Culture & Heritage
A town of great historic significance, Datia’s seven-storeyed palace built entirely of stone and brick by Raja Bir Singh Deo in 1614, is considered to be one of the finest examples of Bundela architecture in the country. Within the palace are some fine wall paintings of the Bundela school. An interesting blending of cultures can be seen in the frescoes in a temple. Datia takes its name from Dantavakra, a mythological demon ruler of the area. The palaces at Datia and Orchha are the best surviving examples of the Bundelkhand style of architecture that arose in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in the Bundelkhand area under the reign of the Bundela Rajputs.
Bir Singh Palace
It was built in 1620 by King Bir Singh Deo after whom the palace is named. Locally, the palace is also known as Govind Mandir.Erected on a rocky ridge, the Bir Singh Palace has five stories with a central dome rising to 35m caps the palace. Suites of underground rooms hewn from solid bedrock on a series of different levels provide hot-weather accommodation. The palace has a square plan with a domed tower at each corner. The main entrance is on the eastern side, while the south opens out to a lake, the Karna Sagar.This palace is made entirely of stones and bricks without any use of wood and iron.
Another five-storeyed structure with apartments for the royalty stands in the central courtyard. It is connected by flying bridge corridors to the middle of each side. The facades are decorated with bracketed balconies, kiosks, arcades and wide eaves which create a glorious play of light and shade. Strangely enough, for all its mesmerizing beauty, the palace was never occupied and is now a well-preserved monument with unusual persian style motifs.In fact many of the ceilings inside the palace have borders and medallions which resemble the rare carpets from Persia.
The royal families of Datia built Chhatris to commemortae their dead. These are decorated with elaborate memorials with stories, myths and legends from the holy scriptures , somrtimes they also have a depiczion of the great deeds of those remembered. There is a hige complex of Chhatris built in the 18th and 19th centuries and really worth a visit.