The Palace Utelia is situated at a distance of 150 kilometers from
Baroda, 78 kilometers from Ahmedabad and en route to Bhavnagar. It is a
grandiose turn-of-the-century haveli (mansion), which is specially
imposing when compared to the hutments that crowd its high walls.
Description: The architectural style of the Palace Utelia is
predominantly Indo-Saracenic, and includes domes, pillars, arches and
Gujarati haveli style facades. The portioned entrance archway leads to a
row of columns on a high pedestal and from here one reaches the twisting
staircase to the main dining hall, which is illuminated by chandeliers
and spanned by portraits
total of 14 double bedrooms have been renovated to match the grandeur of
the building and feature attached baths with running hot-and-cold
showers, and dressing space. Some of the beds are real period pieces
inlaid with mirrors and ornate decorations. Each of the rooms open onto
private balconies or common verandahs with splendid views of the River
Bhugavo where demoiselle and common cranes gather. Even if you are not
staying here, it is worth dropping in for lunch on the way to Ahmedabad
and Bhavnagar or Palitana.
Facilities: The Palace Utelia has its own stable of horses and
bullock carts for rides in the village or the surrounding countryside.
For more accomplished riders, 3 to 5 cross country horseback safaris can
be arranged by the owners with tented camping arrangements along the
way. You can also hire 4 - wheel drive jeeps for trips to Velavadar
National Park, a 36 square kilometers tract to Savannah type grassland,
where you can see the largest herds of blackbuck antelope in India today
and one of the worlds greatest harrier-hawk roosts. Jeep excursions can
include a picnic lunch if you propose to spend a full day at the Park.
Another sanctuary near utelia is Nalsarovar, which mainly comprises a
100 odd square kilometers lake and its surrounding marshes. There are
country boats here for trips on the lake and you can see flamingoes,
pelicans, ducks, geese, cranes, storks, ibises and herons of myriad
species at reasonably close range.
Dining:Both Indian and Continental meals are uniformly good, and
buffets in the dining hall are reasonably priced. Courtyard barbecues,
enlivened by folk dances and music of the Padhar fisherfolk or Bharwad
shepherds can be arranged on request.