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The world of nature is full of wonders sometimes tender, sometimes awe inspiring but all the time exciting. Some of them defy description and transcend perception. Such a land of rare and unmatched beauty is Bhitarkanika - a wonder in the wild.
Widely acclaimed for its biodiversity in flora and fauna, it is the second largest compact mangrove ecosystem in India. It is also a Sanctuary and National Park. Extending over more than six hundred square kilometres, it is one of the very few evergreen repository of most luxuriant mangrove vegetation in the world. More than sixty varieties of mangrove plants are found here which provide home to a variety of rare and endangered species. The pneumatophores, better known as breathing roots, stand like sentries of the land.
Bounded by rivers on the three sides and the sea on the fourth, Bhitarkanika is criss crossed by numerous creeks and canals which finally meet the sea and make the estuarine delta, the playground of the Bay of Bengal. When the tide enters, the forest floats and the water kisses the foliage. As it recedes, the multi layer mud flats on the banks of the creeks expose their bosom with fiddler crabs, mud skipper fish, little reptiles and the like. it's a sight to watch.
This deltaic region comprises a couple of tiny islands formed by the meandering creeks. With Dangmal at the centre stage (the others being Ekakula, Habalikhati etc), Bhitarakanika is a natural habitat of a lot of wild creatures like Crocodiles, King Cobra, Pythons, Wild Pigs, Rhesus Monkey, Sambars, Spotted Deer etc. There. is a Crocodile Breeding Farm at Dangmal. The pride possession of this Farm is the White Crocodile Sankhua, a rare species in the World.
Map of Bhitarkanika & GahirmathaOver 170 species of resident and migratory birds of different hue enhance the beauty of the wild. Prominent among them are King Fisher, Open billed Storks, Sea Eagles, Kites, Sand Pipers, Darters, Whistling Teals, Sea Gulls, etc. The chirping of birds nesting at Baga Gahana is sure to leave an indelible impression in any body's mind. Watching the wildlife in their natural habitat while cruising through the creeks is a thrilling experience. A trek on the laid out routes will also be equally rewarding.
Another amazing phenomenon of nature here is the visit of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles to Gahirmatha in lakhs twice every year between January and March to lay eggs en masse.
An unexpected additional attraction is the remains of 9th century monument - a temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and the other, a Shakti Shrine at Dangmal.
Away from the blinding lights and deafening sound, Bhitarakanika is a different world altogether, a real retreat in the lap of nature. Once in here, the world outside will virtually disappear. Back in work place, the memory will haunt like a fairy tale. Area (sq. km) - 145.00 Ideal season for visit - Round the year, movement inside the sanctuary through water routes.
Permission to visit Bhitarakanika can be obtained from Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar, Ph: (06729) 242460 on payment of prescribed fees.
Best season to visit
August to April.
Approach : Bhitarakanika can be approached only through water ways. Most convenient entry points being - Dhamara (40 km from Jamujhadi and 92 km from Balasore) Chandbali (60 km from Bhadrak and 190 km from Bhubaneswar) Rajnagar (30 km from Kendrapara and 130 km from Bhubaneswar) Gupti (25 km from Rajnagar) Motor boats are available on hire Rajnagar to Dangmal - 3 hrs Chandbali to Dangmal - 3 hrs Dhamara to Dangmal – 4.5 hrs Gupti to Dangmal - 1.5 hrs Regular bus service are available to Chandbali and Rajnagar.
Nearest Rail head
Bhadrak (60 km from Chandbali) Balasore (110 km from Chandbali) Cuttack (110 km from Rajnagar) Bhubaneswar (190 km from Chandbali and 130 km from Rajnagar) Nearest Airport - Bhubaneswar and Kolkata