Bhitarakanika forest which is unofficially called as ‘India’s own mini Amazon’ spreading over a vast area of 672sq km is the second largest mangrove forest after the well-known sundarban, famous for the Royal Bengal tigers. This place is situated in the estuarine region of Bramhani-Baitarani rivers in the Northeastern part of kendrapada District of Odisha with Bay of Bengal lying in the east.
In 1988, the core area of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary has been notified as Bhitarkanika National Park covering an area of 145sq km, which in 2002 became the part of Ramsar site. The main attraction of this national Park of Odisha is the giant salt water crocodile also called as estuarine crocodile which could be up to 22 feet.
This place houses approximately 215 species of birds including 8 species of kingfishers along with migratory birds from central-Asia and Europe. Apart from this you can spot a lot other fauna species like spotted deer, water monitor lizards , leopard cats etc. in this area. This place, which was once known as the hunting ground for the king of Kanika could be the best place to visit for wildlife and nature lovers.
Timing and fees:-
Discussing about the timing of this place, it remains open daily from 8am to 5pm. This place doesn’t close on public holidays. During the above mentioned time period you can roam around the park, go for trekking through the lush green forest , where you can see various birds and wildlife up close. Other than this you can enjoy boating here which will get you immense pleasure.
The park remains close for the tourists from 1st May to 31st july every year. During the rainy season this place gives a tough time to the travellers. So the best season to experience the pleasant beauty of the national Park is from October to March. During this time period the migratory birds from the central-Asia and Europe embarks their arrival.
The entry fees for the bhitarakanika park are twenty rupees and hundred rupees for Indian and foreign tourists respectively.
How to reach Bhitarakanika:-
Khola and Gupti are the main entry points to the park, which can be accessible from all major cities of Odisha. One can reach out to this place by rail, by air Or by road. Talking about the railway junctions Bhadrak and Cuttack are the nearest railheads to Bhitarkanika. The nearest airport to Bhitarkanika is The Biju Patnaik
International Airport situated in Bhubaneswar. It will take approximately 4 hours from the airport to reach the park via buses and taxis available outside the airport. A lot of people choose to drive directly from nearby cities like Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack. Some people also choose to reach the river port Chandibali via road and then can take boats from there to reach Bhitarakanika.
There are variety of options for you to stay at. From Star Rated Hotels, Eco Tour Nature Camps equipped with state of the art swiss tents and facilities to OTDC Government Hotels, Bed Breakfasts and Homestays to choose from. Some places in bhitarakanika to reside are estuarine village resort, hotel golden anchor, 16.5km away from the parkpark etc.
Places to visit in Bhitarakanika:-
This place is surrounded by rivers, brooks, beaches, islands and canals making it more attractive for tourists to visit. Apart from the fauna, reptiles and mammal population of the sanctuary, bhitarakanika has much more to offer you to make you feel contended. Following are some beautiful places near bhitarakanika where you can capture beautiful memories for yourself to cherish.
Garhimata sea beach:
The beautiful Garhimata Beach is the perfect destination for the couples and honeymooners searching for the perfect romantic place in and around Bhitarakanika. The beach becomes further thrilling between the months of January and March when the Olive Ridley Turtles which has been visiting the beach for ages, come to lay their eggs. It has now been declared as a national park to save these endangered species.
kanika palace that is situated in the rajkanika block is a massive palace constructed by Rajendra Narayan Bhanja Deo,known as the king of kanika. There is a museum inside the palace that has King’s war equipments, elephant skull, foot and the world’s largest crocodile skull, which is the point of attraction for the tourists. The palace is surrounded by Kharasrota and Baitarani river. People from all over the state and beyond come to visit this place every year making it one of the most popular palace in Kendrapada District.
The ancient Shiva Temple near Bhitarakanika is one of the notable place to visit. It’s beauty has been enhanced after the renovation which is one of the prime reason to gather a huge crowd here.
Silted Lotus Pond:
The national flower of India blossoms in many colors in the silted pond near Bhitarkanika. This unique garden for the lotus presents a mesmerizing experience for the city dwellers.
So, if you are planning to visit Odisha then don’t exclude this place from your bucket list because this place surely will give you your best time with the nature and nobody wants to miss this opportunity. So start planning a solo trip or a family trip to Bhitarakanika and collect as much memories as you can to cherish forever.