Bhitarkanika National Park - Odisha (Orissa)

Nestled in the estuarial Brahmani-Baitarani region of the north-eastern Kendrapara district of Odisha, Bhitarkanika National Park is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in the country.

Brief History
Previously the area used to be a hunting ground of the famous King of Kanika. It was converted into a sanctuary in 1975 and was called as Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The core area of the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary (about 672 sq. km.) was declared a national park in the year 1998.

The park is quite renowned for its giant Salt Water Crocodile which are usually 23 feet long. It is also home to several other animals such as wild boars, white crocodile, chitals, spotted deer, rhesus monkey, etc. The reptilian species of the area include Monitor Lizard, Indian Python, King Cobra, Olive ridley sea-turtles and many more.

The avian-fauna species of Bhitarkanika National Park include the Cormorants, Asian Open Bill, Darters, Egrets, Black Ibis, etc. Almost eight different varieties of Kingfishers can be spotted here.

Grasses like the indigo bush; trees like casuarinas, thespian, sundari; and mangroves are found in abundance in this park.

Reaching there
The nearest railway station is at Bhadrak (about 49 km away). Bhubaneswar airport (about 75 km away) is the nearest aerodrome. The park is well connected by roads with Bhubaneswar, Nowrangpur and Bhawanipatna. The park can also be accessed by waterways from Gupti, Jayanagar, Khola and Chandabali.

General information
Accommodation is available at Ekkakula, Dangamal, and Hawalighati. Since most parts of the forest are inhibited by mangrove forest, so motorboats are the only mode of commutation. The boat ride from Dangmal to Khola or vice versa should never be missed. Entry permit is required from the Forest Check Gate at Gupti and Khola, the two main entry points to the park. Hunting towers and artificial watering holes can be seen at many places. Medieval Hindu temples also found in the sanctuary, though the main attraction is wildlife.

Tourist information
Address: Bhitarkanika National Park, Kendrapara, Odisha, India.
Phone: +91-97192-51997 & 5947-253977
Ideal time to visit: October to March
Visiting hours: 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Entry fee applicable

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