Mayurbhanj in Odisha has an interesting past and a present that is an explorers dream. During the reign of the British, the Bhanjja Kings pioneered the upliftment of the region and the region was regarded as one of the most progressive states. The Bhanjja kings established educational institutions, banks and were known for their generous, futuristic and firm governance. Walking or cycling around the town of Baripada gives you a good idea of what those times would have been with courthouses and banks still marked to the times of the Bhanjja kings. The Mayurbhanj state railway was started by them in as early as 1905 . Under the rule of the enlightened Bhanja kings, Mayurbhanj became one of the most progressive states. The Belgadia Palace in Baripada, one of the prominent towns of the Mayurbhanj district set out experiences that will highlight the legacy of the erstwhile rulers which is a tangible presence in the attitude of the present generation of the Bhanj Deo royal family and their relationship with the people of the district.
The Belgadia Palace is today the residence of the present royal family who have created a hospitality offering that is led by the dynamic young princesses – Mrinalika and Akshita, proud of their heritage, inspired by what their ancestors have accomplished and committed to showcase the legacy of Mayurbhanj to the world through the eyes of travellers. The palace as it stands now is over 15 acres of orchards and gardens, just edging the bustling city of Baripada. Standing slightly away from the mango orchards when you enter the estate through a modest gate, the palace looms right up in front of you - stark white, a double-storey façade with striking Corinthian columns that complement the regal Greek and Victorian architecture. You drive up to the ‘Hathi Baramdah” and are whisked to the library to be checked in. The palace unfolds for you with a quick brief before you are shown to your room or suite.
The palace sits on a raised hill above sprawling lawns on either side, a double storied mansion with turrets flanked on either side, rooms envisioned for work and leisure. A natural lake flourishes overhung with local weeds and creepers, close to one of the borders with clear walking paths that take your around the estate. The open verandahs meant as viewing parlours for the ladies of the family to watch Mayurbhanj Chhau performances and other art forms which flourished under the patronage of erstwhile rulers. The present renovation of The Belgadia Palace echoes the golden era of the state, furniture and fabrics for curtains and upholstery have been repurposed from the original palace, whose exterior was built to resemble the grandeur of The Buckingham Palace. Heritage comes alive here with old vinyl records, Persian carpets, old world chandeliers and oil paintings preserved well and displayed along the halls and porches of the estate. For guests, the verandahs, lounge and galleries are spaces for conversation, a game of cards or to immerse oneself in a book borrowed from the library. The winding and wide mahogany staircase takes you upto the upper chambers where the suites are done up in jewel tones, large enough to be a modest home in themselves with high ceilings and roomy ensuite bathrooms. The inventory adds up to four rooms and six suites and have antiques and collections of artwork, treasures of the royal family from their travels around the world. The design is young and colourful and contrasts with the heritage architecture in an interesting way.
The palace has several outdoor spaces and indoor galleries on the ground floor are for alfresco dining, especially delightful during breakfast with the early morning sun stirring the birds to a dawn chorus, the fragrance of frangipani and hibiscus in wafting around you. The main dining is for meals to be had together with the family or like minded travel friends made during your stay at the palace. The cuisine at Belgadia is mostly Indian and regional, with some of little known favourites of the region served up, homestyle,
An ideal two to three night destination, The Belgadia Palace has many attractions around. Just into Baripada town, a heritage walk or a slow cycling excursion allows you to explore the heritage buildings, the Mayubhanj Palace is repurposed as the women’s college, the Jagannath temple made as a replica of the temple in Puri in the 14th century, the courthouse etc. Art and craft excursions to a Dokra community, black stone carvings, and the Sabai grass workshops are excellent opportunities to engage with local craft people while visits to weekly markets are excellent opportunities for photography. Simlipal National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site is just 20 mins drive from Balipara and is home of the famous melanistic tiger and a great birding site. Well known for its vegetation and it’s many waterfalls, Simlipal is yet unexplored and hence very low on tourists. The temples of Khiching and hill top temples dedicated to the mother goddesses are important pilgrimage sites. Art forms like the Mayurbhanj Chhau offer travellers an insight into folk dance forms that flourished under the patronage of the Mayurbhanj rulers.
With Mayurbhanj, the RARE eastern circuit gets another interesting destination added to the Kolkata to Bhubaneshwar circuit that can be done by road, the route takes you through The Rajbari in Bawali and The Belgadia Palace.
Stayed in this beautiful Royal palace for 2 nights - 15th Aug to 17th August. If you are looking for a short trip or weekend getaway then you can surely visit this palace. We booked a Standard Room...
It was a wonderful colonial experience. The palace is worth a visit. The foot was good, the rooms are exquisite. Will definately come back for more. Its a perfect getaway location and super peaceful...
With its photogenic corridors and delicious food, my stay at Belgadia Palace will remain etched in the memory for a long time. The whole palace looks very well maintained when it comes to its indoors...
Nearest Airport : Kolkata - Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport : 229 km/4-4.5 hours
Nearest Railway Station : Kolkata Howrah station to Balasore station (90 minutes from The Belgadia Palace by road)
Nearest Bus Station : Kolkata (about 4.5 - 6 hours)