Akshita M Bhanj Deo and her sister, Mrinalika, along with her family are Directors of the 200-year-old Belgadia Palace in Mayurbhanj and are working to build sustainable tourism with social impact at its core to the tribal-dominated region. Akshita is a TedX speaker and currently a manager at Dasra working to build a conversation around strategic philanthropy in India through GivingPi. Both sisters have been featured in numerous publications such as Yourstory, South China Morning Post and India Today , CNBC TV 18 on their work in sustainability and arts and culture. The Belgadia Palace and Mayurbhanj, Odisha were also featured in Time Magazines’ greatest places to visit in 2023.
Some of our milestones since we opened in August 2019:
- 1000 guests in 2.5 years
- 500 property tours on heritage conservation and heritage
- 100 meet and greets with Dokra and Sabai Grass artists with ORMAS
- 100 Mayurbhanj Chhau dance performances with our local NGO partner Project Chhauni
- 400 ration kit distributions to families affected by covid 19 supported by organizations like Creative Dignity and Youth Feed India
- 2 volunteer-led trips to empower the local community students with Living to Change and Youth for sustainability
- 3 artist residencies, 1 international from an artist duo from New Zealand and 1 national with an emerging photographer from Bhatinda and a partnership with Frequencies Foundation and 1 with the BEADS Studio in Bhubaneshwar
- 1 grant tie-up with the Mehrangarh Fort Museum and Trust supported by the Tata Trusts heritage conservation initiative.
They run fundraising drives to deliver sports equipment and kits to the youth and hold workshops on conservation and livelihood capacity training since many live on the fringes of the Simlipal Elephant and Tiger Reserve and biosphere which witnessed the tragic forest fires this year.
Read the full story that first appeared in Global Indian here: