. The hall with a long panorama of the siege of Jhansi by the British in 1857 is brilliant.
And because it is so little visited it is wonderfully tranquil. You can lie on the floor and look at the painting for hours – or sit in the cupola at the top of the entrance tower and admire the skyline of Orchha’s palaces and temples a little over a kilometer away.