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Hukitola Palace in Bay of Bengal: Cynosure of Beauty and Spirituality

D N Singh |
If official sources are to be believed, a floating jetty is going to be set up at Jamboo using an estimated fund of Rs 9.24 lakh.

About 157 years ago, the spot was just like a huge rock bed in the bosom of the Bay of Bengal. Today, this island has become a destination for nature lovers, students of history, and researchers.

Standing tall and quiet in the middle of a turbulent ocean, Hukitola Palace has grown to become a cynosure of many beauties scripted on a hillock somewhere near the Mahanadi Delta in the Bay of Bengal on the Odisha coast.

What a remarkable experience – an unforgettable boat ride, the calm environment with mangrove forest covers, and the historical monument’s allure can make tourists pay a visit to the spot again and again.


The Blend of Realism and Fantasy

Couched in an eerie blend of realism and fantasy, there stands a massive structure, like a sentinel of the past, made of huge rocks on an 11,250 square feet area, manifesting the technical brilliance of the then British engineers.

From a distance, it reflects the feel of ethereal beauty absolved in a kind of mystic air created by the early morning fog.

The closer one goes, the clearer the marvels hidden in this mystical-looking historic structure that emanates a feeling of spirituality.

History of Hukitola Palace

British India’s former Cuttack collector John Beams and chief engineer of irrigation J. Huki Waker were the architects of the historic monument who had chanced upon this spot and had decided to make it a place of replenishment during a catastrophic fallout.

It is 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with 11 large and nine small chambers. Huge arch-shaped openings row the wide courtyard.

The height of the rooftop from land is 30 feet.

History says that during the great famine of 1866, the British built the warehouse. Rice from various parts of the country made its way to Hukitola Island for storage and later for distribution among the starving masses.

Another uniqueness of the Hukitola Palace, however, lies in its roof. Sloped in design, it helped rainwater to flow down to four big water pots. The collected water was used for drinking purposes by the merchants through the years.

However, after some decades, this fantastic spot suffered a long phase of neglect, and the beautiful structure slowly reduced to a ruined glory.

During the winter season, several tourists from various parts of Odisha wished to go to Hukitola to spend their leisure time. Still, due to the lack of infrastructure development at the place, several tourists hesitated to visit Hukitola.

The media played a significant role in highlighting the precarious condition and the gradual decay. Then, the Odisha Tourism Department sprang into action, drawing a roadmap to resurrect the infrastructure of Hukitola Island, so that tourists and visitors, even foreign tourists, would come in large numbers to the tourist spot by getting all the facilities that generally one can find in other tourist destinations.

It may be noted here that the said colonial building Hukitola was tagged in the state tourism map in 2016.

The state Tourism Department started to spend a sum of Rs 1.87 crore for the infrastructure development of Hukitola Island.

If official sources are to be believed, a floating jetty is going to be set up at Jamboo using an estimated fund of Rs 9.24 lakh, whereas a sum of Rs 7.04 lakh will be spent on enhancing the floating jetty at Hukitola.

An estimated fund of Rs 24 lakh is going to be spent on illumination at Jamboo and Hukitola Island, a sum of Rs 30 lakh will be spent on the repair work of the solar system at Hukitola, a sum of Rs 5 lakh is going to be spent on a display wall at Hukitola, for augmentation of pindi at Hukitola a sum of Rs 12 lakh is going to be spent by the Odisha Tourism Department.

The views expressed are personal. 

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