Archive for the 'National Parks and Sanctuaries' Category

Current and planned eco-toursim centers in Odisha

Angul, Balasore, Bhadrakh, Bhitarakanika, Ecotourism, Gajapati, Kandhamala, Kendrapada, Mayurbhanj, Nature spots, Satkosia gorge and tiger reserve, Similpal, Waterfalls Comments Off on Current and planned eco-toursim centers in Odisha

Following is an excerpt from an article in Pioneer.

In the biodiversity management, three eco-tourism destination sites were developed in Satkosia, Bhitarakaniaka and Similipal. Community reserves and heritage sites were developed in five places. Bichitrapur mangrove area near Jaleswar, Rissia wildlife sanctuary in Baleswar wildlife division, Mandasaur in Phulbani forest division, Khasada waterfall, Black Pepper plantations, Gandahati waterfall and Red Sanders plantations in Paralakhemindi Forest Division were taken up for development as  new eco-tourism destinations.


Excellent plans to expand the visitor center of the Chandaka national forest at the Godibari gate; once done one can bike two kms inside the forest

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chandaka, Khordha Comments Off on Excellent plans to expand the visitor center of the Chandaka national forest at the Godibari gate; once done one can bike two kms inside the forest

Following is from Dharitri.

Multiple funding sources to help further develop various tourist attractions and infrastructure in the coastal areas

Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Bhadrakh, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Bhubaneswar-Pipli- Konark, Bhubaneswar-Puri, Business Standard, Central govt. schemes, Chandaka, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Dhamara- Chandbali- Bhitarakanika, Ganjam, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Heritage sites, Historical places, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khordha, Konark, Lord Jagannath, Nandan Kanan, Odisha govt. action, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Puri, Puri, Puri - Konark, Raghurajpur, Shamuka Beach project, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Telegraph, Temples, Tourist promotion Comments Off on Multiple funding sources to help further develop various tourist attractions and infrastructure in the coastal areas

Following is from a report in Telegraph.

The capital will soon have a mega-tourist circuit for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8.14 crore.

The proposed tourist circuit envisages, among others things, renovation of two major roads in Old Town area, construction of a ‘parikrama’ around Lingaraj temple, soft-lighting for eight protected monuments and two tourism interpretation centres.

While the tourism department is trying to revive Ekamreswar, the miniature temple of Lord Lingaraj near Lingaraj police station, a dedicated road corridor will be constructed to link Puri, the Old Town area and Khandagiri via Dhauli.

Moreover, a 3,000-seater amphitheatre will be constructed opposite Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput.

… Samal spoke to reporters after the heritage walk, which was held today as part of World Tourism Day function.

The circuit will aim at facilitating various cultures as the city is perhaps the only one place in the region where three major religions — Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism — have their presence and the Daya riverbed is linked to the transformation of Emperor Ashok from Chandashok to Dharmashok.

… While the mega circuit will be part of the development of the ambitious Bhubaneswar-Puri-Chilika tourism sector, the Old Town area of the city will have a 40-feet road near the temple connecting Kotitirtheswar Lane and a proposed three-acre parking site.

Later, the same road will be extended up to Kedar Gouri temple. These two roads, in turn, will provide a better corridor so that tourist vehicles can pass through the areas smoothly. Similarly, a ‘parikrama’ or circular road will be planned around the Lingaraj temple.

“Apart from providing better connectivity to the Old Town area, the side walls of various buildings and structures will be decorated with tiles of red laterite stones. The concept has already been adopted in various western cities and states such as Rajasthan. …

The mega circuit will also emphasise on infrastructure development to connect various sites of Buddhist and Jain religious interests. Other than central assistance, there is also a plan to develop a road connecting Gangua nullah (through its right embankment) to the historical Kapileswar village. Another road will link Ganesh Ghat near Dhauli Peace Pagoda with the Jatni Kapilaprasad Road.

According to the pre-feasibility report, the state government will spend more than Rs 30 crore on the two proposed roads.

“These two roads will connect Dhauli with Khandagiri and the travellers and tour operators need not take the longer Cuttack-Puri Road via Rasulgarh to reach the historical Jain sites. Even nature lovers visiting places such as Deras in Chandaka or Nandankanan Zoological Park can take this road in future,’’ said the MLA.

“The state government has also asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority to construct an amphitheatre opposite Madhusudan Park in Pokhariput. This will resemble the amphitheatre at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya near Rabindra Mandap,’’ he said.

Sources at the public works department said: “There is a plan to construct a flyover over the railway level crossing at Pokhariput for Rs 42 crore. While the state government will share Rs 22 crore, the rest will come from the railways. Once the flyover is commissioned, the road from Dhauli to Khandagiri will become a vital link to various religious centre.’’

Under the mega tourism circuit, temples such as Lingaraj, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Rameswar, Parsurameswar, Lakshmaneswar, Bharateswar and Satrughneswar will be illuminated with light emitting diode based ‘dynamic lighting system’ for which Rs 3.98 crore will be utilised. The project will be executed by the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation.

Hinting at the development of two interpretation centres near the Lingaraj temple, Samal said: “While one will be constructed on the premises of Sibatirtha Mutt, the other one will come up near the employees’ colony.’’

On the proposed tourist interpretation centre near Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves, he said the project would be completed within two or three months time.

Following is from a report in Business Standard.

The Orissa government has decided to promote heritage tourism at eight locations along the coast line with an investment of Rs 7.41 crore in the next five years.

Based on archeological, architectural, sculptural and historical importance, the selected structures, identified by the state archeology department, would be taken up under the World Bank funded Rs 227.64-crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

… The structures identified to get a face lift under the scheme included Potagarh (Buried Fort), located on the bank of river Rushikulya in Ganjam town which stands as a mute witness to the vicissitudes of history in Orissa.

Apart from historic Potagarh, the British Cemetery near Ganjam town, Bhaba Kundaleswar temple of Manikapatna, Baliharichandi temple near Puri, Hariharadeva temple, Nairi, Bateswara temple, Kantiagada (Ganjam), Jagannath temple, Pentha and Jamboo Colonial Building, Kendrapara will be refurbished under the scheme.

Preservation of ancient monuments under the project will include their protection, structural conservation, chemical conservation, landscaping and maintainance from time to time.

… The officials of the Gujarat and West Bengal projects along with a World Bank team visited various places including Ganjam and Kendrapada districts in the state recently to review the implementation of the project. Project Director of ICZM (Orissa) AK Pattnaik briefed the team about various steps taken under the project and their progress. The scheme, whose tenure spans from 2010 to 2015, is being implemented in two coastal stretches: Paradeep to Dhamara and Gopalpur to Chilika.

Recent Odisha Tourism Department plans and initiatives

Chandaka, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ecotourism, Ganjam, Jajpur, Kandhamala, Khordha, Koraput, Lakes, Mayurbhanj, River Cruise, Sambalpur, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Waterfront 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in

The Empowered Committee on Infrastructure (ECI), chaired by Chief Secretary has decided to run water sports facilities at Rambha, Barkul and Satapada in Chilka lake and in Ramchandi, Nua Nai, Tampara, Jhumuka, Naraj, Hirakud, Deras, Derjang, Bhanjnagar, Upper Kolab, Upper Jonk and Pitamahal.

… To start cruise, house boat and other water sports facilities in the above locations, it was decided to rope in private players on PPP Mode.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) will be implementing the project and Department of Tourism will provide onsite infrastructure.

The developer will provide boats and other sporting equipments and operate and manage the facilities.

… The ECI has decided to invite bidders for development of water sports in the above places.

Recently the leading Seashore Group has started water sports facilities in Mahanadi, which has attracted great attention of the tourists.

Tourists are flocking to avail the facilities, said Prashant K Dash, Chairman of Seashore Group.

Experts feel that to start with two main places for the dare-devils of the water are Chilka and Dhabaleswar.

Barkul, Rambha, Balugaon and Satpada are the bases for visiting Chilika, where water sports can be developed in a big way.

Similarly Dhabaleswar in Cuttack also provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy water sports, feel experts.

Following is an excerpt from another report in

The meeting decided to hand over 9 properties of the State Tourism for renovation by the private players and it was decided that these properties would be offered to these highest bidding private players on a long-term lease of 30 years.

… These properties at Kapilas, Daringibadi, Dhabaleswar, Patharajpur, Sunabeda, Rameswar, Jaipur, Ramachandi and Aradi are to be handed over to highest bidders, ECI decided.

DOT will go for fresh tender for Ratnagiri, Nrusinghnath, Bangiriposi and Sohela, where offers were found less attractive.

The Government will also go for fresh tenders for 17 properties which failed to attract any bidder in the tendering process held earlier.

Another 10 properties will be included in the new bidding process to attract private players, said sources.

These properties include Panthashala, Panthika and Wayside Amenities Centre (WAC) in various tourist centres of the state.

With the help of these private players the properties will be given a face lift which has been rendered decrepit due to want of maintenance.

While the State Government will continue to hold the ownership of such properties, the onus will be on the private players to refurbish and maintain them.

The renovation of the properties is being done on the public private partnership (PPP) mode.

The private players, who will refurbish and maintain the properties, will give us an upfront payment besides paying the usual annual royalty”, said Mr.Tripathy.

A 3-Star hotel and a Convention Centre will be developed at Puri on PPP mode, where the DOT has 2 acres of land as Puri is the most important destination of the state.

And Puri has the potential to be developed to a Meeting Incentive Convention Exhibition Destination (MICE), said Principal Secretary Mr.Tripathy.

Camping on the riverbed in Satkosia: a Telegraph travel report

Angul, Ecotourism, Nature spots, River Cruise, Satkosia gorge and tiger reserve, Tourist promotion, Wild life 1 Comment »

The full article by Bibhuti Barik is at Following is the graphic from that article.

Similipal national park: a Telegraph article

Mayurbhanj, Similpal 2 Comments »

Following is from

Lion Safari in Nandan Kanan: a youtube video (not by me)

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Cuttack, Nandan Kanan Comments Off on Lion Safari in Nandan Kanan: a youtube video (not by me)


Panthanivas at Harishankar (Balangir) inaugurated

Balangir, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made) 1 Comment »

Following is from a report in

Mr.Singh Deo, Minister Planning & Coordination …

Harishankar is one of the top most tourist spots in Western Odisha. 

Lack of amenities for tourists had hampered the growth of tourism sector. 

Now with a Panthanivas with all the modern facilities, this will serve a major purpose in providing amenities to the large number of tourists to this part of the state, said Mr.Singh Deo. 

Minister inaugurated the panthanivas and said similar amenities are being arranged in other tourist places of the Western Odisha.

Related to this, OTDC has a nice package that has a trekking inthe Gandhamardan hills component. The two entry points to these hills are Harishankar and Nrushinghanath. the package detail from is as follows:

( Nrusinghanath Temple, Samalai Temple, Huma-Leaning Temple, Ghanteswari Temple, Hirakud Dam )

Nrusinghanath in the district of Sambalpur & Harishankar of Bolangir district are two entry points of the hill, which fulfill the desire of the trekker to perceive tranquility. Both have holy shrines, waterfalls and rich flora & fauna.


Hill trekking

Tour Duration :

2 nights 2 days.

Places Covered :

Sambalpur, Samalai temple,Huma leaning temple, Nrusinghanath hill temple, Ghanteswari temple, and Hirakud dam.

Package Cost :

Rs.2,346.00 / Per Head

Package Includes :

A.C. Accommodation, AC Transport by Tata Sumo/ Quails/Bolero.

Does not Includes :

Entry fees for foreign guest & fees for Camera, Video Camera, telephone bill, Any Air/Train fare, Laundry & Food- (Bed Tea, Break Fast, Lunch, Dinner, Afternoon Tea & Snacks)

Condition :

  • Tour shall be operational subject to minimum of 4 person

  • Non/AC accommodation will be provided where AC room is not available.

  • English/Hindi speaking Guide Rs.350.00 per day extra.

  • Hotel Checkout time is 8.00 A.M.

  • Tariff subject to change

 See our earlier articles on Harishankar and Nrusinghanath at:

Sanghamitra Jena, founder of Eastern Treasure India Tours, brings Orissa to the world

Bhitarakanika, Chandaka, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Ecotourism, Gopalpur-on-Sea, National Parks and Sanctuaries, Odisha personalities, Puri, Raghurajpur, Similpal, Tour Operators, Tourist promotion, Village Tourism, Wild life 4 Comments »

Following are excerpts from a beautiful Forbes India piece by Mindtree CEO Subroto Bagchi.

… it is called Dangamal.

This is a tiny village bordering 672 sq. km. of luxuriant mangroves that are home to the giant Indian saltwater crocodiles. It is an unbelievably beautiful and relatively un-spoilt place. There is the usual forest rest house here, but for the real enthusiast, there is tented accommodation of commendable quality run by a first generation woman entrepreneur named Sanghamitra Jena. I am here to see her.

… After some years, when we came back to Bhubaneswar, I contacted the government-run tourist office to check if they ran courses for would-be tour guides. There was a three-month course coming up and I signed up after paying a fee of Rs. 200.

… But how did you end up becoming an entrepreneur?” I ask. “It was a story of adversity,” she says. “After many years in the same organisation, I had to leave because of disagreements with a new supervisor. For a moment, I was at the crossroads. To my surprise and delight, it led to a flood of offers from other tour operators who had known my work. Seeing that, I told myself that these people are reaching out to me because they have confidence that I could bring them business. So why wasn’t I doing it for myself?

“I had a saving of just Rs. 40,000. I bought a laptop and started sending mails to people I knew from a cyber-café. Eastern Treasure India Tours was born. Clients started coming, I took them on my off-the-beaten track tours to not just places in Orissa but also Pelling, Gangtok and Kaziranga. Word spread. Business grew. Then one day, I felt I should have a product that enables the nature-lover to enjoy a place like the mangroves of Dangamal by living in a completely rural setting. So, I came to this village and I leased a plot of land for five years. I started a high-quality, tented accommodation, complete with Western-style toilets and clean food in a completely rural surrounding. I built a make-do Web site so people could check out the options and pay online.”

… I am not in Mumbai or Bangalore. This is Orissa. This is not a land of enterprise. For girls, there is a cul-de-sac called marriage. Yet, here is Sanghamitra who has built a business in the middle of nowhere.
Before we leave for the creeks to see the giant crocs basking under the mangroves, I ask her the size of her business this year.

She is bashful for a moment. Then she replies, “I will touch a crore this year”. also has a nice article on her at


First private STP comes up in Odisha; Nanadankanan to have a 5000 sq ft Orchid House

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cuttack, IT, Nandan Kanan, Private Parks Comments Off on First private STP comes up in Odisha; Nanadankanan to have a 5000 sq ft Orchid House

Following is an excerpt from an IANS report.

Orissa got its first private software technology park Tuesday. Built on the outskirts of state capital Bhubaneswar by city-based JSS Group, the venture was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The JSS Software Technology Park has a built-up area of about 55,000 square feet and can accommodate about 1,000 IT (Information Technology) professionals, Bijoy K. Sahoo, Chairman of the JSS group told IANS.

The eight-floor building constructed with an investment of Rs.10 crore in the first phase has ready-to-move-in facilities, Sahoo said, adding that two companies have already allotted space and they have begun their operations from today (Tuesday).

JSS has planned to invest Rs.70 crore (Rs.700 million) in the second phase that is scheduled to complete in the next 24 months. The total built up area of the project after second phase expansion would be two lakh square feet, he said.

Following is from JSS’s web page.

Keeping to long standing demands from the Information Techenology (IT)
Companies in the Small and Medium Enterprise (ITSME) Sector, the InterMinisterial standing Committee (IMSC) of Goverment of India has approved the First Private Software Technology Park (STP) of Orissa.The IMSC felt it imprerative to setup a micro,small and madium enterprise(MSME) software park to broaden the export base of the state. The park will enble IT professionals to walk in and to state their business instantly.
The news STP has been christened as JSS software Technology park.The private STP is locted at Infocity in Chandaka ,Bhubaneswar with a view to provide incubation and infrastructure faclities to new ans young entrepreneurs in the MSME sector .Infocity is considered as the biggestITpark in estern India spread over an area of 350 acres, currently housing IT giants like Infosy, Wipro, TCS, Mind Tree ect.

The intelligent building of the JSS STP is spread in sprawing three acre campus and housses state-of-art technology to fulfil the growing demands of highly competent IT professionals.

Following is an excerpt from a report in

The Nandankanan Zoological Park here will have the largest Orchid House of Orissa soon.

Spread over 5,000 sq ft, the garden will be home to some exotic species which are found in Orissa as well as outside.

The Nanadankanan Zoo authorities have collected over 156 varieties of orchids belonging to 35 species for the Orchid House which is now awaiting to be thrown open. Altogether, the specially-designed garden will be home to 1,000 plants, Director of Nandankanan Zoological Park Sudarshan Panda said. All the three different types of orchidaceae – epiphytic, subaerial and those growing on the soil are part of the collection.

Getting to the Gandhamardan Hills

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Hills and hill stations, Nuapada, Railway maps, Road maps 2 Comments »

The two main access point to this hill is the Nrushinghanath Temple (Baragarh district) in the North side and the Harishankar temple and falls (Balangir district) in the south side. The road distance between the two is 40 kms and one can walk on the mountain top between these two places through a day long 16 km hike. The following three maps show these areas.

Nrusinghanatha and Harishankar Temples in Gandhamardana Hills

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Hills and hill stations, Nature spots, Temples Comments Off on Nrusinghanatha and Harishankar Temples in Gandhamardana Hills

Following is from the site

Located in the sacred Gandhamardan Hills, which according to legends, Hanuman carried on his shoulders from the Himalayas as described in the ancient epic Ramayana, the temple at Nrusinghanath is an important pilgrimage site. It is also an exceedingly fascinating and beautifully  located temple and is worth the journey to this rather remote spot.

The present temple, located at the source of the Papaharini stream, is a 14th century structure built on a more ancient site. The four pillars within the Jagmohana suggest that the earlier temple was built in the 9th century. The beautiful doorframes have been dated to the 11th century.

The site of the temple is unique. Stone steps wind up the hillside behind the temple, leading past a  waterfall, and eventually curving under the falls to a spot where some beautiful, and very well- preserved relief sculptures are found. The climb to the carvings and return journey will take about an hour. Since shoes are not permitted on these sanctified pilgrimage steps, those with tender feet should take along a pair of heavy socks for the climb.

On the opposite slope of the hill on which the temple is located, is the Harishankar Temple. Between the two temples there is a 16 km. plateau, littered with Buddhist ruins that scholars feel may be the remains of the ancient university of Parimalagiri, referred to by the seventh-century Chinese traveler Hiuen T’sang as ‘Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li’. The trek along this plateau is a long one, but for the serious student of history, it is an unforgettable experience.

Following is from

he Harishankar Falls is located in Balangir, on the Southern slope of the Gandhamardhan hills. The waters of the Harishankar Falls gushes down the slopes in a series of captivating waterfalls that creates an out of the world scene.

At a distance of about 81 Kilometers is located the pilgrimage site of Harishankar. This locations is encapsulated in the charm of nature and is the shrine of the dual Hindu deity, Hari and Shankar. A very holy place for both the Vaishnavs and the Shaivites, Harishankar is the popular pilgrimage spot. The Harishankar Falls is a part of this pious place and the water of the Harishankar Falls cascades down to the granite floor of the shrines. The Harishankar Falls also acts as a natural shower for the pilgrims.

The site has some beautiful pictures of the area.

The Gandhamardan Hill range (of Baragarh and Balangir districts) of Orissa is a treasure house of medicinal plants

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Medicinal plants Comments Off on The Gandhamardan Hill range (of Baragarh and Balangir districts) of Orissa is a treasure house of medicinal plants

There seems to be at least two areas in Orissa named as Gandhamardan; the Gandhamardan hills of Baragarh and Balangir districts and the Gandhamardan peak of Keonjhar. Recently wrote about an appeal by Dr. Sanjib Karmee about the Gandhamardan hills of Bragarh-Balangir. The well researched appeal prompted me to do some more research and based on that I suggest that the Government of Orissa push the Government of India to declare the whole of Gandhamardan Hill as a national botanical heritage and reserve and create several research centers on ayurveda, medicine, pharmacy, forestry, just outside of that area.

Following are some excerpts from old news about Gandhamardan hill in Bragarh-Balangir.

1. Excerpts from a June 17, 2008 article in Business Standard:

When Balco tried to obtain a mining lease for Gandamardhan 22 years ago, veteran activists like Anil Agarwal of the Centre for Science and Environment, Sunderlal Bahuguna and the Gandhamardan Yuva Surakshya Sena fought the company tooth and nail. The state government had given in to the activists’ demands then.

… The destruction of local flora and fauna and the disruption of cultural life of the mostly tribal communities in the area are also cited as reasons for opposing these projects.

Another sensitive aspect of the opposition is the religious significance of the hill for both tribal communities in the area and Hindus.

The hill is mentioned in the epic Ramayana. According to legend, the mythological Hanuman plucked a portion of the hill to heal Lakshmana during the battles in Lanka.

The two sides of the slopes also have ancient temples that are significant to local faiths — the Nrusingha Nath temple on the Bargarh side of the hill and the Harshankar temple on the Balangir side.

The hill is rich in herbal wealth and ayurveda colleges are situated on both sides, said environment activist in Orissa, Ranjan Panda.

2. February 24, 2007 ANI article in

In a novel initiative, the Orissa Government has commenced a project to promote medicinal plantation at Gandhamardan Hills in Bolangir District.

Besides, the project also aims at uplifting the tribals’ life, residing in the hills’ vicinity, which are famous for their natural scenic panorama of rivulets and medicinal plants. ccording to the Divisional Forest Officer of the range, the tribes are now earning much more than before as the society purifies the minor forest produce and after proper packing, sell them in the market.

"This project was launched with the help of the Centre and the State Government. About 1.83 crores have been used for five years and this is the third year of the project. The main aim of the project is to preserve propagate and conserve the rich bio-diversity of the Gandhamardan Hills. Side by side this project has also improved the economic condition of the villagers who are dependent on the forest," said Sarat Mohanaty, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Gandhamardan Range iof Bolangir.

The greenery of Gandhamardan Hills overlaps Bolangir and Bargarh Districts, covering an area of nearly 18,629 hectares of reserved forest of land. Around 6512 hectares of this land falls under Bolangir District alone.

Earlier, ignorant about the actual worth of medicinal plants here, the tribals, living in Gandharmardan range, 80 kilometres from Bolangir District, used to be lured by middlemen, who purchased raw seeds, leaves and fruits of these medicinal herbs.

All these years, the species of these plants were exploited with no proper care and most of them had reached the stage of extinction.

Realising the danger posed by such disturbing trends, the Centre and State governments proposed a plan to protect these medicinal plants as well as raise the quality of tribals’ life. And later, the Vanaspati Vana project was set up by the Vanaspati Vana Society.

Under this project, ten villages have been identified and local committees in each village have been formed.

"With the help of the government, a Vanaspati Vana project has been set up in the Gandhamardan Hills range in Bolangir District. Ten villages near the Gandhamardan Hills have been earmarked in as the local chapters of Vanaspati Vana Society to look after the project," said Rajkumar Bhoi, President of the Vanaspati Vana Society.

According to villagers, since the formation of this Society, they have been earning enough to feed their family and are happy about the working of the society.

"After the formation of Vanaspati Vana project, the forest is being safe and also Gandhamardan. The medical plants, which were being neglected and wasted in the past, are being taken care of. Earlier, many fruits grown in the forest, were being bought by local businessmen from tribals at very cheap rates. After formation of Vanaspati Society the prices are set up and we sell accordingly. Seeing our success, Tribals from other villages are selling now their produce to get better prices," said Thabira Meher, a villager.

The tribals are protecting the forBesiest and are also collecting the minor forest produce and different roots of the medical plants, which are useful for medicine and can be sold at a good price. (ANI)

3. A headline in the Knowledge for development site (undated):

The Govt. of Orissa has banned mining along the Gandhamardan Hills through an ordinance in the state assembly today.

4. An article in Navratna News Jan-Feb 2008 by Netrabandhu Pradhan. Following are some excerpts:

the Gandhamardana has always attracted scientists interested in the study of plants. Even when the are was inaccessible, British Scientists and Botanists H.H. Haynes (1921-25) had identified several species of plants in this area. After 25 years i.e. in 1950 Herbert Muni visited this place and located 17 new species of plants. Later on renowned Oriya Botanist and Scientist of the Botanical Survery of India Dr. Gopinath Panigrahi (1963) published research paper on 125 species of precious medicinal plants available in the Gandhamardan. His paper was based on an extensive study made by him in this area. Realizing the rich potentiality of the area for containing more varieties of medicinal plants, Dr. Gopinath Panighrhi re-visited the place once again in 1964 along with a group of his associates who collected 300 varieties of species and herbs available in this area and prepared a catalogue on the basis of it. In 1990 M.Brahmam and Hari Om Saxena surveyed on the plants of Gandhamardan and identified 200 species of plants out of which the usefulness of 77 species of plants in the treatment of common ailments were highlighted. Again, in 1995 Saxena and Brahmam surveyed in the area of Gandhamardan and enlisted 781 plants species available there. R.C. Mishra (1990,1994,1996) worked in this mountain range and illustrated 920 species of plants. In the year 1994 P. Bilung, P.N. Pradhan and R.N. Pradhan Dept. of Botany, Panchayat College, Bargarh have surveyed the area and report the use of local Mahura plants from Aracei family. In 1999 N.B. Pradhan, R.N. Pradhan, P.Sahu and S.K. Sen made a detailed survey of the area and highlighted on many rare medicinal plants have shown concern about the decreasing population of these plants. The Vesaja Samity of Nrusinghnath, Padampur has been educating people on the plants and herbs available in Gandhamardan since 1994 and also organizing the Baidyas of the district of Bargarh and helping them in the proper identification of the medicinal plants. Sri Sri Nrusinghnath Ayurvedic Collegeand Research Institute in collaboration with the Department of Botany, Panchayat College, Bargarh have undertaken a Joint Venture in making a detailed survey of the area, identification and cataloguing of the plants and preparation of ‘herboriams’. In the recent past a Banaspati Bana Prakalpa ( 2003 ) has been launched by the Department of Forest and Environment, Govt. of Orissa, with assistance from the Govt. of India. The Project is making rapid strides under the supervisions of the Divisional Forest Officers of Bargarh and Bolangir Range. It is hoped that with the successful implementation of the project, it would contribute a lot in the protection, preservation and expansion of the plants.

Many survey works have been undertaken under the supervision of both the Department of Forest and the SSN Ayurvedic College, Nrusinghnath. One of the reports reveals that there is rapid deforestation in this area. These plants which were easily available in the post have become rare. Gandhamardan range of mountain that extended upto 1800 sq. k.m. was fully of dense forest and was replete with herbs and medicinal plants. But out of them several species have become rare. These include Barun, Kochila, Manjusha, Panki, Paldhua, Sunamukhi, Tamul, Bal Harida, Bhumi Kusmanda etc. Growing deforestation of Amla, Kuturi, Gudmari, Chhatiana, Meda, Bidanga is still underway. But all is not lost. There is still hope that as even now also one can find in the scrub forest living stumps of different species of plants. It is hoped that if the free entry of human intruders and the movement of stray cattles are prevented, green plants will again raise their heads covering the surface of the rock and the jungle will get back its lost luster and greenery.

… Gandhamardan range of Mountain is not only well known in the two districts of Orissa, but they are the objects of glory and pride for the entire state of Orissa and the neighboring Chhatisgarh. It has a rich tradition of its own. The rare Ayurvedic material Medical and valuable forest products once collected from these forests heave now become in obtainable. Deforestation in the area has assumed alarming proportion. If we still neglect its preservation, it will turn into a wasteland and will get extinct for ever and in such an event its dangerous consequences cannot be imagined. Yet it is never too late. Even today the Gandhamardan has not lost its glory. It is still possessing most of its materials within. If man undertakes fruitful ventures and stops behaving like a savage, it will again emerge as an impenetrable dense forest in its full glory.

5. A research paper in Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy titled "An assessment of floristic Diversity of Gandhamardan hill range, Orissa, India.

Abstract: The plant resources of Gandhamardan hill range were studied and analysed. A total of 912 vascular species belonging to 556 genera under 142 families were recorded. Herbs dominate the flora followed by trees, climbers and shrubs. Dominance of phanerophytes indicates the tropical moist and humid climate. Proper conservation and management plans are needed to save the natural resources, especially medicinal plants, of this sacred hill range.

Gandhamardan hill range is such a tropical moist deciduous system in Orissa, India. Due to diversified topography with twenty-two perennial streams, the hill range having most congenial environment for the luxuriant growth of plant resources. These resources are under severe threat due to over-exploitation by the local people for collection of firewood, fodder and medicinal plants and heavy incidence of grazing. Some sporadic works on floristic and ethnobotanical studies were carried out earlier (Raju, 1960; Panigrahi et al., 1964; Brahmam and Saxena, 1990a, b; Mishra et al., 1994, 2001; Misra and Behera, 1998; Mishra and Das, 2003; Misra, 2004). But, this floristically rich hill range with varied terrain conditions and environmental factors along with its phytogeographical position was not explored well in the past. The present study is, therefore, the first attempt to make an inventory and analysis of the entire flora of Gandhamardan hill range based on copious field observations, available literature and herbarium data, with a view to contribute to the overall knowledge of Gandhamardan flora and to the management of this sacred hill range.

Floristic composition: The floristic composition of the hill is remarkable in its diversity and luxuriance. Altogether, 912 vascular plant taxa pertaining to 142 families and 556 genera were collected. The dicotyledonous plants belonged to 106 families, 418 genera and 685 species, and the monocotyledonous plants to 21 families, 122 genera and 206 species. Pteridophytes were represented by 21 species belonging to 15 families and 16 genera. Analysis of flora shows a comparatively higher representation of herbaceous species (519) followed by 173 trees, 119 climbers and 101 shrubs. In comparison with the Orissa flora (total area 155,707 sq km) consisting of 2727 species (Saxena and Brahmam, 1996), 33.4% of species were recorded in the present study area. The recorded genera of the Gandhamardan flora were 52.4% of the Orissa flora, whereas the families covered 62.3%. A total number of 776 indigenous wild species, 64 introduced wild species and 72 cultivated species were found in the area. The species to genera ratio was 2.6 in Orissa flora, whereas it was 1.6 in the present study. The ratio of genera and family in the Gandhamardan flora was 3.9, whereas the value of the Orissa flora was 4.7. This indicates higher taxonomic diversity of the study area. Pielou (1975) and Magurran (1988) pointed out that, in intuitive terms, hierarchical (taxonomic) diversity will be higher in an area in which the species are divided amongst many genera as opposed to one in which most species belong to the same genus, and still higher as these genera are divided amongst many families as opposed to a few.

Exactly 50% of the recorded taxa belonged to only 13 species-rich families. The largest families in terms of number of species were Poaceae (90), Papilionaceae (68), Euphorbiaceae (45), Rubiaceae (41), Asteraceae (36), Cyperaceae (35), Acanthaceae (30), Caesalpiniaceae (20), Schrophulariaceae and Apocynaceae (each with 19 species). A total of 15 species of orchids belonging to 10 genera were also recorded. At genus level, Ficus showed the maximum diversity with 14 species. This was followed by Cyperus (11), Cassia (9), Blumea (8), Bauhinia, Grewia, Hedyotis, Indigofera (each with 7 species), Acacia and Alysicarpus (each with 6 species). Analysis of flora shows that most of the genera (388) are represented by single species and a very few genera are represented by more number of species. Asparagus gonoclados Baker, Corchorus trilocularis L., Enicostema axillare (Lam.) A. Raynal and Triumfetta rotundifolia Lam. were recorded new to the Flora of Orissa. Erythrina resupinata Roxb., Heterostemma tanjorense Wight & Arn. and Tylophora fasciculata Buch-Ham. ex Wight & Arn. are the unique species found in the study area, which are not sighted elsewhere in Orissa. There were 64 invasive exotic species also found, which will be serious threat to the forest ecosystem in the future. Important among them are Ageratum conyzoides L., Chromolaena odorata (L.) R. King & H. Robins., Crotalaria pallida Ait., Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit., Lantana camara L., Mimosa pudica L., Parthenium hysterophorus L. and Triumfetta rhomboidea Jacq.

The upper storey of the vegetation was covered by tall trees with epiphytic growth of lichens, bryophytes, ferns and orchids. It was interesting to note that Shorea robusta Gaertn. f., a common species in other parts of Orissa, showed sporadic distribution in the study area. Some of the shrubs e.g., Ardisia solanacea Roxb., Flemingia macrophylla (Willd.) Prain ex Merr., Indigofera cassioides Rottl. ex DC., Leea asiatica (L.) Ridsdale and Morinda citrifolia L., were found to grow in dense and interior forests. The bamboo species Dendrocalamus strictus (Roxb.) Nees. also occupied considerable part of the area. Herbs were mostly distributed all over the hill range, which includes open and dense forests, along the streams, top of the hills with grasses and forest road sides. A good number of lianas and woody climbers were present in the hill range, such as Bauhinia vahli Wight & Arn., Calycopteris floribunda Lam., Combtretum albidum G. Don., Cryptolepis buchanani Roem. & Schult., Entada pursaetha Spreng., Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br., Smilax zeylanica L., Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam., and Ventilago madraspatana Gaertn. Epiphytes were less in number. Vanda testacea (Lindl.) Reichb. f. and V. tessellata (Roxb.) Hook. ex G. Don. were two common epiphytic orchids found on branches of most tall trees. Four root parasites (Aeginetia indica L., Melasma thompsonii (Hook. f.) Wettst., Sopubia delphiniifolia (L.) G. Don. and Striga angustifolia (D. Don) Saldanha) and two stem parasites (Dendrophthoe falcata (L. f.) Etting and Viscum articulatum Burm. f.) were also recorded from the study area. The extensive flat plateau on the top of the hills running through the whole length of the Gandhamardan range presented a grassland formation with luxuriant growth of various grass species attaining 2-3 m in height. The grassland comprises of Arthraxon lancifolius (Trin.) Hochst., Capillipedium assimile (Steud.) A. Camus., Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Wats., Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. and interspersed with stunted growth of Lagerstroemia parviflora Roxb., Phyllanthus emblica L., Pimpinella heyneana (Wall. ex DC.) Kurz. and Woodfordia fruticosa L. Kurz.. Weeds such as Borreria stricta Roth ex Roem. & Schult., Cleome monophylla L. and Mollugo pentaphylla L. were common. Celosia argentea L. (introduced) is a weed of great nuisance in the abandoned fields near Borasambar, Paikmal and Harishankar.

Medicinal plant exploration: Gandhamardan hill range is also known as ‘Ayurvedic paradise’ and treasure house for potential medicinal plant species not only for Orissa but also for India. More than 300 plant species were found in the area with medicinal properties. These are depleting rapidly because of unsustainable harvesting, lack of awareness, and unrestricted grazing by domestic animals from nearby villages (Panigrahi, 1963; Pattanaik and Reddy, 2007). Nonetheless, many people from far and wide come to this area to collect medicinal plants and share their knowledge on medicinal uses of these plants. Major medicinal plant species, such as Asparagus racemosus Willd., Celastrus paniculata Willd., Chlorophytum arundinaceum Baker, Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm., Curculigo orchioides Gaertn., Curcuma angustifolia Roxb., Gloriosa superba L., Gymnema sylvestre (Retz.) R. Br. ex Schult., Plumbago zeylanica L., Rubia cordifolia L. and Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook.f. & Thoms., were harvested in bulk for preparation of medicines by the local people. Unsustainable collection of above medicinal plants has placed them in threatened and vulnerable categories in Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) of Orissa.

Conservation measures: In the prevailing situation, conservation of plant resources is very important, as many of these plants, for example Asparagus gonoclados and Enicostema littorale Blume, have been reduced to a greater extent. Therefore, sustainable utilization of medicinal plants is an urgent demand of the hour. Sustainable wild collection with fair trade would help to conserve the natural resources of the Gandhamardan hill range. Piloting of farmer-based cultivation trials for a selected number of threatened and indigenous medicinal plant species on the edges of forests and in home gardens should be encouraged. The state Forest Department should initiate in situ as well as ex situ conservation practices by promoting nurseries, home garden andplantation. The state government should promote Village Management Committee (VMC) and Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC) to protect the forests from denudation. Community mobilization and creating awareness on sustainable harvesting of plant parts among the local people of the surrounding villages must be done at priority level. The local non-government organisations (NGOs) should promote participatory research in breeding and participatory knowledge management involving scientists, government officials and tribal families. The Forest and Environment Department should establish linkages with markets, so that the cultivation of medicinal plants becomes market-driven, with assured income security for tribal families. Unrestricted movement of pilgrims all around the adjoining forest areas near to the temple are causing loss of plant species. It is necessary to improve the socio-economic conditions of people living around the hills to minimize the anthropogenic activities in order to prevent depletion of natural resources of this sacred hill range.



Beautiful blog with many postings on Orissa jungles and wild-life habitats

Bhitarakanika, Chandaka, Satkosia gorge and tiger reserve, Similpal Comments Off on Beautiful blog with many postings on Orissa jungles and wild-life habitats

The blog by young wild-life enthusiast Aditya Panda has several beautiful postings about his trips to various jungles and wild-life habitats. It covers many of the ones in Orissa. Excerpts will not do justice to his wonderful writing. So here are some links. Please pay a visit.

An afternoon-evening trip to Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chandaka, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Khordha Comments Off on An afternoon-evening trip to Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary

I finally decided to visit the Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary which is adjacent to Bhubaneswar. We entered the sanctuary through the Godibari gate.

The above sign was visible from the road.

The above is the outer gate to the sanctuary.

The inner gate is beautifully made.

As soon as you enter the gate the above is the view of the forest with a dirt road bisecting it.

Looking back at the gate one can see the moat and the mechanism to prevent the elephants to get out. However, the elephants do get in and out of the sanctuary through other gaps in the boundary moat.

The dirt road has signs to a few destination points; the first one being the Kumar Khunti watch tower.

On the way we pass through an old structure that was part of the fort of the local king.

The above is the view from the top of a watch tower looking towards the dirt road that took us there.

In the other direction there is a lake.

About 100 yards from the watch tower there is a man made salt mound to attract the elephants.

The watch tower is a four story structure with two bed rooms in each of the second and third floors. Guests can stay there overnight. We peeked at the bath room. They looked clean. Near the watch tower there are huts where some staffs stay. The staff bring water to the watch tower rooms  and cook food for guests.

The above is a closer view of the salt mound.

Ambilo watchtower and Dampara gate are two other landmarks. Note the distance; 20 kms of forest road to the Ambilo watch tower. The whole sanctuary is 193 sq kms, almost as big as present day Bhubaneswar city limits.

With the dirt road giving us the view of only a very small part of the forest we did not see many animals. Above we saw  a few jungle fowls.

We also saw a few jungle peacocks.

This is the lake made due to the Deras dam.

Near the lake there were nicer guest houses. The elephants don’t come here. Hence they are not elephant proof.

The view of the Deras lake is beautiful. But it was getting dark. So I could not take very many pictures.

As it was getting dark and we did not have plans to make an overnight stay, we could not visit the Ambilo tower. We got out through the Kantabada gate which is near the Dearas dam.

Similpal among 22 new biospheres named by UNESCO

Mayurbhanj, Similpal Comments Off on Similpal among 22 new biospheres named by UNESCO

Following is an excerpt from a blog in New York Times.


A new batch of special spots where humans are interacting with the rest of nature in sustainable ways have been named by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The 22 new biosphere reserves include a legend-laced mountain in North Korea and a fairly populous region of towns and surrounding green space in southern Germany — the most urbanized such reserve so far.

Worldwide there are now 533 biosphere reserves in 107 countries. The designation has no force of law, but is aimed at building and promoting a network of places where people are attempting to mesh human activity with biological and scenic assets.

Nokrek, India, is a biological hotspot in the state of Meghalaya featuring undisturbed natural ecosystems and landscapes. Besides harbouring elephants, tigers, leopards and hollock gibbons, the area is also noted for its wild varieties of citrus fruit which may come to serve as a genepool for commercially produced citrus.

Pachmarhi, India, is located in the heart of India, in Madya Pradesh State, and includes tiger and other wildlife reserves. At the interface of several types of forest – tropical, moist and dry as well as sub-tropical hill forests – the area is considered a botanist’s paradise. Through their social and cultural traditions, local tribes contribute to conservation of the forest while drawing on a variety of resources for nutrition, agriculture and income generation.

Similipal, India, is a tiger reserve in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, which used to be the hunting ground of the Maharajah of Mayurbhanj. This tropical environment abounds with tigers, elephants, panthers, deer and numerous plant species, making it a living laboratory for environmental scientists. The area’s tribal inhabitants depend on agriculture, hunting and collection of forest products for their livelihoods but additional sources of income are badly needed to alleviate their poverty.

The complete list of the earlier UNESCO identified 531 Biospheres in 105 countries is at This earlier list has 4 from India.


  • Nilgiri 2000
  • Gulf of Mannar 2001
  • Sunderban 2001
  • Nanda Devi 2004

The new list of 22 has the above mentioned three sites (Nokrek, Pachmarhi, Similipal) from India.

Upgrading the Wild Animal Conservation Center in Sambalpur to a Zoo

National Parks and Sanctuaries, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, Statesman, Telegraph 1 Comment »

Following are excerpts from a report in the Statesman.

The authorities of the Wild Animal Conservation Centre (WACC) popularly known as “Deer Park”, are taking a humane approach to its inmates during this scorching summer.

Deer Park is located inside Sambalpur city in a sprawling area of 35 acres, and is home to nearly 210 animals of 19 different species.

“The utmost care has been taken to supply adequate water and shelter to animals inside this centre to improve their welfare during this hot summer. Of course the green coverage inside adds to their comfort; still we have made extra arrangements for sheds inside the centre,” said Mr DK Swain – the DFO (wildlife) of Sambalpur.

… The centre now houses 94 spotted deer, 10 Chausingha, four barking deer, eight bears, five pythons, one leopard, as well as monkeys, parrots, eagles, grey horn bills and other wild birds in good numbers. And all of them are paid due attention by a well experienced ranger, Mr Amulya Kumar Parida, the DFO said.

Since the WACC is a centre of attraction for the people of Sambalpur and neighbouring districts, a proposal to improve it further has been placed before the central zoo authority, Mr Parida. “We would like to increase the number of animals, and create a beautiful garden inside to attract tourists,” the DFO said, displaying a graph showing an increase in visitors. “Our main aim is to rescue and rehabilitate animals and breed them in captivity. We wish to make this centre one-of-a-kind in the country,” he added.

The new Sambalpur MP should pursue this.

Youtube videos of the 13 Orissa sites in NDTV’s shortlist of 7 Wonders of India

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Bhitarakanika, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Heritage sites, Keonjhar, Konark, Lakes, Nandan Kanan, Puri, Raghurajpur, Rural artisan villages, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh, Temples, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion, Turtle nesting sites, Waterfalls 1 Comment »

The NDTV site of the 13 Orissa sites is at The youtube videos below are from The descriptions below and the pictures are from the NDTV sites and the youtube sites.

EIGHT Sites near Bhubaneswar:

A 64 Yogini Tantrik Site

Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
The Sixty Four Yoginis temple at Hirapur is a circular enclosure with a narrow doorway to the eastern side. The diameter of the enclosure is 7.62 meters or 25 feet and height of the wall on the paved floor inside is 1.87 metres or 6 feet 2 inches. Yogini was considered sacred, hence this temple was created. Inside the temple there are 60 niches and in every niche there is a figure of a Yogini. All the Yogini images stand and are carved on black chlorite stone.

Nandan Kanan National Park

Located in Chandaka Forests, 20km from Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.
The park is spread in about 4 of area, while the wildlife
sanctuary is spread in around 5 sq. km. The park is home to more than 75 species of mammals and reptiles.The Nandan Kanan National park houses the very first captive gharial breeding centre of the country. Nandan Kanan justifies its literal meaning i.e. "Garden of Pleasure".

Lingaraja Bhubaneshwar Temple

Located in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
The Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering
over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Lingam here is unique which is a harihara lingam -half Shiva and half Vishnu.
Built by Yayati Kesari in the 7th century. This temple is dedicated to Tribhubaneshwar or the Lord of Three Worlds. The Lingaraja temple is about 1000 years old.

Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves

The caves are located atop the twin hills known as Udayagiri
(meaning the hill of the sunrise) and Khandagiri (meaning the
broken hill) which rise abruptly from the coastal plain, about 6km
West of Bhubaneswar, separated by a highway. Udaygiri caves are approximately 135 ft high and Khandagiri caves are 118 ft high.
The main attraction of these caves consists of its stupendous carvings. Of all the caves in Udaygiri, the largest one is the Rani Gumpha or the Queens Cave. The origin of the rock cut caves of Udaygiri and Khandagiri dates back to the 2nd century BC.
The caves are reminiscent of influence of Buddhism and Jainism in Orissa. The inscription and carvings on the walls show that they once served as Jain Monasteries.


Raghurajpur Craftsman Village

Located 14 kms from Puri in Orissa. The village is inhabited by artisans producing sheer poetry on pieces of treated cloth, dried palm leaf or paper. The Villages runs from east to west with houses arranged in two neat rows facing each other. In the centre runs a line of small temples. The village has a community of artisans who produce different verities of handicraft items like pata paintings, palm leaf
engravings, stone carvings, wooden toys and mask, wood carving, wooden toys, cow-dung toys, tusser paintings, etc. 


Puri Beach

Located on Shores of Bay of Bengal, at a mere distance of 35 kms from the Sun Temple and 65 kms from Bhubaneshwar. Pilgrims from all over India visit Puri to take a dip in the holy water of the rolling waves which is considered religious. It is renowned for the sand sculptures created particularly by the internationally famed Sudarshan Patnaik. Puri is the abode of Lord Jagannath and considered one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage destinations. The beach is a festive place where people come to relax and be entertained. It serves as the venue of the Puri Beach Festival.



Sun Temple, Konark

Situated at a distance from the famous religious and tourist centre of Puri (35 Km.) and the capital city of Bhubaneswar (65 Km). The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twenty four wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. The Sun Temple of Konark marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of
life all it`s wondrous variety. It was built by King Raja Narasinghs Deva-I of the Ganga Dynasty in the thirteenth century. It is a temple to Surya, the sun God.



Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake (also called Chilka lake) is a brackish water coastal lake in India`s Orissa state, south of the mouth of the Mantei River.
The area of the lake varies from 1165 km sq. in the monsoon season to 906 km sq. in the dry season, and is studded with numerous small islands. The lake is an important habitat and breeding ground for both
resident and migratory and aquatic birds, most notably flamingoes.
The lake was formed due to the silting action of the Mantei River
which drains into the northern end of the lake, and the northerly
currents in the Bay of Bengal, which have formed a sandbar along the eastern shore leading to the formation of a shallow lagoon.
The main attractions inside the lake are Kalijai Island, Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, Birds Island, Nalabana (Island of Reeds) and Parikud Island.


The Other Five sites in Orissa:

Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

Found in the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Orissa. Average weight of the turtles is just over 100 lb (up to 50 kgs). They have a high-domed shell, with a carapace length of only 30 inches (70 cms). Olive Ridleys are omnivorous, feeding on crabs, shrimp, rock lobsters, sea grasses, snails, fish, sessile, pelagic tunocates and small invertebrates. The Orissa coast is one of the three sites worldwide where mass nesting of the olive ridley turtle occurs. This sea turtle is especially known for its mass nesting when several thousand turtles migrate to the breeding ground to mate and nest simultaneously. Hindu mythology worships sea turtles as an incarnation of one their gods. Over the past five years, sea turtles have suffered mass mortality along the Orissa coast due to death by drowning as incidental catch in trawl- fishing nets. About 5000 to 10,000 dead turtles have been washed ashore each year, a total of over 100,000 in the last ten years.


Sitabinji Caves

Situated on River Sita, 30 km from Keonjhar.  The structure is like a half opened umbrella. It depicts a royal procession.
It has gained prominence for the ancient fresco painting on a rock shelter called “Ravan Chhaya”.

Khandadhar Waterfalls (youtube videos)

Khandadhar Waterfall is located amidst the forest of Sundergarh  (specific location is Nandapani). The Khandadhar Falls is categorized as a horsetail waterfall. The falls appear to be located on a smaller watercourse, though are said to be perennial.
During the monsoon months the water from the Koprani Nala, a rivulet, overflows and it drops down as a fall from a height of 800 feet.
This waterfall because of its height is visible from a distance of about 5 kilometres.

Hirakud River Dam (youtube videos)

Located 15 km from Sambalpur, Orissa. The Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in the state of Orissa in India. The dam regulates the flow of the Mahanadi River and produces hydroelectricity through several hydroelectric plants. Hirakund dam is about 4.8 km long, bordered by earthen dykes on its left as well as right. Built in 1956, the dam is the world`s largest earthen dam. The dam helps control floods in the Mahanadi delta and irrigates 7,500,000 hectares of land. Hirakud dam was the first post- independence river valley project in India.

Sleeping Vishnu Temple

The sleeping statue of Lord Vishnu is situated in Bhimkund, at a distance of about 28 kilometres from Talcher. The sleeping image of Vishnu at Bhimkund is second only to Gomateswar (Karnataka) in size. It has the honour of being the largest sleeping image in India.
In spite of its magnanimity, image contains a natural softness. The period of its creation is believed to be 8th-9th century AD.

Bhitarakanika, a Ramsar site of International importance, is proposed for a world heritage site

Bhadrakh, Bhitarakanika, Dhamara- Chandbali- Bhitarakanika, Ecotourism, Heritage sites, Island tourism, Kendrapada, River Cruise, Tourist promotion, Turtle nesting sites, Wild life Comments Off on Bhitarakanika, a Ramsar site of International importance, is proposed for a world heritage site

Following is an excerpt from a report in

… In India, just five natural sites have been accorded the WHS status. Manas, Kaziranga, Keoladeo, Sundarbans and Valley of Flowers – all national parks – have made it to the list between 1985 and 1988. No natural site has made into the list after that.

Currently, the Sun Temple at Konark is the only site in Orissa to have been accorded the elite WHS status. The Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri was proposed but in vain.

This time around, the Government of India has chosen seven natural sites to be projected before Unesco. Deserts have made it to the list this year.

It is Bhitarkanika’s unique eco-system that has worked in its favour. After Sunderbans, it is home to the second largest mangrove forest in India.

The wetland, one of India’s finest coastal ecosystems, is home to the country’s biggest salt water crocodiles. The latest crocodile census has put their number at over 1,500. Besides, it possesses Gahirmatha, largest nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles in the world.

However, much depends on the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, which is entrusted with the responsibility of presenting the case of the natural sites before Unesco. In fact, role of IUCN too would come to play during selection in case of natural sites.

In view of its exquisite flora and fauna, the State Government had notified it as a wildlife sanctuary in 1975. The sanctuary spreads over 672 sq km. In 1998, the core area of Bhitarkanika consisting of 145 sq. km was declared a national park.

The area was accorded the status of Ramsar site of International Importance in 2002 in view of its unique and fragile biodiversity. A proposal to notify it as a biosphere is underway.

The following map is from

Following are some pictures from a report in

Following is a description of it from

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.

Over 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 tw 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.

Entry Points :
Permission to visit Bhitarakanika can be obtained from Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar, PIN : 754225, Ph: (06729) 72460 or Assistant Conservator of Forests, Chandbali, Pin . 756133, Ph: (06786) 20372 on payment of prescribed fees.
Best season to visit – October to June.

Approach : Bhitarakanika can be approached only through water ways. Most convenient entry points being –

    *      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
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


    *      Aranyanivas, Chandbali
      Reservation : Tourist Officer, Balasore. Ph : (06782) 362048
    *       Forest Lodge-Dangmal, Ekakula, Gupti and Habalikhati.
      Reservation : Divisional, Forest Officer, Mangrove,,Forest,Division, Rajnagar. Dist: Kendrapada, PIN -754225 Ph.(06729), 72460. 

Sanctuaries and national parks in Orissa

Bhitarakanika, Chandaka, Nandan Kanan, National Parks and Sanctuaries, Satkosia gorge and tiger reserve, Similpal, Sunabeda tiger reserve Comments Off on Sanctuaries and national parks in Orissa

The following map is from

Satkosia included as a tiger reserve as part of Project Tiger

Satkosia gorge and tiger reserve Comments Off on Satkosia included as a tiger reserve as part of Project Tiger

The following is from

The  Government has approved the take over of eight new forest areas under its flagship programme Project Tiger in the country. An allocation of Rs. 32.00 crores has been estimated for tiger conservation in new Tiger Reserve areas during the XIth Five Year Plan period. Udanti and Sita Nadi  Wildlife Sanctuary in Chattisgarh will be the largest among new reserves with 1580 area.  Anamalai -Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuaries covers area of 1410 sq km area spread over  two states, Tamilnadu and Kerala.



Sl. No.

Name of the proposed new Tiger Reserve



(in sq. km.)


Anamalai -Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuaries

Tamil Nadu & Kerala



Udanti and Sita Nadi Wildlife Sanctuaries





Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary





Kaziranga National Park





Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary





Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park





Sanjay National Park and Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary


Madhya Pradesh



Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary

Tamil Nadu


***** has a good collection of articles on Orissa spots

Chandipur, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Heritage sites, Hills and hill stations, Historical places, Konark, Mahanadi tourism, National Parks and Sanctuaries, Nature spots, Puri, Similpal, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Temples, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion, Travelogue 1 Comment »

Their page on Orissa is at The list of sites in Orissa that they cover are:

Nandankanan is one of the five selected for reviving threatened species: Samaja/tathya

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cuttack, Nandan Kanan Comments Off on Nandankanan is one of the five selected for reviving threatened species: Samaja/tathya