Forests to explore in Odisha

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Odisha takes pride in its untouched forests and it is rightly so.

Odisha has been misinterpreted as an “underdeveloped state” for a very long time. What I would like to think is it is unsullied by the incessant need for capitalization. We don’t destroy our nature, we want to find ways to live with it. I cannot say for how long this will hold true in the future, but it is the truth right now and I am damn proud of it.

Okay okay, enough about what I feel. Let me help concrete your feelings about this by showing off some of the reserve forests that we take pride in.

Simlipal

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Simlipal

The jewel of northern Odisha, Simlipal is a tiger reserve forest established in 1973. It far outshines others in terms of beauty. It is an awe-inspiring place that will capture you with its serenity and stillness. The reserve covers an area of 2750 square kilometers. Simlipal reserve gets its name from the red silk cotton Semul trees found plentifully in this region.

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Wide variety of orchids found in Simlipal forests

Attractions: Wide variety of orchids

 The splendid Joranda and Baharepani waterfalls

 And of course, splendid Royal Bengal Tiger. 

You should definitely try the Jungle Safari and take part in the guided treks.

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Joranda and Baharepani waterfalls

Tikarpada

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Tikarpada forests are located around 200 kilometers from Bhubaneswar. It owes its fame to the Gharial Crocodile Sanctuary situated near Mahanadi river.  It is a natural wonderland for everyone to experience. It’s a world that constantly charms trekkers and environmentalists alike. 

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Tortoises of Tikarpada

Attractions: All sorts of wildlife including tigers, leopard, spotted deer, hornbills, antelopes, and the most sought after Crested Serpent Eagle.

Crocodile Sanctuary

Tribal villages nearby

Drop by this place for the perfect weekend trip!

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Crocodile Sanctuary of Tikarpada

Bhitarkanika

Sunset at Bhitarkanika
Bhitarkanika

It is the second-largest mangrove ecosystem after Sundarbans. Water flows into this ecosystem from rivers like Brahmani, Baitarani, Patasala, and Dhamra rivers. It has many canals through which water flows in abundance. Bhitarkanika also has the largest numbers of saltwater crocodiles in the country. They are an endangered species and hence highly protected here. 

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Bhitarkanika has the largest numbers of saltwater crocodiles

Attractions: A wide variety of wild animals like the saltwater crocodiles

Deers, hyenas, wild boards and many migratory birds

A staggering seven varieties of Kingfishers.

Do give the nature camps and boating trips a try.

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Many varieties of migratory birds can be found in Bhitarkanika

Brown winged KFSeven varieties of Kingfishers can be found in Bhitarkanika

Chandaka

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Chandaka

Chandaka is both a forest reserve as well as an elephant sanctuary.  It is found south of Cuttack. It is spread across 176 square kilometers. It was opened in 1982. It is a hotspot for a variety of fauna and flora. It is staggering to see so many varieties in one place. The Damapara wildlife sanctuary is known for many animals but elephants are the most famous! Let’s agree that elephants are adorable and here you will get to see a lot of them. 

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Chandaka is both a forest reserve as well as an elephant sanctuary

Attractions: It is mainly an elephant sanctuary so lots of elephants!

Watchtowers to help you take in all the scenery

Do visit this place once!

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Chandaka is an elephant sanctuary

Hadagarh

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Hadagarh

Hadagarh reserve is a wildlife haven. With so many animals and lush greenery, it is a picture-perfect place. It has a lot of scenic beauty to charm you. Located in the Kendujhar district, it is 20 kilometers away from Bhadrak. It also has high mountain ranges which add an extra touch of beauty.

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Hadagarh reserve is a wildlife haven

Attractions: Good spot for a satisfying picnics (preferably in winters).

Spot Muggar crocodiles in the Salandi Dam, wolves, hyena, jungle cats and a wide variety of birds as well.

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Wolves, hyenas and jungle cats can be found in Hadagarh

Pack your bags, grab your friends and head out to these amazing forest reserves for an unforgettable trip!

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About the Author: Meghna Samal

Bibliophile, foodie and an otaku. My room is my pastel-colored cave. Inside its walls lie my world of books, food, and anime.

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