Similipal Tiger Reserve -Similipal - The Tiger’s Den
Once conceived as a hunting neighborhood for the royal family of the Mayurbhanj princely state, Similipal wildlife sanctuary, spreads on 2750 sq. km area and out of which 303 sq. km form the core part of the biosphere reserve. It is better known to the outer world as a tiger reserve and a national park of India. The forest was declared as a tiger reserve in 1956. Adding another feather in Similipal’s cap is “Mugger Crocodile Scheme” which begun in 1979 at Ramatirtha, Jashipur.
Similipal was declared as a biosphere reserve in 1994 by the government of India. And UNESCO brought this national park to its pages listing Biosphere Reserves in May 2009. But, despite having the status of one of the fifteen biospheres of India, the park is yet to be designated as a full-fledged park for the sanctuary houses 10,000 people in 61 villages inside the forest. That is why Simlipal is yet to be declared a full-fledged park
The panoramic view fashioned by the flora and fauna of Similipal is quite fascinating and has over the years become a tourist hotspot of Odisha. The tall sal trees, found abundantly, stand like natural guards of the park, the skyrocketing mountain peaks tell the rising glory of the park. While the average height of the mountains in Similipal is 900 meters, the Khairiburu and Meghasani peaks stands as tall as 1178 meters and 1158 meters respectively. Many rivers like Budhabalanga, Khairi, salandi, Palpala, etc. originate from the hills and with their rocky journey bisecting the park they have crafted beautiful but horrifying waterfalls at Barehipani (217 meters) and Joranda(181 meters).
The national park houses around aromatic and medicinal plants, belonging to 102 families and 1076 species of plants. The greenery while is laudable, there is no dearth of grazing and hiding ground for the herbivorous and carnivorous animals amid the grasslands and the savannas. Lanky Eucalyptus trees, planted during the end of nineteenth century by the British, do decorate the national park.
While the park is famous for tigers ( nearly 25 tigers are found to be inside the park according to a 2014 survey) and elephants, a total of 42 species of mammals, 242 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles have been identified in Simlipal National Park. The grey hornbill, Indian pied hornbill, Malagar pied hornbill and Indian trogon are also found in the reserve. This apart the park has a significant number of reptiles, including snakes and turtles. The "Mugger Crocodile Management Programme" has came as a fillip for the Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) s to survive and thrive in Khairi river.
The park remains open for the tourist during the winter and also early summer and the forest department of the Odisha government takes all care of the tourists and visitors for their hospitality and sightseeing needs. Similipal is situated 270 kms away from the state capital Bhubaneswara and is reachable via Balasore and Baipada on road. It is 240 km from Kolkata. The nearest railway station is Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj, The nearest airports are Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Jamsedpur and Ranchi. Please click here to see a well planned tour package for Similipal National Park, Odisha
How to Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is Biju Pattnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar from where Similipal Tiger Reserve is almost 187 kms away. One can even take via Jamshedpur’s Sonari Airport which is 140 kms from Similipal.
By Train: The nearest Railway Station is at Baripada, but one needs to board the train Bhubnaeswar covering a distance of 208 Kms. From Baripada, Similipal is just 41kms.
By Road: From Bhubaneswar, Similipal Tiger Reserve is almost 191 kms
What To See:
Similipal Tiger Reserve
, Cahala Zone
, Barehipani Waterfall