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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trip to Bhitarkanika National Park, Odisha

Lurking Danger - signpost
A trip to Bhitarkanika National Park was long pending and we decided to visit it in October 2010.

Situated in Orissa, India this place is a hotspot of diversity – home to the second largest area of mangrove forest only next to the Sunderbans, the estuarine or Salt water crocodile and the OR(Olive Ridley Turtles). This place can be accessed from Gupti by boat(provided by the Forest department). You can find the details in many websites – however the most authentic we felt is…http://www.bhitarkanika.orgYou can also try finding more details from a private operator at http://www.bhitarkanikanationalpark.com/


The best time to visit is between Nov and March, however we decided to go ahead with our trip, knowing that the weather could play truant(with an impeding cyclone). Our journey began from Gupti by boat(there is a fair weather road also to Dangamal from Rajnagar, which was closed due to heavy rains) and the journey through the Patsala and Bhitarkanika river was exciting.

We started see mud-flats which seem to be the lifeline in such an ecosystem. The crocodiles, the birds, the mangrove seed and everything around seem to survive. The ecosystem is quite cyclic in nature with high and low tides, each occurring alternately in every 6 hrs i.e. with two high tides and two low tides in a 24 hr cycle. The whole flora and fauna had adjusted to this web of life.

Soon the boat driver shouted “Sir there is a 20 ft crocodile to your left”…and what a sight it was to see this majestic creature…with its mouth open, basking in the sun. It was around 3:30 in the afternoon and the tide was receding…and our boat was struggling to go against the current. Slowly, we could see a lot of crocodiles on both sides…as per the last census in 2009, there were 1610 crocodiles recorded. However as per the data available at the breeding centre more than 2300 crocodiles has been bred and released into this water system. There is a mortality rate and obviously many would have moved to surrounding water systems.

Forest Rest house
There is good accommodation provided by the Forest Department with an interpretation center, few captive crocodiles, a python etc. Do not expect much from a facilities point of view – there are of acceptable standard and not luxurious. In the evening, spotted deer and wild boars come close to the Forest rest house. We did spot the jungle and spotted owlet. To our fortune we got introduced to Chandan Jani a wildlife researcher and consultant. He informed us that there were 18 species of spiders including Tarantula. He was researching and training guide during those days.

surprised look of Chital on the trail track
The next day morning he guided us through a small trek and explained the ecosystem of mangroves – 70 species, nematophores, buttress root system, and whole lot of things. The 2 hrs trek was enough to drain us and we were not prepared with our footwear. His suggestion for a 7 kms trek in the other side of the park was not accepted by us and it seems one could encounter a lot more flora and fauna during this…DONOT MISS THIS PART.

With the cyclone sending strong signals we decided to cut short our trip by a day and head back to safer ground. The journey back was much faster as we moved with the current and spotted a lot of crocodiles again.

It was worth a good trip and we would love to go back during the winter season.

(Contributed by EnigmaticIndia team)

4 comments:

  1. How did you get ur permit to go inside along with accommodation, did u booked through phone or agent.Also what was the total estimated cost of the journey.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How did you get ur permit to go inside along with accommodation, did u booked through phone or agent.Also what was the total estimated cost of the journey.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is very nice travel to Bhitarakanika.
    I enjoyed your blog a lot. Thank you for posting such wonderful insight.
    Panchalingeswar To Bhitarkanika Tour Packages

    ReplyDelete

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