Odisha is one of the few states in the Country with an extensive forest cover and a rich diversity of wildlife. The wildlife ecosystem covers rivers, forests and wetlands providing habitation to a wide range of faunas. Elephant corridors, sanctuaries for tigers and crocodile, nestling avenue of turtles and a rendezvous with migratory birds – a wildlife enthusiast will find himself pampered with the amazing range of wildlife on display in the state.
The Simlipal reserve, which hosts numerous tigers and other fauna and flora and the accompanying Barehipani and Joranda falls are outstanding tourists destinations where one can see the beauty of nature in full bloom. Situated at a distance of around 60 kilometers from Baripada, this reserve is one of the most popular locations in Orissa.
It is a national park and a tiger reserve and is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve which includes protected areas i.e. Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadgarh Wildlife sanctuary and Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary. Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of Semul or red silk cotton trees that bloom abundantly in the locality.
Similipal can be accessed through Pithabata from Baripada and 98 km via Jasipur. Similipal captivates tourists with its wide swaths of meadows, sparkly waterfalls, meandering rivers, roaring tigers and flying squirrels. It is one of the tiger projects and national park in India. About 1076 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds are found in Similipal biosphere reserve. The richly hued orchids on the green foliage bewitch the visitors and enchant them.
The panoramic view of the waterfalls at Barehipani and Joranda complements well the verdant beauty of Similipal. The chirping of birds amidst silence lends a mystic to the ambience.
The parade of swaggering elephants across the roads and rivulets is common sight. While one is moving on the hilly tracts, predators like tiger and leopards might be obliviously resting under the shade lost in their own thoughts. Occasionally they can be spotted there or at other places.
For a nature lover, Similipal is a paradise and one can return back with an enriched memory and with a desire to repeat the experience.
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