Century-old Palaces in Odisha Where You Can Actually Stay

Odisha is the cradle of cultural heritage and is sought-after for its beautiful architecture, art, and history. While Odisha is studded with myriad fancy hotels and accommodations, here’s a thought: to capture the true essence of a place, you need to dig deep, even if it means residing in the mere lap of where it emanated. Well, lucky for you, if you’re looking to explore the true essence of Odisha, you can spend a night (or two, who’s judging?) at one of these century-old palaces that allow you to relax, reminisce, roam and rejoice! Yes, we mean literally stay in the palace.

The Belgadia Palace 

Belgadia Palace Odisha

Established in the 18th century, the Belgadia Palace is a grand victorian brick-built structure – a mingling of Greek and Victorian architecture. Home to the quondam royal family of Mayurbhanj and present-day home to the 47th ruler of the Bhanja dynasty and his wife – it is now a heritage hotel that offers its guests a trip down memory late and introduces them to the local tribal community.

Things to do:

Watch a Chhau performance that celebrates martial arts, athletics, and acrobatics and tells stories of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other epics. Visit Mayurbhanj’s popular handicrafts village and shop for Sabai grass crafts made by local artisans. You can also witness a Dokra artist in action at the palace. Do not miss the Simlipal National Park and the many surrounding colonial structures.

Kila Dalijoda

Kila Dalijoda Odisha Palace

Kila Dalijoda used to be an exclusive hunting resort of a king hailing from Panchakote Raj state of West Bengal. It has been transformed into a mesmerizing eco-friendly heritage homestay by the king’s descendants. This two-storied mansion situated a stone’s throw away from Cuttack is made up of laterite stone and is surrounded by two large water bodies which add to its serene scenic aura. 

Things to do:

Apart from grand dinners under the moon, you can enjoy traditional home-cooked meals whipped up by the family itself and explore tribal village life. Additionally, you can take in Odisha’s cult and culture or go on an adventurous trek or nature walk, either by foot or on a bicycle.

Dhenkanal Palace 

Dhenkanal Palace

Dhenkanal Palace comprises apartments, courts, and gardens settled against the Garhjat Hills of the Eastern Ghats in Odisha. The palace is built on the site that saw a long-drawn siege and war and was the residence of the king of Dhenkanal. It offers its guests spacious rooms and lounges as well as the library of the king of Dhenkanal where guests can coop up and read. 

Things to do:

At Dhenkanal Palace you witness Odisha’s handicrafts, handlooms, temples, and monasteries. Hop into the Durbar Hall for special folk music and dance recital shows. You can get a sneak-peak into Odisha’s cultural diversity with the tribal villages Majhis, Mundas, and Sabars’ itineraries. Outdoor treks are available too!

Killa Aul Palace 

Aul Palace Odisha
Photo Credit: Rakesh Kumar Bal

Aul Palace was built in the year 1590 A.D. (yeah! It’s THAT old!). It has, since then, been the royal residence of Kalinga Gajapati Mukunda Deva and his descendants. Aul Palace is an amalgamation of medieval art and modern finesse. It is scattered across acres of land and is nestled on the bank of river Kharasrota which kisses the palace walls on the West and North. 

Things to do:

You can explore the many period buildings enclosed within the palace flaunting art that will teleport you to the bygone era. Take a walk down their massive orchard and drink from toddy pods for a taste of authenticity. Soak in nature at its finest or take a dip in the adjoining river. You can also discover an uninhabited island which is a coveted picnic spot. Take a tour of local villages to witness some of Odisha’s finest handicrafts, pottery and stone carvings.

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