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5 Best Sanctuaries in Odisha

1) Simlipal National Park - Scenic simlipal, one of the important Tigers Reserves and National parks of India was once the  hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj.  It covers a vast area of 2750 sq kms, comprising of thick and green forests, extensive grassy lands, meadows and rolling hills. The park is home to rich and varied species of flora and fauna.  Over 1070 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds have been sighted here.  The key fauna  includes, tigers, leopards, elephant, gaur (Indian bison), mouse deer, flying squirrels, mugger crocodiles and a large number  of reptile species.  The park is traversed by about 12 rivers and has a number of waterfalls like Barehipani (399m) and  Joranda (150m).  The crocodile rearing centre at Ramtirtha near Jashipur is another attraction of the park.  The best season  is from Nov. to June.
Baripada (22kms) is the nearest town for the park.  The nearest airports are Bhubaneswar (270kms)and Kolkata (262kms), The best sightings are between April and May.

2) Chilika - Chilika lake, sprawling across an area of over 1,100 sq. kms during monsoon is Asia`s largest brackish lagoon.  It is a unique assemblage of marine brackish and fresh water eco-system with estuarine characters.  It is a unique assemblage  of marine, brackish and fresh water eco-system with estuarine characters.  It has the richest variety of aquatic fauna and is  a safe heaven for a large number of endangered species.  During winters, the lake attracts over one million migratory birds-     including osprey, grey legged geese, herons, cranes and flamingoes.  It is perhaps the largest congregations of acquatic     birds in the sub-continent.  Chilika was also designated as a "Ramsar site" that is wetland of international importance.  The     Nalaban, one of the biggest islands within the lagoon is notified as a Bird sanctuary.  The best time to visit is from October   to June.  Boating and fishing facilities are available at the lake, which is very rich in fish.  One can view the dolphins at  Chilika mouth near Satpara.  For cruising and visiting the islands, OTDC provides motor launches at Barkul and Rambha.   Other attractions are beautiful beach along Rajhansa and sacred Kalijai temple.  Chilika is also known for sunset and  sunrise views.
The nearest airport for Chilika is Bhubeneswar (110kms) and the nearest railhead is puri (50 kms).  From puri one can easily  reach satpara by road, while from B.B.S.R..one can reach Barkul on NH-5, the other entry point to Chilika.  The best time to  visit is between October and February.

3) Nandankanan zoo (20 kms from B.B.S.R) - The beautiful zoo carved out of the Chandaka forest is perhaps the finest in the  country.  The animals are kept in their natural habitat and a centrally located lake divides the zoo from the Botanical  Gardens.  The z00 is famous for white tigers as well as migratory birds, which come here during winters.  It also has the  country`s largest Lion safari park and white Tiger safari.  There is also a Ropeway and toy train.

4) Bhitarkanika National Park - Beautiful Bhitarkanika a wonder in the world is the second largest compact mangrove ecosystem  in India and is well known for its biodiversity in flora and fauna.  It is bounded by rivers on the 3 sides and the sea on the     fourth and has numberous creeks and canals which finally meet the sea and make the estuarine delta.  Bhitarkanika is     home to India`s largest populations of the endangered giant salt-water crocodiles and other animals like king cobra, python,wild pig, rhesus monkey, sambar, spotted deer etc.  Over 215 species of resident and migratory birds can also be  sighted here.  Located slightly away is  the coastal area of Gahirmatha, which is the world`s largest rookery for the Olive     Ridley Sea Turtles.  The pacific Ridley sea Turtles in lakhs travel annually from as far way as south Americal to nest at     Gahirmatha wild sanctuary.  Nature lovers and experts flock to Gahirmatha in November to view the amazing nesting site.      Another attraction is the crocodile Breeding farm at Dangmal.  The pride possession of this farm is the white crocodile   Sankhua, a rare species in the world.

5) Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary - Enclosing the mighty Satkosia gorge where the Mahanadi plunges into the Eastern Ghats, the Tikarpada Sanctuary is a very popular resort visited by tourists. The Mahanadi cuts through 22 km of the multi-hued collage of sal trees in Tikarpada, and a visit to the sanctuary is an awesome experience.

Boating, white water rafting, fish angling and treks through the lush forest are activities one can indulge in at the sanctuary. The Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is actively conserving and breeding the endangered species of the crocodiles in the Mahanadi ecosystem in Tikarpada. Though tigers are rarely sighted now, the wildlife within the sanctuary includes the Indian adjutant stroke, red jungle fowl and Indian pitta.

Located at a convenient distance of 120 kms from Dhenkanal and 58 kms from Angul, tourists can proceed to Saptasajya, a scenic picnic spot. The Saptarshi and Raghunath temples in the vicinity are also frequented by tourists visiting the sanctuary.

While the forest lodge is located within the forest, you can choose to camp out in the open with the special permission of the forest office.

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