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Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary
29° C / 84.2° F
October to February
1 to 2 Days
Bhubaneswar (75 kms)
Bhadrak (49 kms)
The Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary is the only marine sanctuary of Orissa. In 1997 the Government of Orissa declared the area as Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary considering its ecological significance and diverse floral and faunal resources. Stretching over 705 metres, the Gahirmatha beach has been a cradle to adult sea turtles and their babies since time immemorial.
The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is located in the Kendrapara district along the eastern coast of Orissa. It extends from Dhamra River mouth in the north to Mahanadi River mouth in the south.
Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
As one of the three mass breeding sites, Gahirmatha is also a world heritage site and in 1979 it was declared a Turtle Sanctuary. The Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is the nesting ground of the giant Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Sea turtles are migratory species and some are believed to migrate across thousands of miles from their feeding to nesting ground. The Olive Ridley Sea Turtles travel from as far as the south pacific to breed on the sandy beaches of Gahirmatha. These turtles are known for the epic journeys that they undertake annually to breed and recuperate. They usually mate between November and January and the breeding period is of eight months from October to May.
The government with the help of NGOs have succeeded in creating a safe habitat for these turtles and transformed the area into a restricted zone to ensure complete protection for these animals. Legislative measures have put a ban on fishing trawlers and imposed restrictions on nearby industries.
It is a fascinating experience to watch these creatures crawling out of the deep sea, labouring, selecting a site, digging holes, laying almost 200 eggs, covering the area and crawling back to the sea all within a mere 45 minutes! For this unforgettable experience, a visit to Gahirmatha is a must.
Gahirmatha Weather And Best Time To Visit
Like the rest of Orissa, Gahirmatha experiences extremely hot summers and pleasant winters. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to February.
How To Get To Gahirmatha
The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar (75kms) and nearest railway station is Bhadrak (49kms). The closest highway is NH5 running from Kolkata to Chennai. While travelling by road you have to take NH5 from Bhubaneswar on to Cuttack, Kendrapara and Rajnagar.
Indian Nationals: For one to nine visitors a fee of Rs. 20 is charged per person and for ten or more visitors each ticket costs Rs. 10.
Foreign Nationals: For one to nine visitors an entry fee of Rs. 1000 each is charged and for ten or more visitors each ticket costs Rs. 200. Children below three years and physically challenged people are allowed free entry.