Gajlaxmi Palace in Dhenkanal, Odisha

Experience an old world charm of royalty in nature is what you can expect at Gajlaxmi Palace, only an hour-and-a-half drive from Cuttack. It is a royal palace built way up on Megha hill that overlooks vast stretches of forests, dotted occasionally by small villages. So thick is the forest that to a casual eye it is impossible to locate the palace from the highway. The view from the palace is incredible. And it is teeming with wildlife – birds, elephants, deers, civets, monkeys and wild boars are in plenty, while an occasional leopard may make a casual appearance.

The Palace has been converted into homestay and is owned by Kumar Saheb’s son Jitendra Singh Deo and daughter in law Navneeta and turned their age old home / Palace into a holiday destination to share their experience of mysticism of royalty set in the heart of nature. The food that comes from the kitchen is local and comes from the organic farm along the house. It has also a blend of Rajasthan’s royalty courtesy due to Navneeta’s connect to Chittorgarh and Maharana Pratap.

The thrill of being in the wild begins from within the dwelling. The Palace has a verandah that is shrouded in an eerie quietness. But to a keen ear the endless rustle of leaves and animal calls come from far.

Stepping out is not allowed unless accompanied with a trained forest guard. There are a few jungle trails that one can walk down in the morning and they offer splendid opportunities for small game and bird watching. Much of the wildlife viewing is at the only water hole in the region and strategically placed a few minutes from the palace.

If you are a Nature lover or wildlife enthusiast, keen on birding in India, a nature photographer, enjoy trekking & Jeep Safari or simply love the outdoor greens, the Gajlaxmi Palace, Dhenkanal is the perfect holiday destination for you. The foothills of Megha have something for everyone. You may get a chance of sightseeing animals like elephants, wild boars, barking deer, rabbits, jungle fowls, pea fowls, civet cats etc. in their natural habitat if you are lucky.

Experience a unique vacation with your personal hosts, being treated as royalty, enjoying all the comforts of home at Gajlaxmi Palace.

Homestays provides the travelers – A home away from home, with all the comforts & facilities for whatever duration it takes, to discover the highs & Lows, at incredible affordable prices. As the Homestay at Gajlaxmi Palace, experience the hospitality of the Royal Family & the unique feeling imparted while staying in a home & interacting with people of a different culture. The cross section represented here is carefully chosen by recognized homestays that will not hesitate to go the extra yard or make the additional effort to make your trip a pleasant & more memorable one.

 

Things to see: Temples, Wildlife & Bird watching, Trekking, Tribal Life & Culture, Tribal Handicrafts, Rich & diversified Flora.

 

Activities:

Nature Trekking, Wildlife Photography, Picnics, Angling, Jeep Safari, Tribal Tours, Star Gazing etc.

Please visit website of Gajlaxmi Palace in Dhenkanal for more details – http://www.gajlaxmipalace.com/index.htm

Barmer, Rajasthan

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Barmer is a desert town in the western part of Rajasthan and located 153 km from Jaisalmer. The town has many historical sites and is a tourist destination which is still secluded and unexplored. It forms a major part of the Thar Desert. Jaisalmer is to the north of this district while Jalore to its south, Pali and Jodhpur form its eastern border and shares a border with Pakistan on the west. Barmer is known for its rich crafts, dance and music. Small villages with mud-houses decorated with folk motifs, and colorfully attired people dot the landscape.

Barmer was formerly called Mallani after Rawal Mallinath, the son of Rao Salkha, the first Maharaja of Barmer. Barmer gets its name from its ruler Bahada Rao Parmar popularly known as Bar Rao Parmar who is said to have founded the town in the 13th century AD. He built a small town which is presently known as “Juna” which is 25 kms from the present city of Barmer.

After the Parmar’s, Rawat Luka – Grand Son of Rawal Mallinath established their kingdom in Juna Barmer with help of his brother Rawal Mandalak. They defeated the Parmars of Juna & made it their capital. Thereafter, his descendant, Rawat Bhima, who was a great warrior, established the present city of Barmer in 1552 AD and shifted his capital to Barmer from Juna. He built a fort on a hill situated in the city centre named Barmer Garh or Barmer Fort.

Once a camel trade route, this area is rich in craft that include wood carving, pottery, embroidery work and ajrak prints.

Sightseeings and Experiences
– Barmer Fort
– Jogmaya Devi Temple
– Mahabar Dunes (Thar Desert)
– Redanna Rann (Salt Desert)
– Kiradu Group of Temples
– Ajrakh Block Printing Centre
– Mangniyaar – Folk Singers

View of Mahabar dunes from Sanchal FortView from Sanchal fortSunset3Sunset2SunsetSunset zoom viewSunset viewSunset natureredanna-rann-sunset-movie_std.original.jpgRedanna Rann1Redanna RannRedanna Rann SunsetRedanna Rann Sunset view

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Kiradu Temples20Kiradu Temples18Kiradu Temples17Kiradu Temples16Kiradu Temples15Kiradu Temples14Kiradu Temples13Kiradu Temples12Kiradu Temples11Kiradu Temples10Kiradu Temples9Excursions
– Temple and Fort of Juna (Approx. 25 kms)
– Shri Nakoda Jain Temple (Approx. 100 kms)
– Devka Sun Temple (Approx. 60 kms)

There is only one property in the area for stay which is Sanchal Fort, please visit website for more details – https://www.sanchalfort.com/index.html

Lion Rock Fortress: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri, in Sri Lanka, is famous for the ancient Lion Rock Fortress which has historical and archeological significance.

King Kashyapa selected this site as his capital and constructed his Royal Palace on the top of this rock which is approx. 200 metres above the ground and decorated its sides with colourful frescos. After his death, the Royal Palace was abandoned and was used as a Buddhist Monastery.

The Fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.