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“A temple is a place that breathes life into the living”
India is the spiritual land of temples that have been integrally woven into its rich culture and heritage. Every city, every village, and every town in India has temples that are dedicated to one deity or another. The history of Indian temples dates back to the ancient ages and variant dynasties that have ruled throughout the ages. Every temple of every region has a story attached to it that reflects the cultures of the specific dynasty. One such temple with an intriguing history is the Ram Raja Temple in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, dedicated to Lord Ram. There are various temples in India, where Shree Ram is worshipped as “Prabhu” or “God”, but the Ram Raja Temple is the only temple where he is worshipped as a “King”.
Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
There is an intriguing history behind why Lord Ram is worshipped as a King at Ram Raja Temple and not as an almighty. As per the legends, the temple was once the palace of Queen Ganeshkuwari, wife of the King of Orchha, King Madhukar Shah. King Madhukar Shah was an ardent devotee of Shri Krishna, whereas the Queen was a devotee of Prabhu Shriram. Once the king asked the queen to come along with him to Braj- Mathura, but the queen wanted to visit Ayodhya. Queen Ganeshkuwari denied paying a visit to worship her husband’s “Aradhya” which annoyed King Madhukar.
The annoyed king commanded the queen to go to Ayodhya and return to Orchha, only when she has Shree Ram with her. On reaching Ayodhya, the queen being an ardent Ram Bhakt started praying near the Sarayu River. The queen prayed for about a month but Shri Ram didn’t appear. In misery, the queen jumped into the river at midnight. It was then that something magical happened and Prabhu Shri Ram appeared in the lap of Queen Ganeshkuwari as “Ram Lalla- Ram in child form”. Being truly happy with her pure devotion and prayer, Shree Ram agreed to go to Orchha with her on three conditions- “To travel only in Puksha Nakshatra so that he reaches Orchha with sages”, “On reaching Orchha, he will be the King of Orchha and dethrone her husband”, and “the first place where she will seat him, will become his final place to stay.” On hearing about the queen’s return to Orchha, King Madhukar, who was unaware of these conditions started building the temple. On returning from the long journey, the queen was tired and she took Bal Prabhu Shriram to her palace. But according to the 3 conditions, Shree Ram took over the queen’s palace that eventually became the infamous Ram Raja Temple of Orchha where Lord Ram is worshipped as “Raja Ram” and not as a deity. Anyone visiting the temple may notice that the structure of the temple does not resemble other Hindu Temples but looks like a palace. Every year thousands of devotees from all over the country visit the temple and seek his blessings. It is believed that Lord Ram resides in Ayodhya by day and sleeps in Orchha at night. Add this magnificent temple to your list and experience the divine presence of “Raja Ram”.