with its rich bounties of nature and scenic natural beauty has immense potential to occupy a place of pride in the eco-tourism map of the country. Some of eco-tourist places identified and frequently visited by different kinds of tourists are mentioned below.
Similipal is located in Mayurbhanj district in the state. 'Similipal' was chosen as one of the nine prime locations for tiger conservation under the 'Project Tiger' launched in the year 1973 in the country. Government of India declared Simlipal as a biosphere reserve in 1994. UNESCO added this national park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009.
Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of Semul or red silk cotton trees that bloom vividly. The hill range has been aptly described as "Salmali saila (the hill of Simul) in the poem "Usha" written by the famous Odia poet laureate Radhanath Ray.
The hills with numerous peaks and valleys in between, rise steeply from the plains of Udala in the South and Baripada in the South East and extend upto Jashipur in the north-west, Bisoi in the north and Thakurmunda to the west. There are several streams flowing in all directions and ultimately draining in to the Bay of Bengal. Major perennial streams are the Budhabalanga, Palpala, East Deo, Nekedanacha (Salandi), West Deo, Khairi, Bhandan and Khadkei.
Vast stretch of luxuriant vegetation, predominantly with Sal and more than 1150 plant species, offers ideal habitat and fodder for wild animals. The landscape, beautifully studded with numerous small and high hills like Meghasini (1163m) and Khairaberu (1168m), is densely covered with vegetation. Waterfalls like Joranda (150m) and Barehipani (400m) are the two most scenic places in Similipal. Simlipal is home to mega faunal species such as Royal Bengal Tigers, Wild elephants. Besides Simlipal is famous for Gaurs (Indian Bisons), Chausingha, as well as an orchidarium. Crocodile conservation program at Ramatirtha and Khadia tribes in the forest draw the attraction of the visitors..
Archeology: Within Similipal no features can be claimed as of archeological significance, although names like Ganapati, Davasthali, Nawan, Garh Similipal, etc. indicate the historical significance of the places. The Kichakeswari temple outside Similipal is linked to archeological richness of the district. Source: wikipedia
The park is open for tourist from November to June. But only limited LMV vehicles (40 through Jashipur gate and 20 through Pithabata gate) are permitted per day before 9 AM, to regulate the tourist pressure.
is situated in Kendrapara district which is about 162 kms from Bhubaneswar, the state capital. The park encompasses an area of 672 km² of the Bhitarkanika Mangroves, a mangrove swamp which lies in the river delta of the Brahmani, Baitarani, and Dhamra rivers. Bhitarkanika is home to the largest population of salt water crocodile, water monitor lizard, king cobra, python and many other reptiles and amphibians besides herbivores.
Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, the sea front of Bhitarkaniaka attracts as many as five lakh Olive Ridley sea turtle for nesting during February – March every year. Migratory birds like bar-headed goose, brahminy duck, pintail, shoveller, gadwall and pelican are prominent among winter visitors. The heronry at Bagagahan is unique where more than 50,000 resident and local migratory wetland birds nest during rainy season.
The area is a treasure trove for botanical and zoological studies and research. The floral diversity of this landscape is known to be the largest in India and second largest after Papua New Guinea in the world.
Ideal time to visit Bhktarkanika is from November to February. During this period one can see lot of crocodiles basking under sun. To witness mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles one has to visit Gahirmatha beach during February and March.
is 60 kms from Angul and 190 kms from Bhubaneswar and famous for the natural habitat of gharial and mugger crocodiles in the Satkosia gorge of Mahanadi. It is also a home of tiger, leopard, gaur, giant squirrel, sambar, barking deer, large number of elephants and birds. Bhimdhara waterfall, Mahanadi River gorge and dense deciduous forest, sighting of crocodiles, giant squirrels and migratory birds attract many tourists during winter season.
Tikarpada is the main place of attraction on the bank of river Mahanadi. Boat ride and jungle trekking facilities are available here with the help of local youths.
is situated adjacent to Bhubaneswar city. It has gained a lot of importance for eco-tourism and environmental education in the weekends. Sighting of elephants, deer, peacock and water birds are common near water bodies. Places like Deras, Jhumka, Kumarkhunti and Ambilo are t he destinations where bamboo huts, watch towers and Forest Rest Houses are available to provide night shelter to the visitors for watching wild animals.
known as beauty queen, is one of the internationally renowned Ramsar sites for its conservation of wetland ecosystem. Large number of migratory birds and Irrawaddy Dolphins are the major attractions for the tourists during October to March, although it can be visited throughout the year. Mangalajodi area witness the second highest migratory bird congregation during winter season in the year. Since the entry to the Nalaban (sanctuary) area is restricted to the common tourists, the visitors mainly rush to Mangalajodi to see the beautiful migratory birds from a handful distance while travelling through marshes in the country boat. Visiting of Kalijai, Bhagabati and Narayani temples add excitement to the visitors of Chilika.
is situated at the outskirt of Bhubaneswar. It is famous for white tigers. Kanjia lake and State Botanical Garden are also visited by tourists for boating and ropeway ride. Large number of wild animals and birds are kept in enclosures for enhancing wildlife awareness among the people and educating the students. Some of the added attractions are nature interpretation centre, lion safari, white tiger safari, deer park, water bird aviary, nature trail, Reptile Park, nocturnal house, aquarium, and elephant ride.
is situated in Baragarh district and is about 40 km from Sambalpur and 320 km from Bhubaneswar. Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary comprises of Lohara and Debrigarh Reserved Forests. The sanctuary is famous for its sylvan beauty and wild lives could be sighted very easily. The forest type is dry deciduous and filled with varied flora and fauna. Debrigarh tract lies in the Chhatisgarh-Dandakaranya region of Decan Peninsular. The Ushakothi water fall is a major attraction. The Debrigarh area is like an emerald nestled in the serene blue waters of Hirakud dam. Indian bison, chowsingha and water birds are the prime attractions. The vast water body of the Hirakud reservoir attracts thousands of Ducks, Geese and Waders for feeding and roosting in the winter months. Boating in the reservoir gives immense pleasure.
is situated in Balasore district and is about 31 km from Balasore and 260 km from Bhubaneswar. Preferable time of visit is from November to mid February. Sighting of Elephant, Gaur and Giant Squirrel inside dense peninsular Sal forest is a common phenomenon. Plenty of wild animals and birds are seen near Rissia and Sindhua reservoirs located within the sanctuary. Nearby tourist places are Chandipur-on-Sea, Remuna (khirachora Gopinath), Nilagiri and Panchalingeswar.
Above apart there are innumerable attractive ecotourism places in the state. Some of the lesser known places are Nrusimhanath ( in Baragarh district), Harisankar (in Bolangiri district), Badmul (bank of river Mahanadi in Nayagarh district), Pakidi (in Ganjam district), Bhetnoi-Balipadar (in Ganjam district), etc.