The world of nature is full of wonders sometimes tender, sometimes awe inspiring but all the time exciting. Some of them defy description and transcend perception. Such a land of rare and unmatched beauty is Bhitarkanika - a wonder in the wild.
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.
Map of Bhitarkanika & GahirmathaOver 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 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.
N.P. & WL.S - Bhitarkanika
Area (sq. km) - 145.00
Ideal season for visit - Round the year, movement inside the sanctuary through water routes.
D.O.F. Mangrove Forest Division(WL), Rajnagar
FAX/Phone: (06729) 272460(O), 272464(R)
Asst. Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)
Phone: (06786) 220072
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 -