One of India's earliest Tiger Reserve, declared a national park in 1972, Similipal is home to about 100 tigers. The area in the hills of northeast Odisha was originally the private hunting ground of the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj and a source of timber till 1957 when it was declared a wildlife sanctuary. Similipal comprises dense sal forests interspersed with rosewood, broken by expanse of savannah grasslands. Spectacular view is provided by perennial streams traversing the forest, gorges and falling cascades. The lavish bounds of the park provide natural habitat to a rich variety of flora and fauna which includes 1076 species of plants including 94 varieties of orchids, 42 species of mammals, 231 species of birds and 29 species of reptiles.
Apart from the elusive tiger, this biosphere reserve boasts leopards, gaur, langurs, barking and spotted deer, sloth bears, mongoose, flying squirrels, porcupines, turtles, pythons, monitor lizards and pangolins. The rare muggers or marsh crocodiles can be spotted in rivers or basking on the banks. Near the western entry poin at Jashipur there is a Crocodile Rearing Centre. Herds of elephants walking majestically especially in the grasslands at Bacchuri Chara, also one of the best spots to view wildlife, is a regular sight. The big cats can be spotted on the hilly tracts or around the salt licks at places like Chahala. However, the larger wildlife is concentrated inside the core area, mostly out of bounds. The peaks of Khairibaru (1178 m), Meghasani (1158m) and also the gorgeous waterfalls, such as those at Joranda (150m) and Barehipani (400m) are of great attraction.