April 13, 2022

Mayurbhanj and The Belgadia Palace with Akshita Bhanj Deo

Winner of Giveaway - Lords of the Deccan by Anirudh Kanisetti

Sarbani Mohapatra

This week, The Musafir Stories speaks with Akshita Bhanj Deo, Director of the Belgadia Palace - an 18th century Victorian era styled palace that is now a boutique hotel in Mayurbhanj, Odisha!

Today's destination: Mayurbhanj, Odisha

Nearest Airport: Dum Dum Airport, CCU; Biju Patnaik International airport, BBI

Nearest Railway Station: Baripada Railway Stn, BPO

Prerequisites - N/A

Packing - Pack light, carry extra liquids as it can get hot during the day

Time of the year - Year round, except summers

Length of the itinerary: 3-5 days


Itinerary Highlights:

  1. Akshita talks about the orientation of Mayurbhanj and Baripada and its close vicinity to both Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar and how one can get to Mayurbhanj.
  2. We discuss the history of the Bhanja dynasty, written history of which dates back to 598 AD. The erstwhile capital of the Bhanja dynasty - Kiching, as well as Haripur and later Baripada. Akshita talks about the prominent rulers of the dynasty including His Highness Sriram Chandra Deo, the philosopher King and Maharani Sumitra Devi.
  3. Mayurbhanj is known as the land of arts and culture due to its abundance of diversity in craft inspired by its local community. We hope you can come experience this beautiful land with the same sense of wonder and amazement as we do everyday.
  4. The Belgadia palace was initially built as a place for foreign visitors, dignitaries and investors. It currently serves as the royal residence as well as a boutique heritage property.
  5. We discuss the idea of Belgadia palace to be a platform for the community and to do so in a sustainable and effective way, supporting local artists and art forms.
  6. The architecture of the Belgadia palace is also very unique with Greek and Roman influence. The interiors have been curated from previous palaces and include high ceilings, antique furniture, colourful rooms and suites, with wooden staircase, full-length arch windows, dark teak wood furniture, and chandeliers dangling from wooden ceilings.
  7. A few visiting dignitaries have included Irish theosophist Dr. Annie Besant, the first Chief Minister of Odisha Harekrushna Mahatab, award winning Indian artist Hemendranath Mazumdar and the Royal family of Nepal among others.
  8. Things to do in Mayurbhanj include The Simlipal National Park, Barehipani Falls, Sami Brukhya, Sitakund waterfall, Baldiha Dam, a visit to Sabai and Dokra handicraft villages Jagannath and Khiching Temple, events such as Rath Yatra (July), Chhau* Festival (April) (*a semi classical dance combining martials arts and folk dance)
  9. The Mayurbhanj cuisine in the palaces featured a motley underdog sturdy Indian vegetables such as pumpkin, brinjal, potato and a wide variety of local gourds and their flowers, roots, stems and tubers.
  10. One iconic dish that has trickled down to present day Orissa is a dish that originated in the royals kingdom—mudhi mansa. This dish provided a filling combination of carbs and protein and was used by kings to feed battle-weary soldiers in order to provide them with strength.



Link to the Belgadia Palace :https://thebelgadiapalace.com

Link to Akshita’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abhanjdeo/

Link to Akshita’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGreatAshB


Image - Belgadia Palace

Battle music: Sota War (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/sounds/258207/ ) by YleArkisto (https://freesound.org/people/YleArkisto/ ) is licensed under CC by 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )


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