Orissa is a beautiful state located in the South-Eastern part of the country known for its intricately designed temples and the famous Kuchipudi dance. The South-Eastern state is also home to a range of flora and fauna that are part of numerous wildlife sanctuaries across the state. The state is home to unique sanctuaries such as a lagoon that is also a bird sanctuary as well as a home for turtles that can only be found here. The state is home to a variety of migratory birds that come here for the beautiful mangroves and dense forests that are intertwined in rivers and streams. Let’s look at the top five National Parks or Wildlife sanctuaries of Orissa.
1. Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
The Chilika lake is known for being the largest freshwater lake in the country, apart from which it is also home to a variety of birds and aquatic animals that are unique to this area. The birds range from the white-billed storks to sea gulls and sea animals like lobsters and crabs can be found here. The lake is very popular amongst tourists who flock to the area for its rich biodiversity. The lake also has two islands that can be accessed which provide beautiful views of the water and nearby areas. The Chilika Wildlife sanctuary is one of the most iconic places to visit while in Orissa!
2. Kotagarh Wildlife Sancuary
Kotagarh Wildlife Sancuary is the natural habitat of a sizeable tiger population that co-inhabits the area along with wild elephants and deer. This sanctuary does not see many tourists along the year which is why it is perfect for wildlife lovers who want to witness nature without the hustle & bustle of commercial tourism. This lovely sanctuary is also home to peacocks and neelgai that add charm to the place. It is a must visit for the off-beat traveller looking for a quaint place to relax and witness nature at its bets!
3. Hadahgarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Hadahgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kendujhar district that is known for its variety of animals which include the tiger, leopards’ and a range of jungle cats. The wildlife sanctuary has the Salandi River flowing within it that is home to crocodiles. Popular among the tourists, people visit the place to witness the breath-taking site of crocodiles in their natural habitat. The river has a dam built over it that can be visited as well.
4. Nandankanan Zoological Park
One of the famous wildlife sanctuaries of the State, the Nandankanan Zoological Park is located 17 kilometres from the city of Cuttack. The park is home to crocodiles, sambars, panthers and blackbucks. The park can be reached through the Barang railway station which provides a crucial link to the area. If you want to visit a cross between a wildlife sanctuary and a zoo, come visit the Nandankanan zoological park that is known to house over a hundred different kinds of wildlife and rare fauna!
5. Simlipal National Park
Simlipal National Park was initially a reserve forest for tigers, but now the sanctuary has a very large population of tigers that live in the area. The hilly region used to be a hunting site for the erstwhile royals of the region. Now, the park is home to one of the largest populations of tigers in the country. Tourists flock to the park for its scenic beauty as well as the chance to witness royal tigers in their natural habitats. Located at a distance of 300 kilometres from the capital Bhubaneswar, the park is a must visit for nature-lovers as well as tiger sightings!
Orissa is much more than just temples and historical monuments; it is a unique blend of forests, hills and lakes. This diverse set of geographical areas has resulted in the region to be home to a variety of flora and fauna. Visit Orissa to enjoy the multitudes of bio-diversity that the state offers!