Green Shades of Simlipal
Located at a distance of 190 kms from Kolkata, Simlipal National Park in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha has its own reasons to attract itinerants all around the world. Spreading over an area of almost 3000 Kilometre Square, this national park hosts a wide range of flora and fauna. Being one among the 18 biospheres in India, Simlipal is a home to white tigers, leopards, sambar, barking deers, elephants and wild boars. Along with a variety of orchids, jungle fowl, hill mynah and Indian hornbill are some of the most commonly found species of birds in the green wood. Apart from the flora and fauna, the reserve surrounds three major water falls namely, Joranda, Uski and Baheripani that add a different attitude to the greenery. Its lush green valleys, widespread dense sal trees and assortment of orchids gather flocks of travellers every year. The forest remains closed during the monsoons; else and otherwise it can be visited throughout the year.
After we found out that Simlipal can be visited throughout the year except during monsoons, we planned to pack our bags and get ready for the jungles. Located at a distance of 190 km from Bhubaneswar, Simlipal National park and tiger reserve gives shelter to a variety of flora and fauna which includes but is not limited to tiger, leopard, Asian elephant, sambar, barking deer, red jungle fowl, eagle, snakes and numerous other wild lives.
Ignoring the temperature of Odisha during summer days of May, we arrived Baripada by bus from Kolkata. Heading for the Jashipur entrance gate to Simlipal which is 96 kms away from Baripada we had views of green fields, mountain ghats and the rising sun.
Reserve forest entry gate, Jashipur, Odisha, lens@ Footsteps
After our lunch at Kumari eco cottage, we started for Uski waterfall, one among the three waterfalls in Simlipal. From Uski, we went for one of the longest waterfalls in India, Baheripani waterfalls.
Our driver plus eco-guide was Mr. Abdul Wahid who had a sound knowledge of Simlipal. After reaching Jashipur, we verified our booking as well as entry tickets. After their due procedure, we started for our forest eco-tourism cottage at Kumari. On the way we saw two ancient trees, one is a ‘sal’ tree that was 340 years old and another ‘champa’ tree that 300 years in age.
The ‘sal’ and ‘champa’ tree, lens@ Footsteps
On our way we traced different species of birds. Next, we went to a place called ‘Chahala’ which is located in the ‘core area’ of jungle, an open space in the jungles where one can see deers, elephants etc. Also, barking and howling sounds of different animals can be heard from the junction. After having a late evening safari of the dark and dense woods we returned to our cottage.
Kumari Eco cottage at Simlipal, Odisha, lens@ Footsteps
Uski and Baheripani Waterfalls, Simlipal, Odisha lens@ Footsteps
Our morning started with a visit to Gurguria valley where we found elephants ready to leave for the jungle. Orchid houses and a small gully of river passing by make this valley truly worth visiting.
From there we headed for Khiching. A temple of Goddess Kali; and works of various coloured stones are the main attractions of this place. Our journey ended as we visited Ramtirtha. It is famous for its crocodile project and a small temple dedicated to Lord Ram. All through our tour lush green valleys, mighty mountains, kaccha roads, dense woods and wildlife kept us good company.
Points to remember about Simlipal- There are two entry gates at Simlipal. One through Pithabata gate near Lulung which carry a long trail through forest and another is Jashipur which enables entry into the jungle in much lesser time.
At Gurguria valley, Simlipal, Odisha, lens@ Footsteps
How to reach- From Baripada one can hire a bolero or a SUV for Jashipur. Ac/ non ac buses are also available for Jashipur (Cost-INR 100-120). For Pithabata gate, autos are available.
Where to stay- One can stay outside the jungle in Jashipur as hotels are easily available there. For a stay inside the forest one can to book from Odisha Forest Development Corporation and choose from a variety of options.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Try to hire heavy vehicle for the jungles as the roads are kaccha (dirt road) and have deep curves at many points.
- Carry sufficient food and water for your journey inside the jungle.
- Do carry mosquito and insect repellent sprays.
- Do cooperate with your eco-guide.
- Make sure that you always wear sneakers or boots in the woods.
- Never disturb the wildlife making unnecessary noises like speaking loudly, clapping or making faces.
- Don’t pollute the green using plastics.
Some important contacts-
Mr. Biswal- Officer at Bhubaneswar office of Odisha Forest Development Corporation +91-9437279340
Mr. Abdul Wahid- Our driver plus eco-guide +91-9437356175
Maitri, is a techie and travel freak hailing from the City of Joy, Kolkata. She has been travelling since time immemorial! But the constant fanaticism of exploring both less travelled and much travelled routes always made her step out of her cot. Natives and colonies of far lands and culture drew her towards their nest. She loves both hills and beaches, but neither to the extent of disliking the other. She also loves long drives on highways, clicking pictures of sunny beaches, driving through green hills, walking across white mountains, dancing in vibrant desert, running in dense woods and all every other thing where she can find her ‘true’ self. Hope you enjoy reading her ‘freakishness’, fellas!!