Odisha, a captivating state, is adorned with unspoiled coastlines, temples, and lakes, offering an enchanting experience to all who visit. Favored as one of India’s top tourist destinations, Odisha never fails to impress. Not only does it encompass the aforementioned attractions, but it also embraces an abundance of national parks that are pure paradises for nature enthusiasts. These sanctuaries in Odisha unveil a breathtaking spectacle of diverse plant life and rare, endangered wildlife, leaving visitors in a state of awe.
The Top 10 National Parks in Odisha
Continue reading to discover the ideal locations and remarkable sightings within these extraordinary national parks in Odisha. The winter season proves to be the best time to explore these parks, with October through March being the most pleasant months to visit.
- The Splendid Simlipal National Park
- The Mesmerizing Bhitarkanika National Park
- The Majestic Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Enchanting Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Pristine Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Serene Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Exquisite Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Captivating Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Breathtaking Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Spellbinding Ushakothi (Badrama) Wildlife Sanctuary
1. Simlipal National Park
Situated in the Mayurbhanj district, Simlipal National Park is among the most renowned national parks in Odisha. Recognized as a tiger reserve in 2007 due to its thriving tiger population, this park spans an impressive area of 2750 square kilometers, making it the seventh biggest national park in India. Within its boundaries lie mesmerizing waterfalls, including Joranda and Barehipani, showcasing the park’s natural splendor. Simlipal National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Bengal tigers, gaurs, elephants, sambals, leopards, jungle cats, wolves, and hyenas. This sanctuary also boasts a rich avian population, featuring jungle fowls, partridges, grey hornbills, mynas, and crested serpent eagles.
Location: Dist, Mayurbhanj, Baripada, Odisha 757002Opening Hours: The tiger reserve is open from 6 am to 9 am, while the national park is open round the clock.Entrance Fee: INR 30 per personHow To Reach: The nearest airport is located in Bhubaneswar, approximately 270 km away, and the closest railway station is in Balasore, 60 km away.
2. Bhitarkanika National Park
Situated across a sprawling area of 145 square kilometers, the wetland known as Bhitarkanika is divided into three protected regions: Bhitarkanika National Park, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary. This piece of land experiences regular floods from the rivers Brahmani, Dhamra, Baitarani, and Pathsala, transforming it into a marshy wetland. Surrounded by mangrove vegetation, this national park provides a habitat for various water-dwelling creatures and birds, including saltwater crocodiles, estuarine turtles, and many others. It is also possible to spot animals like the king cobra, Indian python, black ibis, spotted deer, wild boar, and water monitor lizard. Bhitarkanika’s marshy wetland is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India, second only to the Sundarbans, and is undeniably one of the most remarkable national parks in Odisha that travelers must explore.
Location: Paramanandpur, Odisha 754248Hours of Operation: 7 am to 5 pmEntry Fee: INR 20 per personHow to Get There: The closest railway station is Cuttack, 140 km away. From Cuttack, one can hire a private cab to reach the national park.
3. Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
Boasting the mesmerizing landscape of Satkosia Reserve, with the River Mahanadi flowing through its heart, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary offers a breathtaking view. Encompassing an expansive area of 795.52 square kilometers, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, making it one of the most popular national parks in Odisha. This sanctuary, a haven for photographers, is home to various species such as spotted deer, tigers, leopards, four-horned antelopes, and sloth bears. Furthermore, it is considered a sanctuary for gharials due to the high number of these creatures found here.
Location: Odisha 759132Hours of Operation: 9 am to 6 pmEntry Fee: FreeHow to Get There: The nearest railway station is Angul, located 42 km away from the sanctuary.
4. Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary
Chilika, the largest saltwater lagoon in Odisha and India, is surrounded by the Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary, which serves as the home for numerous native and migratory bird species. Spanning an impressive 1100 square kilometers, this sanctuary stands as one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. Bird watchers and ornithologists will find themselves in paradise, as this sanctuary offers the opportunity to spot a variety of avian species such as the White Bellied Sea Eagle, Flamingo, Open Billed Stork, Brahminy Kite, Kingfisher, Egret, Pintail, Bareheaded Goose, and many more. Witnessing the sunset over the lake while the migratory birds fill the sky is a truly magnificent sight that should not be missed.
Location: Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of OdishaHours of Operation: 6 am to 7 pmEntry Fee: FreeHow to Get There: The nearest railway station is Bulugaon, which is 19 km away, while the nearest airport is Bhubaneswar, located 120 km away.
5. Experience the Splendor of Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary offers a breathtaking landscape featuring a magnificent ravine, 11 cascading waterfalls, an expansive plateau, and lush forests, all encompassing an area of 500 sq km. This sanctuary, which is among the top national parks in Odisha, is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Currently being considered as a tiger conservation reserve, it boasts a thriving population of tigers and leopards. Other notable inhabitants of the sanctuary include swamp deer, elephants, barking deer, chital and sambar, sloth bears, monkeys, and langurs. Bird enthusiasts will also be delighted by the presence of various bird species such as hill mynahs and peafowls.
Location: Nuapada District, Odisha
Opening Hours: Open 24/7
Entrance Fee: Free
How To Get There: The nearest railhead to the sanctuary is Nuapada Road, which is approximately 30 km away.
6. Embark on an Adventure in Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering a massive area of 400 sq km, Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the largest sanctuaries in Odisha. It encompasses five reserve forests, three proposed reserve forests, and a few deemed forests. The sanctuary is characterized by the presence of sal, pisal, and sissoo forests. Within its boundaries, a vibrant array of wildlife species can be found, including tigers, leopards, antelopes, barking deer, wild boars, jackals, civet cats, and nilgai. In recognition of its ecological significance, Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Location: Baliguda Kandhamal, Odisha
Operating Hours: 9 am to 6 pm
Admission Fee: INR 15 per person
How to Get There: The nearest railway station is Berhampur.
7. Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Displaying a breathtaking landscape of dense sal forests and grasslands, Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for being the habitat of various avifauna species. Additionally, this sanctuary is a common sighting place for tigers, leopards, deer, jungle cats, porcupines, wolves, and langurs. Established in 1978, this bio reserve spans over an area of 191 sq km, and the picturesque landscape created by the Salandi River flowing through it makes it one of the most scenic national parks in Odisha.
Location: Keonjhar, Odisha 758023
Operating Hours: Open 24/7
Admission Fee: Free
How to Get There: The closest railhead is Bhadrak, located 20 km away.
8. Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated just 15 km away from Bhawanipatna, Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled among lush deciduous forests and features the stunning Phurlijharan waterfall. Visitors flock to this sanctuary to marvel at the beauty of this gorgeous cascade and enjoy day picnics. The sanctuary is also home to animals such as barking deer, Nilgai, leopards, gaurs, sambars, and soft-clawed Ottawas, along with a diverse range of reptiles and birds.
Location: Kalahandi, Odisha
Operating Hours: Open all day
Admission Fee: Free
How to Get There: The nearest railhead is Kesinga Railway Station.
9. Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Aashutosh Sharma for Pexels
Once the abode of renowned freedom fighter Surender Sai during the British era, Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is now a haven for exotic wildlife. Visitors can observe a wide array of creatures in this sanctuary, including tigers, leopards, hyenas, monitor lizards, and more. Although it may be a dry forest, the experience it offers is unparalleled. Prior permission from the forest department is necessary if you wish to avail of accommodation facilities within the sanctuary.
Location: Right Dyke Road, Odisha 768030
Operating Hours: 6 am to 5 pm
Admission Fee: INR 1,260 for a 4-seater Gypsy
How to Get There: The nearest railhead is Sambalpur.
10. Ushakothi (Badrama) Wildlife Sanctuary
Dominique20 for Pixabay
Situated in the heart of the Wardha River and the Penganga River, Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem in Odisha. Located approximately 40 kilometers from Sambalpur, this sanctuary spans an impressive 300 square kilometers and was established in 1962. The majority of the area is covered by forests, which house incredible species of trees such as Neem, Acacia Sandalwood, Sal, and more. The highlight of this sanctuary is its population of Asian elephants, alongside wild boars, snakes, and hyenas.
Location: NH 6, Odisha 768107
Operating Hours: 6 am to 5 pm
Admission Fee: INR 10 for Indians, INR 100 for Foreigners
How to Get There: The nearest railway station is in Sambalpur.
The national parks in Odisha are exceptionally picturesque and provide an exhilarating experience of wilderness. From tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears to endangered birds and reptiles, these national parks are paradise for nature enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and photographers. If you identify with any of these categories, consider booking a trip to Odisha and have a remarkable time exploring these destinations!
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Frequently Asked Questions About National Parks in Odisha
Which national park is the largest in Odisha?
Simlipal is the largest national park in Odisha.
Which is the best time to witness wildlife and birds in Odisha?
The ideal time to spot wildlife and engage in bird watching in Odisha is during winter, specifically from October to March.
What activities can be enjoyed at Simlipal National Park?
Some of the activities to enjoy at Simlipal National Park include wildlife spotting and marveling at the scenic beauty of various waterfalls such as Barehipani, Debkunda, Joranda, and Sitakund. Visitors can also pack a picnic and spend a day amidst nature.