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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the roots of the cultural identity of the Indian town of Orchha today, and with that context in place, to analyze the influence tourism has had in Orchha in the past twenty years. In particular, how tourism has created new cultural identity, how it has influenced a movement towards the preservation of cultural identity, but also how it has threatened loss of cultural identity. The research was conducted using a combined historical and ethnographic approach, using both archival research and ethnographic techniques. Throughout the study, and as this paper shows, the medieval history of Orchha still has a heavy influence on the way the locals identify themselves. In addition, it is the draw for tourists, whose recent increase is the main force behind the cultural shifts in Orchha today. Shifts that have resulted in renewed pride in local heritage, but in some other cases have resulted in reduction of local heritage, in some cases by commodifying the local culture.

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