Bhitarkanika National Park (145 Kms)
Any, National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary
|Best Time to Visit
Any, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May
Bhitarkanika National Park is located in the Kendrapara District Odisha in eastern India. Core area of 145 square kilometre of the Bhitarkanika Wild Sanctuary, spread over 672 km2, has been designated as a National Park since 1998.
The national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal. Thus it become a vicinity of rich biodiversity
The park is home to Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), White Crocodile, Indian python, King Cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
The national park was created in September 1998 from the core area of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, which was created in 1975. The sanctuary is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India.
The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by a number of rivers - Brahmani, Baitarni, Dhamra, Pathsala and others.
It is a very good place to sight the giant Salt Water Crocodile, some growing to 23 feet in length, along with other reptiles like the Water Monitor Lizard and the King Cobra. Spotted deers and Wild Boars are abundant in the park and can be spotted at all the major locations. Eight varieties of Kingfishers are found here and can be spotted along the many creeks and riverines within the park.
The boat ride from Khola to Dangmal or vice versa is highly recommended. Khola is one of the gateways into the park. This is along an artificial creek and it passes through dense mangrove forest providing a glimpse into the estuarine ecosystem and its wealth of fauna. The best time to travel through this creek is early morning or before sunset.
Bhitarkanika has a very rich historical and cultural past. It used to be the hunting grounds of the erstwhile King of Kanika . The hunting towers and artificial watering holes can be seen at many places including Bhitarkanika trail and at Dangmal. It is also the home of medieval Hindu temples which can be found dotted throughout the sanctuary. But the major attraction remains the wildlife wealth.
Sightseeing is done on boats which have got forest department licenses. Main entrance to the forest is from Khola Gate, even though there is another gate called Gupti gate also. Tourism was almost non-existent here till a few years ago. This trend is changing steadily with efforts on the marketing front by one or two resorts. Odisha Government has shown little enthusiasm in promoting area for tourism. But of late Odisha Tourism is displaying Bhitarkanika as a destination for eco-friendly and rich nature where tourists can enjoy variety of wildlife and birds.