~ Palaces of Western Odisha ~
A Palace is the residence of the royal or the home to a state head. The Odisha state was once home to fifty or more Gadajata Rajyas or Feudatory States. These feudatory states were a group of Princely States of British India now part of the Odisha state. These princely states were under the control of local rulers. The local chiefs’ status was recognised by the British as ‘tributary chiefs’ and their estates became the ‘Tributary Mahals’ of Orissa. In 1905, five Oriya speaking states of Bamara, Rairakhol, Sonepur, Patana and Kalahandi were added from Central Provinces and two states of Gangpur and Bonai were added from Chota-Nagpur Provinces. After Independence, all these states were added to Odisha in a different time frame. These states are now in the western part of Odisha.
Kalahandi or the Karond State had its capital in the Bhawanipatna town. It was recognized as a state in 1874. Raja Raghunath Sai from the “Naga” dynasty started ruling the Kalahandi area in 1005 and their state’s coat of arms has two cobras facing each other. Bhawanipatna, the capital city of Kalahandi, houses its Palace. It’s one of the oldest and modern palaces in Western Odisha.
The “Temple City of Odisha” was once home to the powerful Chouhan. They ruled this State for more than 300 years. They built a beautiful palace overlooking the river Mahanadi. From the palace, the view of dawn and dusk was breathtaking. It was a three story building made up of earthen bricks. After independence, the then king left the city as well as the palace and this resulted in its damage. Now the damaged building can be seen from a distance. The palace is surrounded by various temples.
The palace of ex-Rulers of Boudh locally known as Rajabati, is called as Jogindra Palace. This was constructed during the reign of Raja Jogindra Dev ,who was benevolent and generous ruler. The palace is a picturesque and handsome building commanding a fine view of Mahanadi. It was recognized as a state in 1874 and had its capital in Boudh town.
Bamanda State or Bamra state was one of the most advanced states in Odisha. It was one of the few states which used to generate hydro-electric. In the town of Debgarh it has its royal palace which is known for its architecture and planning. This palace has seen many ups and downs of this royal family. The Raja of Bamra belonged to the Gangabasi dynasty of Patana. He is believed to have been stolen as a child and was made the ruler of the state of Bamra by the Bhuyan and Kondh People during 1545.
Another part of the Bargarh District is known as “Borasambar” which was formerly the headquarters of the Borasambar Zamindari extending over 2178 Sq.Kms. Later, the headquarters of the Zamindari shifted to Padampur, one of the present sub-divisional headquarter.
The state of Patana was established by Raja Ramai Deo in around 1191 and the capital was Patnagarh. Once upon a time, the entire region of “South Koshala” was under the Patna state. His successors replaced Balangir city as the capital. In Balangir town, the beautiful palace is situated called “Sailashree Palace”. In between the lush greenery, a halt in the palace gives a pleasant experience. Modern architecture with ancient art attracts many people.
Rairakhol was a feudatory state in Bamra until the 18th century. The rulers of Rairakhol were Kadamvansi Rajput, the same as the dynasties of Saraikela, Kharsawan and Bonai. Rairakhol or the present day Redhakhol was the capital city. The war between Bamra and Rairakhol used to be constant and during one of these wars the whole of the Rairakhol ruling family was destroyed except for one boy who was hidden by a woman of the Butka Sudh caste. After he became an adult, he won back his kingdom.
Bonai was a princely state having its capital in Bonaigarh. The rulers of Bonai were Kadamvansi Rajput. The Bonai state was founded in the 12th century by one of four brothers belonging to the Kachawaha dynasty of Jaipur who were on a pilgrimage to Puri, another brother became the ruler of Talcher State and two others were killed.
Gangpur was a feudatory estate in Sambalpur. In 1821, the British authorities canceled the feudatory rights of Sambalpur over Gangpur and the ruler was granted a sanad by which Gangpur was recognized as a state. Its capital was Sundergarh town. On the bank of the river, a beautiful palace is situated and it has many beautiful temples.
In 1590, Patana Maharja gave the Khariar Zamindari to his son Yuvraj Gopal Sai Deo and he was crowned as the first king. In the middle of the city, the Palace stands long. This palace has seen many scholars of the royal family. One such is the present king Raja Jita Mitra Singh Deo.
The Sambalpur Raj or Hirakhand Samrajya was established by the Chauhans of Patna. During the 15th century, the Patna state was bifurcated. The first ruler was Raja Balaram Dev and the last was Veer Surendra Sai who fought with the British for the chair. Once upon a time Sambalpur was having the office of the political agent of Twenty Five states and they used to visit Sambalpur at least twice a year. For their stay they had built many palaces which are ruined now.
The Athamallik state was a former Jagir recognised as a state in 1874. The capital was in Kaintarqgarh. In the 11th century, the Jagir was established by King Pratap Deo of the Kadamba Dynasty. Pratap Deo was said to have found a Honda metal vessel which was considered an auspicious sign, after which the territory was then named “Hondpa“. In 1904, the state was mentioned as a tributary of Boudh State.
In Western Odisha one can find many palaces. Most of them have been demolished. Still few palaces like Raja Bakhri, Patna House of Sambalpur and many palaces in Sonepur district are crying to their fate. The government should take major steps to maintain these palaces like they did for the Rani Bakhri in Sambalpur. All these Palaces of Western Odisha can be used to attract more tourists and historians.