The Belgadia Palace – The 18th Century Victorian palace is a mixture of Greek and Victorian architecture with a classical-western style of Doric-Corinthian column. Home to the royal family of Mayurbhanj, it also a boutique hotel that can be your home for the next few days.
Princesses Mrinalika and Akshita, who are social entrepreneurs and directors of The Belgadia Palace and also its philanthropic initiative The Mayurbhanj Foundation, live in a part of the palace while the rest of this 215-year-old palace has been converted into a boutique hotel. “We want to make people aware of the legacy of our ancestors in the district as well as in the state of Odisha,” says Akshita.
Though the construction of the palace began in 1804 it was developed in phases over many decades. The present interiors were developed by the Bhanja dynasties most famous ruler Sriram Chandra Bhanj Deo also known as ‘The Philosopher King’ along with his second wife Maharani Sucharu Devi.
The palace strides on a raised hill and is a sight to behold, with a natural lake on one border and walking paths crisscrossing the entire estate. A bygone charming era comes alive as soon as you set foot. Each suite and each part of the palace holds its own secret and has its own story to tell. The luxuriously modern designs of the interiors contrasting with the ancient external architecture is like time traveling through history. Each room has antique artworks belonging to the royal family collected during their travels around the world.
The Belgadia Palace, a 3.5 hour-drive from Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar and 4.5 hours from Jamshedpur, has now reopened for stay, after a brief lockdown during the Covid-19 period. While the lockdown and work from home persist in many places and for many of us, isn’t the idea of making this monumental royal palace your home for a few days thrilling? Along with the amazing royal stay, The Belgadia Palace has many tours to explore the nature and the cultural heritage of Baripada and Odhisa.
The Colonial Heritage Tourism:
Visit the original royal palace of the Bhanja kings in Haripur. This palace has 106 rooms and multiple courtyards. Haripur was built in the 14th century and was the former capital of Mayurbhanj. The palace was named Haripurgarh after the Maharaja Shri Harihar Bhanja after he shifted the capital here from Khiching in 1322. The sprawling ruin is very interesting and worth exploring. It also offers ample material for antiquarian research.
Visit the famous temples of Odisha (Khiching), learn and understand the different art forms, and intricate architectures, such as the black stone carving which is native to Odisha. Visit the famous Khichikeshwari temple at Khiching, built of chlorite slabs, and is one of its kind in India. Also visit a small yet boastful museum there to explore the historical arts, sculpture, and architecture.
Visit the tribal villages to learn and witness the age-old and dying art forms of Dhokra and chhau (martial arts dance form).
Wildlife and Nature Tourism:
Along with a rich history and culture, this hidden tourist spot of India has also got its own hidden gems of nature and scenic beauty. It is very close to the adventure lover’s paradise, the Simlipal National Park, the second-largest national park in India, and the Elephant and Tiger UNESCO Biosphere. The very dense forests, green vegetation, and unique wildlife are worth exploring. The Jaranda falls, the picturesque Deokund falls amongst the beauteous greens are a must-visit. The Bhimkund waterfall along with being a scenic tourist spot is also a place of pilgrimage. The temple of Goddess Ambika situated on a hilltop is also a special attraction of the place.
Events and Festivals:
The Ratha Yatra is a very famous and significant festivity in the Hindu Culture. And in Simlipal the Ratha yatra of Lord Jagannath is a very prominent festival, attracting scores of devotees from all over. It is popular because of its distinctive culture and feels. What is unique about this Ratha Yatra, is the women pulling the Ratha of Maa Subhadra.
Additional Experiences that you can avail on request are:
Yoga classes with a certified Hatha & Yin Yoga instructor.
Guided meditation tours in nature.
Cooking lessons on local cuisine.
Village walks to explore and interact with the local community, arts, and culture.
Watch a local troupe perform the Chhau, the martial arts folk dance from Mayurbhanj.
The Belgadia Palace is following all the Covid-19 safety measures in compliance with both the World Health Organisation and the Govt. of India safety protocol for hotels. There are 10 Suites/rooms available and their names are inspired by the art and culture of the district and the History of the Bhanja dynasty. Currently, the Belgadia Palace is running a discount up to 11% for 5-7 days, 17% for 8-15 days and 25% for 30 days. For more details visit their website.
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