Every once in a while, we all come across people who move us, motivate us, encourage us to walk that extra mile and I had the proud privilege to interact with Princess Akshita and Mrinalika and that’s when it struck me what a real princess is all about. It’s not just fancy clothes or to be born with a silver spoon, it’s stepping into your power, your lineage and growing it into something new. And that’s what these bold and beautiful girls are all about.
Royal sisters Akshita and Mrinalika Bhanjdeo belong to one of the 565 princely states that existed at the time of India’s independence. Daughters of Parveen Chandra Bhanjdeo, they belong to the 48th generation of the Bhanja dynasty. Very well educated and with corporate jobs in the US, one fine day they realized home is where their roots are and decided to restore ‘The Belgadia Palace’, their home and open it for people to experience Odisha’s history through its art, culture, heritage, along with encouraging sustainable tourism.
Mrinalika says, “We want people to come and explore Mayurbhanj, its tribal people, the youth and learn about our heritage and culture.” They want to use tourism as a vehicle for development and give back to the community that has stood by them for generations. With sheer passion, conviction and “trying to fake it, till they made it”, this duo has put Mayurbhanj on the world map, with this award-winning boutique hotel.
Encouraging the 200 women who attended the talk, Akshita candidly said, “Men are the head of the family but women are the neck, you can move the head where you want to.” Interacting with them made me feel you don’t need a Prince Charming to make you feel like a Princess, just make a difference in people’s lives and you’ll feel ‘royal’ and good about life!!