Mayurbhanj, March 19 (LocalWire): How about living life kingsize, or for that matter queensize for some days and enjoy the pampering only reserved for royals?
Meet Mrinalika and Akshita M Bhanj Deo who can turn your dreams to reality.
The sister duo, daughters of Praveen Chandra Bhanjdeo, the ruler of the Bhanja dynasty of Mayurbhanj, has re-opened the gates of Belgadia Palace, that is just 3.5 hours away from Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar and Jamshedpur to the common man.
‘Part of the palace has been turned into a boutique hotel after extensive restoration work. We preserved the antique furniture that were handcrafted for the royal family,’ said Mrinalika.
They spent initial childhood days in Kolkata and then went abroad for their higher studies. But there was always a desire to return and do something to help their native state prosper.
The idea of taking in strangers at their erstwhile home and treating them to a lifetime experience clicked and the entrepreneur in them set to work.
They replicated the Buckingham Palace and redesigned 25 rooms with different themes and colours to suit modern tastes.
The sisters involved the locals as staff and trained them properly. The family, too, actively engages with the guests. The sisters also act as tourist guides when people visit the palace.
The palace tour is complete with tours to temples, wildlife parks, waterfalls and colonial heritage tours. Simlipal, India’s second largest biosphere is a few hours from here.
‘To be a royal in this era doesn’t only mean holding the pride or behaving like one but rather try and become a curator of their own heritage. We will, one day, surely change the way the world perceives Odisha,’ says Akshita.
By profession, Mrinalika is a professional yoga teacher and organises yoga sessions abroad and Akshita is the brand strategist of Global Citizen India and they contribute their income to NGOs for sports education of young girls and to preserve dying Odia arts like Mayurbhanj’s Chhau, a martial arts form.