Simlipal National Park is located in Mayurbhanj district, Odisha. It is also a Tiger and elephant reserve. This park is named so because of the presence of a large number of semul or red silk cotton trees inside this park.
SIMLIPAL NATIONAL PARK
This National Park is influenced by both eastern and western climes of India, located as it is in North eastern Orissa bordered by Bihar on onside and West Bengal on the other.
The park’s topography also includes hills like Khairiburu and Meghashini which stand 1515m above the sea level.
Spread in an area of 2750 sq. km Simlipali’s Fauna includes the Royal Bengal Tiger, Wild elephants, Gaurs also called Indian bison and Chousingha.
The river Palpala, Budhabalanga, Khairi and Salandi flows through Simlipal national park. Two awe- inspiring waterfalls Barehipani and Joranda cascade down the hills here and are a sight to behold.
Odisha Government first declared this park as a wildlife sanctuary, encompassing an area of 2200 sq Km, in 1979. Later 303 sq kilometers was added in 1980 and 1986 the area was further extended to the present surface area.
Park is home to diverse life forms like animals birds, reptiles and Floral species. Also to its credit is the fact that the park is one of the earliest Tiger reserves under Project tiger.
Though Simlipal park is one of the 18 biospheres in India, it is not declared a National park because about 10,000 people, predominantly santhal tribes, have settled here.
Flora and Fauna of Simlipal National Park
This park in situated inside the Mayurbhanj elephant Reserve otherwise called the Simlipal Kuldiha –Hadgarh Elephant reserve. Three protected reserves –SimlipalTiger reserve, Hadgarh wildlife sanctuary and Kuldiha Wildlife sanctuary fall under this area.
Ample water supply, due to rivers and above average rainfall, is ideal for the growth of dry deciduous and moist green forests here. 96 species of colourful Orchidarium are found at Simlipal. Sal trees and champak flowers are aplenty. Some of the plants here are collected by the tribal population for medical use. Due to existence of human population, Eucalyptus plantations are also found in large numbers.
99+ Bengal tigers and 432+ elephants, feature among 55 varieties of mammals, 29 reptile species, 21 frog species, 38 fish species, 164 butterfly species and 231 diverse birds. Some of these species are endangered. Herds of bison, sambhar, Chousingha, are attracted to the savannah type grass grown in these parts.
Other animals include wild boar, Mugger crocodiles, Jungle cat, pangolin, porcupine, pythons, hill myna, barking deer, common langur, gaint squirrels, serpent eagle, Indian pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Indian trogon, flying squirrels red jungle fowl, Alexandrine parakeet pea fowl, and horn bills.
Tribals in these parts practice ancient rituals of hunting. Due to this, many animals have been killed or endangered earlier. Relocation of human habitat has been taken up since 2013. Two to three hamlets have been relocated by 2015 in accordance with National Tiger Conservation Authority. The local administration, forest department and local NGOs are negotiating to relocate other villages also so that the forest and its animals are safe.
How to Reach Simlipal National Park
There are two entry points for this one Pithabata is 22 kms away and Jashipur is 98 kms away.
The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar about 250 kms away. Calcutta’s international airport and Jameshepur airport are some 300 kms and 140 kms away respectively from Simlipal national park. From these places you can reach the national park by buses, jeeps or Taxis.
You can also reach the park through Baripada the national highway 5 and 6. Baripada is the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj where Simlipal National park is located.
The nearest railway stations are Baripada, Balasore, Tatanagar (Jamshedpur) and Kharagpur
There is a forest rest in Baripada. Inside the park you can stay at Aranya Niwas Tourist lodge after making advance bookings.
The Range officer at Pithabata check gate issues entry permits. The visitors can enter the park between 6 am to 12 in the afternoon. Reservations can be made between 6 am to 9 am.
This park is open for visitors for months October to June. Private jeeps and cars are best to explore this park. 13 seater vehicles of the forest department are available which can be hired at Jashipur. Elephant herds are often cited on such trips. Lucky ones have cited crouching tigers and leopards.
Since incidence of malaria is high, visitors are directed to take an anti malaria drugs before entering this park.
Since 2009, this park has been added to list of Biosphere reserves by UNESCO.
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