The incredible air coolers of Orchha

May 05, 2020

Destinations :: Orchha

Adjacent to the Ram Raja Temple lies a row of fountains, which culminates in an eight pillared pavilion. A subterranean structure below the pavilion, the Tehkhana, was the summer retreat of the kings of Orchha. The tehkhana was cooled by a cleverly constructed Persian cooling unit, which was made up of two adjoining Dastagirs (wind-catching towers). The towers were named after the two spring months in the Indian calendar - SawanBhado.

The towers were perforated on the top, to allow them to catch the wind, while their lower part was connected to a reservoir of water. The towers, the aqueducts, and the underground reservoir of water were ingeniously connected to a Chandan Katora (fountain) in the pavilion above the retreat. The water from the underground reservoir was pushed up into the Chandan Katora, from where it rained on the roof of the retreat to cool the Tehkhana. This is perhaps the only example of the Persian system of cooling in India.