Bhitarkanika to Simlipal: Odisha’s National Parks and forest reserves

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A view of the Chilika Lake in Odisha. (Photo:

Apart from preserving a rich heritage and culture, Odisha is also home to a huge range of flora and fauna. It consists of jungles, waterfalls and wildlife – making Odisha exotic and incredible in its own way.

Here is a list of the top National parks and wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha.

Bhitarkanika National Park

The Bhitarkanika National Park is located in the northeast part of the Kendrapara district of Odisha and is spread in about 145 sq. km. The mangrove forest is home to saltwater crocodile, Indian python and many other animals.

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The Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of the endangered saltwater crocodiles in India. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, Bhitarkanika makes a good place to sight the crocodiles, other reptiles like king cobra, monitor lizard in their natural habitat.

Chilika Lake

The Chilika lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon. It is spread in about 1,100 sq. km of area. It covers the Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of Odisha and is home to 160 species of birds during the migratory season.

Simlipal National Park

The Simlipal National Park is a forest reserve located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. It is basically a tiger reserve spread across 2,750 sq. km of area. Also, waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani waterfalls are famous here.

Debrigarh Sanctuary

An Indian Gaur in the Debrigarh Sanctuary.

The Debrigarh Sanctuary covers approximately 347 sq. km of area and is located in the Bargarh district of the state of Odisha. There are many species of animals, birds, spiders, reptiles, fishes, amphibians, and many more inhabiting this sanctuary. It is now declared as an “Eco-Sensitive Zone” to safeguard the woods from the industries and hence protect the ecosystem.

Satkosia Tiger Reserve

The Satkosia Tiger Reserve has approximately 524 sq. km of core area and 990 sq km of total area. The reserve is located in the Angul district of Odisha and is a part of the river Mahanadi that flows through this reserve forming a 22 km long Canyon and is named after the reserve as “Satkosia Gorge”. This reserve is home to diverse wildlife.

Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary

Also known as the Ushakothi sanctuary, the Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year 1962 and is approximately spread around an area of 304 sq. km, and is situated about 22 kms from Sambalpur. It consists of plant species such as sal, sandalwood, neem, and more and fauna species such as tiger, elephants, leopards, and bison.

Balukhand-Konark wildlife sanctuary

The Balukhand Konark Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in between Konark and Puri. It includes different kinds of plantations and species like monkeys, squirrels, mongoose, jungle cat, Jackal, and many other different varieties of birds and reptiles.

Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary

The Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and a proposed tiger reserve situated in the Nuapada district of Odisha and sprawls in an area of approximately 500 sq. km.

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The Jonk river flows through the Sanctuary and a dam has been built in the catchment area to provide irrigation. It is home to a wide variety of fauna consisting of animals such as leopards, tigers, swamp deers, sloth bears, and many more. Langurs, monkeys, and birds can also be spotted here.

Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary

Most popularly known as Chandaka Elephant Sanctuary, the Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the south of the Cuttack district of Odisha and covers approximately 194 sq. km of area. It covers six different types of vegetation and covers different types of forests. The types of fauna found here are elephants, leopards, chital, deer, rhesus monkey, mongoose, wild bears, and many more.

Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary

The Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary is the only marine sanctuary of Odisha and is understood for being the one of the largest nesting beach for Olive Ridley Turtles.

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