One of the greatest attractions of Orchha is the Chaturbhuj Temple, situated right opposite the Raja Mahal. The name Chaturbhuj is a derived from Sanskrit words meaning 'Four Arms', which literally means one who has four arms; referring to Lord Vishnu. Constructed between 1558 and 1573 by Raja Madhukar, during the reign of imperial Gurjara Pratihara dynasty, it is constructed within a later colonnade. The temple consists of a sanctum with Pancharatha Sikhara, a vestibule and a porch. The temple also has a curved tower with a small porch.
Chatarpur Temple, Orchha
Chaturbhuj Temple is a bold concept and as enormous as any European cathedral. The Temple has a huge cross-shaped congregation hall. Conical shikharas (spires) crown the sanctuary. This large temple bears close resemblance to a European cathedral. With its huge pointed shikharas soaring high above the village, Chaturbhuj Temple, with seven stories and spacious courtyards ringed by arched balconies, epitomizes the Bundelkhand style. Madhukar Shah envisaged a secular abode for Raja Rama in this grand temple.
Chaturbhuj is not a normal worshipping temple & does not have the throng of devotees one normally associates with Indian temples, which also makes it rather unique. But it is a desolate structure...it’s massiveness makes everything and everyone around it appear diminutive. The structure, though very majestic is yet very lonely & serene, for after all, Chaturbhuj never ‘lived’ for the purpose it was built.
A hall inside Chatarpur Temple, Orchha
The best thing is climbing up to the rooftop of Chaturbhuj Temple. Trought small staircases and narrow corridors you will not reach the rooftop, but see the inside of the temple from the balconies. The rooftop is (as the temple) quite big with many cuppolas and towers.
The exterior walls of the Chaturbhuj Temple, Orchha is designed with various religious symbols while the interiors are plain and simple that offers you the divine solace. The congregation hall where the devotees gather to offer prayers are criss-cross in shape.