Wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha

Nature & wildlife

animal sanctuary & reserves

Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary

tourists of elephants taking guided safari at Similipal national park, one of the prominent wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha
Similipal: Photo Courtesy eodisha tourism

The Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries of Odisha and is a prominent tiger reserve of the state. Moreover, it is the 7th largest national park in India. It is in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha and covers a total of 2750 Sq km land area. Currently, this national park has three protected areas, namely the “Similipal tiger reserve”, the “Hadgarh wildlife sanctuary” and the “Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary”. Similipal has got its name from the “red silk cotton trees” that grows here in abundance.

Similipal national park is home to a large species of wild animals like the Royal Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, Gaur and Chausingha. Moreover, it houses some of the most beautiful waterfalls of the state. Barehipani and Joranda being the most prominent ones. Currently, this thick biosphere reserve is one of the most important tiger projects in the country. Other than tigers and elephants, this sanctuary also houses 1076 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds.

 ATTRACTIONS

Other than the natural beauty of this place, what attracts tourists the most are the mesmerizing waterfalls it nestles within. The magnificent Joranda and Barehipani along with other smaller waterfalls like Devkund are sure to make one spell bound. While at Similipal, one must experience the the Jungle safari and the guided jungle treks. Birding is another activity which is highly recommended at this place.

ACCOMMODATION

There are several accommodation options near and within the national park where one can enjoy a stay close to nature. However, the recommended option is the Similipal Nature camp set by the tourism department of Odisha.  Here, not only one can enjoy a stay in the laps of the nature, but also enjoy the high quality hospitality that represents Odisha.

How to reach

Nearest airports are at Bhubaneswar which is about 270 kms and Kolkata at about 240 kms from Similipal. Nearest railway station is at Balasore, at a distance of 76 kms. However the best way to reach this place is by road. One can best enjoy the scenic beauty of this place if travelling by a private means of transport like cab or taxi. Private taxies and cabs can be taken from Baripada which serves as the entry gate to this park. Baripada is at a distance of 55 Kms from Balasore and 240 kms from Bhubaneswar.

Belghar Wildlife Sanctuary

The Belghar Sanctuary is one of the prominent wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha and is in Kandhamal district. On the other hand, it is a moist deciduous forest and is at a distance of 158 km from Phulbani town. Moreover, it covers a huge land area of 16,174,46 acres and is at a height of 2255 feet above sea level. A rich variety of flora and fauna along with several wildlife species are found here. Here, Wild elephants are found in large numbers.

Also, Belghar sanctuary is home to Sambar deer, spotted deer, black buck, leopard, sloth bear and large variety of rare bird and reptile species. One such rare snake found here is the Boiga forsteni. The main vegetation of the sanctuary consists of dense moist deciduous forests with grasslands. However, the major attraction of this place is the tribal villages. Tribal groups like Kutia Kondh and Desia Kondh inhabit the sanctuary.

ATTRACTIONS

Major attraction of Belghar Sanctuary is a wooden bungalow from the British era. Nonetheless, this attracts a large number of visitors and nature lovers.

Daringbadi “The Kashmir of Odisha”, a beautiful hill station in Odisha lies at a distance of 113 Kms from here. One can reach Daringbadi Via NH59.

ACCOMMODATION

Bungalow constructed of wood is a major tourist attraction at Belghar willife sanctaury
Wooden Bungalow: Photo credit Kandhamal NIC

Nature camp set by tourism department of Odisha amidst the forest is the best option for Accommodation here. A group of local people manage this camp site. Hence one can experience the best of local cuisine and hospitality  along with the beauty of nature to the fullest.

On the other hand, a stay at the wooden Bungalow can be a lifetime experience for any visitor.

HOW TO REACH

Belghar Sanctuary, one of the prominent wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha is at a distance of 291 Kms from Bhubaneswar, which is the nearest airport. The nearest railway station is at Phulbani. Taxi or cab can be taken from both these places to reach Belghar Sanctuary.

Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary, is yet another important and prominent wild life sanctuaries in Odisha. If you want to watch the largest living reptiles, then this is the place. Bhitarkanika national park spreads in about 145 sq. km and is in the northeast part of Kendrapada district. Nevertheless, it is famous for being home to the largest saltwater crocodiles. On the other hand, several other species of reptiles like the Indian Python, King Cobra, Black Ibis, spotted deers, wild boars etc. can also be seen in abundace here. It is a treasure house for nature lovers as this place is also home to about 215 species of birds along with several varieties of flora and fauna which are exclusive to this place. 

Bhitarkanka, popular as the “Mini Amazon of India”, is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in Indi. Moreover, it is only the second Ramsar site of the state after Chilika. The beauty of this place lies in the waterway network formed by rivers Brahamani, Baitarani, Dhamra and Pathsala through out the forest. 

ATTRACTIONS
Boat ride through waterways at Bhitarkanika wildlife Sanctuary
Bhitarkanika: Photo credit Telegraph India

Major attraction of this national park are the large salt water crocodiles (some measuring upto 23 feets) which are found in Abundance here. Along with that, other wild life species can also be easily seen here at almost all locations. 

A boat ride from Khola to Dangmal or the other way round can be an experience of lifetime, Khola being one of the gateways to the park. This boat ride passes through dense mangrove forest and provides the best chance of wildlife spotting. However, make sure to plan this trip early in morning or just before sunset.

ACCOMMODATION

There are several hotel accommodation options available in and around the national park. However, the nature camps set by the tourism department of Odisha deep within the forest are the best option to enjoy the stay close to nature.

HOW TO REACH

Khola and Gupti are the main entry gates to this park. Nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar, at a distance of 145 Kms and nearest railway station is at Bhadrak. However private cabs or taxis can also be taken from both these place for a comfortable journey.

Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary

The Kuldiha wildlife Sanctuary is in Balasore District of Odisha. It spreads across 272.75 Sq. km and links with Similipal national park. Moreover, it is a moist deciduous forest by character. It became a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1984. The Mayurbhanj elephant reserve spreads through Kuldiha, Hadgarh and Similipal and is locally known as the Tenda elephant reserve. Animal lovers can enjoy the wild life and nature from the watch tower set here for the convenience of tourists at Garsimulia. A small stream runs through the forest which is visible from the watch tower and is the main water source for animals here. Tall Sal trees dominate the vegetation here. Other Than the elephants, several other species of animals like Leopards, Gaur, Sambar, Giant Squirrel and birds like Hill Myna, Peafowl, Hornbills are also spotted here. This Sanctaury is one of the integral parts of Odisha Eco Tourism.

ACCOMMODATION

Options for night stay in form of tents and huts are available at Kuldiha, Jadachua and Rishia. Moreover, these camps operate under the community based ecotourism model. Hence it also benefits the locals and tribesmen residing in the core area of the forest.

HOW TO REACH

Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary lies at an almost equal distance from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha and Kolkata. The Nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar and the nearest railway station is at Balasore. One can take NH16 to reach Nilagiri and then proceed through a narrow but picturesque road leading to the Sanctuary. However, this sanctuary remains close during the peak monsson season i.e. from July-September.

Kuldiha Sanctuary is a heaven for wildlife and nature lovers alike along with researchers. It attracts a lot of tourist from around the world.