Similipal: Let’s see The Royal Bengal Tigers in wild
Tigers are elusive, and their numbers are dwindling fast enough to sound alarm bells. So to be on the trail of the tiger is not only being adventurous, but also sharing a worldwide concern.
There are birds and spotted deer, and the shrill cries of cheetahs and the barking of the muntjacs reverberating in the deep jungle as one goes longer.
It is spread over 2,750 sq km of dense tropical forest, with flora ranging from semi-evergreen to dry deciduous. Stately sal trees and Santhali women foraging for barks and twigs for firewood are quintessential images of Similipal.
From May to June, it’s orchid time at Similipal. Fox-tails are the most spectacular, with foot-long chains holding hundreds of flowers. Similipal has 87 varieties of orchids in the park.
Daytime temperatures are soaring, the evenings are pleasant. The ruggedness is palpable at the Ramtirtha Crocodile Rearing Centre. But only the lucky ones can have a glimpse of the wild cats.
Tracking at Similipal is full of fun, but one needs to prepare oneself beforehand. Take plenty of time and make your plans known well in advance to the forest officials of Similipal Tiger Reserve.
There are countless salt licks that the animals frequent. Some of these ‘energy reservoirs’ are artificially created by officials.
There are the waterfalls. The spectacular Barhipani falls, with a drop of 400 meters.
This is the richest watershed area of Orissa and perennial rivers like Buddha Balanga, Khadke, Khairi-Bhandan, Salandi and Sanjo flow through it, re-creating a water spectacle.