Parlakhemundi was the capital city of the famed Parlakimidi Jamindary, now situated at the southern part of Odisha in Gajapati district. History has witnessed this city as the epicenter of the rule of Eastern Ganga dynasty. During the English rule though its status has been squeezed to a Estate only, it has never stopped its development activities. The benevolent attitudes and broadmindedness of the rulers have also impressed the Eglish officers at several times. So they have entitled its ruler Gajapati Krishnachandra dev with Maharaja Title. This state has played much important role in assembling the Odia speaking parts, propagating modern education system, building state infrastructures etc.
History and Folklore
Though a large part of the estate are now lying in Andhra Pradesh, the only city Parlakhemundi will take you to thousands of years back in the history. The elegant buildings found all around the city with marvelous architecture still attracts any one at the first glimpse.
Apartfrom the story of Gajapati Maharaja ruling in Puri, Parlakimidi is only estate where another Gajapati dynasty is found. There are many schools of thought regarding the evolution of Gajapati kings at Parla khemundi. Some says this Parlakhemundi is one part of the ancient Khemundi Rajya. It was established by Hambir Deva the elder brother of Gajapati Purusottam Deva (of Puri from 1466-1497) who has been defeated by Purusottam. Other researchers rejects it saying, if the present members of parlakhemundi were originated from the Kapilendra’s Gajapati dynasty then they would have declare them as Suryavamshis, but they call themselves as ChandraVamshis. On the other hand it is said that, this dynasty was present much before the Gajapatis of Puri as a part of the Eastern Gangas. So the evolution of Parlakhemundi kings are still in confusion.
History has witnessed that Prataprudra Gajapati Narayan Deva settled his new capital and named it as Parlakhemundi for better ruling. Gourachandra’s grandson Gajapati Jagannath Narayan Deba-III has planned to make a beautiful royal house in the southern part of Odisha by his own fund. Influenced by the then British made buildings he passed the responsibility to a Brtish architect Mr. Chessolm for its design. The total estimation for this construction was approved at Rs24 lakhs and 20 thousand rupees. An advance of 4lakhs and fifty thousand was given to him from the Samasthanam Office as per the records of the palace.
The Palace also has its recreations retreats like a fully-furnished billiards room and a permanent cement tennis court. Past champions like Ghous Mohammed and E.V.Bob have enthralled the local tennis enthusiasts, with their brilliant display in exhibition tennis matches at Paralakhemundi. The Gajapathi Press was also installed within the Palace, rendering invaluable
service for the propagation of Odia language and literature. A chocolate factory in the name of Gajapati chocolates was also functioning at that time.
Presently the Palace found with 80 furnished rooms attached with separate bathrooms. In the past there were 3 servant villages or Poili Sahisin the same compound. After the Zamindari abolition act 1952 they were separated and only the palace land is attached to the Raja’s private property. The present Gajapati needs Govt help to make it a heritage home for the tourists.