Hukitola, a 148-year-old monument on Jambu island in the Bay of Bengal of Kendrapada district, will soon feature on the Odisha tourism map.
The monument, a majestic building with underground rainwater harvesting system, is a symbol of the state’s glorious past in maritime trade. The place attracts students, scholars and history lovers throughout the year thanks to its scenic location and historical significance. Located close to the confluence of the river Govari, it is also a popular picnic spot.
Hukitola palace is situated in the Bay of Bengal close to Paradeep coast & close to Kharanashi jetty. One has to sail with a boat from Atharbanki nala jetty at Paradeep and move into Mahanadi river and then to back water of Jamboo to reach this picturesque island. An old and historic palace existing in broken form is the attraction.
The Hukitola building was built by the British during the Naanka Drought of 1866 to store rice imported from Burma and other places through the sea route. It bears testimony to advances made in construction technology in the 19th century.
Sources said, British arrived at Hukitola in the year 1750 and established a port for merchandise trade. They had also constructed a palace and a big godown in order to stock goods for their business on the banks of the rivers, covered with dense forests.
The port and the palace started shrinking its importance in 1924 when the Britishers established a port at False point. And later, in the year 1962 the central government established Paradip port.
The uniqueness of the palace, however, lies in its roof. Sloped in design, it helped rain water to flow down to four big water pots. The collected water was used for drinking purposes by the merchants throughout the year. It is a storm proof go-down constructed in the Jambu island by British according to the wish of Captain Harris. It consists of 11 large size and 9 small size chambers.
Last year, the state government had sanctioned Rs 1 crore to the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Programme to renovate Hukitola for eco-tourism. On January 5, director of Intach, Odisha, Malika Mitra visited the place to chalk out a plan to start renovation.