Nandankanan Biological Park

The picturesque Nandankanan, or the Garden of the Gods, is a beautiful biological park, 20 kms from Bhubaneshwar, established in 1960. It sprawls across the Chandaka forest, where the flora and fauna flourish in their natural habitat. The park houses the very first captive gharial breeding centre of the country. The zoo at Nandakanan is world-renowned for its white tigers. In 1980, for the very first time, three white tiger cubs were born from normal coloured parents.

With facilities for boating, white tiger and lion safaris, a nocturnal animal house, reptile park, aerial ropeway and cable car, it is the place for a person with a penchant for the great outdoors.

Chandka Elephant Reserve

Located in Bhubaneshwar, this reserve is the ony one of its kind in India. Besides elephants, sambar, bears, wild dogs, pea fowls and pythons can be spotted.

Chilika Lake

Located at a distance of 100 km from Bhubaneshwar, this lake covering an area of 900 sq. km, is Asia's largest salt and fresh water lake. It attracts a large number of migratory birds, like the flamingo, teal, bar headed goose, shoveller and white - bellied sea eagle. For bird-lovers, Chilika is best visited in winter when the migratory populations wing in from places as far as Siberia

Close to the mouth of the lake, is a large population of Gangetic dolphins. Chilika is easily accessible from both Bhubaneshwar and Puri.

Bhitarkanika Sanctuary

Bhitarnika is an adventurist's paradise and a breeding ground for Olive Ridley turtles. The second largest mangrove forest of the country, it was declared a sanctuary in 1975, in order to protect the estuarine crocodile and the turtles in their rare mangrove habitat. Other residents of the sanctuary include water monitor lizards and king cobras.

Similipal Tiger Reserve

The Simlipal National Park, one of the earliest to come under Project Tiger, is located in the forest belt of north Orissa. It was the erstwhile hunting preserve of the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj. Simlipal, covering an area of 2,750 sq kms was declared, in 1973, as one of the nine tiger project reserves in the country. A vast tract of stately sal forests, beautiful waterfalls and grassy valleys, twelve rivers run across its expanse. It is home to panthers, tigers, gaur bison, antelopes, sambar, mouse deer - the tiniest of the deer family, mugger or crocodiles, and more than 223 species of birds.

The best time to visit is October to early June.

How to get there: Air and rail - Jamshedpur (140 km), Bhubaneswar (350 km), Calcutta (240 km)

The nearest town is Baripada (50 km).

Accomodation is available at Forest Rest House.

Contact: Field Director, Simlipal, Project Tiger, Baripada, Orissa - 757002.

Satkosia - Baisipalli Sanctuary

Flanking the Satkosia gorge and very rich in flora and fauna, this sanctuary is famous for its Gharial breeding project. A stay here, and a trek in the 25 km long gorge, with beautiful forests on either side, is a memorable experience.

Orissa