GM University to adopt Raja Bakhri for preservation

Accordingly, students will lend a helping hand in cleaning the palace and promote the heritage building among people. 

Published: 29th September 2021 03:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2021 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

File photo of Raja Bakhri

By Express News Service

SAMBALPUR: The School of History of Gangadhar Meher University has pledged to adopt the iconic Raja Bakhri (King’s Palace) for promotion and preservation of the monument under its Heritage Awareness Programme.Under the programme, students will visit lesser-known heritage sites in the region for research and make efforts to promote their historical significance. The first such visit was organised to Raja Bakhri on Sunday which was attended by 40 students of History department. 

Professor of History Atul Pradhan said, “Sambalpur is dotted with several heritage buildings and cemeteries which are lying neglected. Many people are not even aware of their existence and importance. Due to lack of awareness and conservation, these monuments are in a ruined state. The aim of this programme is to make students aware about local history and heritage besides encouraging them to safeguard them.”

Pradhan further said the success of heritage conservation initiatives depends on understanding and participation of the local community. Accordingly, students will lend a helping hand in cleaning the palace and promote the heritage building among people. 

Member of INTACH, Sambalpur Chapter Deepak Panda said GMU has taken a unique initiative to identify and research on local historical monuments. “A few years back, INTACH had proposed the State government for renovation of Raja Bakhri. A detailed project report of Rs 2.5 crore was also submitted. However, there has been no progress in this regard so far,” he informed.

Raja Bakhri is one of the biggest palaces in Odisha. It was built by King Chhatra Sai in the early 17th Century. The two-storey building has around 40 rooms. According to researchers, Surendra Sai had stayed in the palace for a few days during the 1857 uprising after he entered Sambalpur with 1,500 of his supporters. Besides, local freedom fighters had waved the national flag atop Raja Bakhri during the Quit India Movement.

Currently, the palace is in a dilapidated condition with many parts of the building vandalised over the years. In 2017, the Sambalpur Press Club and some other organisations had undertaken an initiative to clean the premises of the palace. However, it could not be sustained for long.


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