Nature and crocodile trail in Bhatarkanika
Nature’s best can only be experienced with few of the places in Odisha and Bhitaraknika is one of them. It is the hot spot of bio diversity and unique place to understand rich flora & fauna. It is a heaven of rich, lush green flora & fauna, vibrant eco-system lying in the region of Brahmani- Baitarani in the North-Eastern corner of Kendrapara district of Orissa. The area is intersected by a network of creeks with Bay of Bengal on the East. The alley between the meandering creeks and rivers, houses the second largest viable mangrove eco-system of India. Trees like sundari, thespia, casuarinas, and grasses like the indigo bush are plently available here. Mangroves are salt tolerant, complex and dynamic eco-system that occur in tropical and subtropical inter-tidal regions. Its 672 square km of dense mangrove forest & wetland, provide home to well over 215 species of birds including winter migrants from central-Asia and Europe. Some of the famous varieties of species of avifauna includes eight varieties of Kingfishers, Asian Open Bill, Cormorants, Darters, Black Ibis, Egrets etc.
Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that 10 percent of the adults exceed 6 m length. Nearly 700 saltwater crocodiles inhabit the rivers and creeks. These giant salt water crocodiles and variety of other wildlife inhabitants in this eco-system which form Asia’s one of the most spectacular wildlife area. Other than that there are white crocodile, Indian python, black ibis, wild pigs, rhesus monkeys, chitals, darters, cobra, water monitor lizard . Olive ridley sea-turtles nest on Gahirmatha and other nearby beaches.
The well laid nature’s trail in Bhitarkanika Forest Block is around 4 Kms which is a thrilling experience & a photographer’s delight. The boat ride through different leg of the nalas can give you immense opportunities to shoot the various flora & fauna. Birds’ photography can be best viewed from the watch towers. You have to be early to reach there to shoot the best of the avian fauna. Best of the crocodile photography can be seen across the creek during the early hour of the day. It’s an suggestion and advice to photographers to stay & start the day early to capture the best of the bio-heaven.
How to reach & stay there:
A stay in tents and a boat ride across in the water, study & view of birds in different watchtowers can make a wonderful experience. It can be approached by road from Rajnagar via Khola Check gate which is about 30 Kms. from Rajnagar by road. Dangmal can also be approached from Gupti by boat through Patsala river & then Bhitarkanika nala in that order. Gupti is about 25 Kms. from Rajnagar and Dangmal is 1 hr 15 minutes journey by boat from Gupti. Dangmal can be approached from Chandbali by boat in Baitarani, Brahmani & the Khola creek in the Bhitarkanika Nala in that order. Travelling by boat is advisable as it entails a thrilling experience. There are two resorts available at village Khola where you can stay.