Odisha is one of the prime tourist hubs in India and boasts its natural wonders. The state showcases pristine beaches, forests, waterfalls, and lakes that enchant everyone. Most of the state’s natural wonders have diverse and luxurious flora and fauna that attract tourists and travelers from all over the world.
Some of these areas are protected and converted into national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. These areas in Odisha are nothing less than a piece of heaven for wildlife enthusiasts.
In this article, you will get to know about the following national parks and wildlife sanctuaries to visit in Odisha,
- Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bhitarkanika National Park
- Balukhand Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
- Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary
- Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
Let’s see each of these places in detail.
1. Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
|Area covered||346.91 square kilometers|
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique place that preserves both aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity in Odisha. It covers 346.91 square kilometers in the Bargarh district. The sanctuary is surrounded by the Hirakud Water Reservoir on two sides, providing a rich habitat for various wildlife species. This place has a tranquil and green environment, with woodlands and hills adding to its charm.
The biome consists of a dry deciduous mixed forest, with plants like Asana, Sal, Bija, Dhaura, Aanla, etc. that have ethnobotanical and medicinal values. The fauna includes leopards, tigers, sloth bears, elephants, antelopes, hyenas, and more. There are over 40 mammal species, 39 species of Odonates, 12 species of amphibians, 42 pieces species, 41 reptile species, 234 aves species, 85 species of butterflies, and 28 species of spiders.
Explore the place by going on a wildlife safari and spot as many animals as possible. You can also hike through the trails and discover the small colorful creatures that live there. Be patient and watch the local and migratory birds that flock to the sanctuary. If you want to relax and feel at ease after the adventures, there are picnic spots to do so.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February when the weather is delightful and the migratory birds arrive.
2. Bhitarkanika National Park
|Area covered||146 square kilometers|
Bhitarkanika National Park is a Ramsar site that lies in the Kendrapara district of Odisha. It spans 146 square kilometers and is flooded by rivers like Brahmani, Dhamra, Pathsala, and Baitarani.
The park has a fascinating natural setting, with a calm atmosphere. The songs of Birds and the sounds of insects add to its serenity. There is a vast mangrove forest, casuarinas trees, reed grasses, and other vegetation. It is also home to several species of fauna.
Some of the animals that you can find here are saltwater crocodiles, black ibis, rhesus monkeys, Indian pythons, otters, wolves, fishing cats, mongoose, etc. Bhitarkanika National Park also has 215 species of birds that live or visit here. The diversity is remarkable. It attracts several migratory birds during the winters from places like the Himalayas, Man Sarovar, Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, central Europe, etc.
Near the Bhitarkanika National Park is the Gahirmatha beach, which is a special place for the Olive Ridley Turtles. You can see these turtles coming to the beach to lay their eggs. They travel all the way from the South Pacific Ocean to this beach for breeding.
You can explore the park by taking a boat ride through the river and into the sea. You can also hike through the natural trails and admire the landscape. You can watch the birds and spot some exotic species. The park is a paradise for bird lovers, especially if you visit during the winter months.
3. Balukhand Konark Wildlife Sanctuary
|Area covered||87 square kilometers|
This sanctuary is situated between Puri and Konark in Odisha. It was established in 1984 and covers 87 square kilometers of land. The place is famous for its blackbucks and spotted deer, as well as its scenic location by the Bay of Bengal.
Balukhand Konark Wildlife Sanctuary offers great features, such as coastal dunes, cashew plantations, sandy beaches, and casuarinas tree groves. It has a magical and stunning natural ambiance, with picturesque views and a cool sea breeze. The sanctuary hosts squirrels, hyenas, jackals, jungle cats, monkeys, reptiles, and many other wildlife species. It is also the nesting ground of Olive Ridley Turtles, which come to the beach to lay their eggs.
You can explore the sanctuary by opting for the wildlife safari and seeing the animals in their natural environment. You can also admire the rich green flora, such as Acacia, Neem, Eucalyptus, and numerous others. If you are lucky enough, you can witness the incredible sight of the turtles laying eggs during the breeding season. You can visit the pristine beach and enjoy some fun activities.
The ideal time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February when the weather is pleasant and the wildlife is more active.
4. Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary
|Situated||Khurda and Cuttack districts|
|Area covered||193.39 square kilometers|
This is yet another wildlife sanctuary that is known for its pristine nature and splendor. The park is notable for its successful conservation of elephants, which roam freely in the vast area of 193.39 sq. kilometers.
The sanctuary is located in the eastern ghats near Bhubaneshwar and boasts a unique biodiversity. It houses six different types of biomes, namely, moist Kandaga forests, semi-evergreen forests, thorny bamboo breaks, coastal sal forests, Eupatorium shrub, and planted teak. The sanctuary is home to many species of threatened wild animals and birds. Barking deer, grey langur, small Indian civet, honey badger, Asiatic rock python, Russell’s viper, egrets, etc. are some of them.
The best way to explore the sanctuary is by taking a wildlife safari from one of the four major entry points: Godibari, Deras, Bharatpur, and Dampara. The safari duration is usually one hour and covers major watchtowers and viewpoints. From there, you can get a panoramic view of the wildlife, green meadows, lush flora, and serene lakes. You can also opt for an elephant ride or a nature walk to get closer to the wildlife.
5. Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
|Situated||Puri, Khordha and Ganjam districts|
|Area covered||1100 square kilometers|
Chilika Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is located on one of the larger islands by the Chilika Lake. The sanctuary covers 1100 square kilometers of land and water and hosts a large number of endangered plants and animals.
The sanctuary has a sublime environment, with amazing views of the sunrise and sunset over the lake. The sanctuary has 14 types of raptors, Irrawaddy Dolphins, reptiles, migratory birds, and other wildlife. One of the attractions of the sanctuary is the flamingos, which add a splash of color to the landscape.
The Chilka Lake is an ecological hotspot and is the most significant wintering ground for migratory birds in India. Here you can admire their behavior and learn more about them. On the land, you will notice bears, monkeys, jackals, deer, etc.
Get indulged in the dolphin-watching tour to spot the rare dolphins jumping over the waters. You can opt for a boat ride and later on drop by the Kalijai temple which is on an island there on the lake. At the southern end of the Chilika Lake is the town of Satapada, where you can stroll around and try some delicious seafood.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is between December and April.
These are some famous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha that are worth a visit.
It is always thrilling to enter the vast world of animals and plants and to see and feel how they live in their natural habitat. And if you are a nature lover, you will surely love these destinations.
Tour the pristine land and explore the untamed life that appears before you.
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