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Datia, which lies on the track from Gwalior to Jhansi is a small palace town founded by the Bundela chief Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo. It is a crowded little village with narrow lanes, with streets are lined with sweet marts, bangle sellers, cloth merchants etc is known for its seven-storied fortress palace of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo. This structure is a unique example of 17th century Bundela architecture.

The Govind Mahal or Narsingh Dev Palace is situated on an outcrop of rock overlooking Datia. It is often regarded as one of the finest domestic buildings in India, even though it was never actually occupied, it remains a testament to the architectural accomplishment of the Rajputs. The palace was completed in 1620 and took, as our guide told us, 8 years, 10 months and 26 days to build, at a huge cost of 32,90,980 Rupees, a princely sum in those days. The prime objective for Bir Singh Ju Deo to build this palace was to welcome the Mughal emperor Jehangir for one night on his visit to Orchha & Datia. Incidentally it was Bir Singh who had built the Jehangir Mahal in Orchha for the same purpose. Now, whether Jehangir stayed for one night each in both the palaces is something that nobody is sure of.

The Palace has seven stories with five stories visible & appears much taller than its actual height of 130 ft. 200 metres by 200 metres in dimension, there are a total of 200 steps required to be climbed to reach the top. On reaching the top, one gets great views of the surroundings like this, of the once royal temple beside the royal lake, framed by the latticed windows. There are quite a few of such marvelous windows, each having different designs of the lattices like this one. No wonder that this palace was a favourite of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the man who designed most of British New Delhi.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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