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Similipal National Park Tourism And Travel Guide
17.4° C / 63.2° F
November to March
1 to 2 Days
Biju Patnaik International Airport (195 kms)
Balasore Railway Station (110 kms)
A wildlife sanctuary that is best known for being one of the most important tiger and elephant reserves in the country, Similipal National Park is located in Mayurbhanj area of the coastal state Orissa. Similipal comes from the word 'Semul,' a type of red silk cotton tree found in abundance here. Teeming with exquisite biodiversity, the park has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009 and is a sprawling ecosystem that is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna.
The park was included under Project Tiger in 1973, which is one of the important tiger conservation programs in the country, and elevated to the status of a national park in 1979. The region of Similipal National Park has seen a steady rise in tourism ever since, and witnesses hundreds of visitors each year who travel to this reserve to experience the thriving species of flora and fauna here on a personal level. Listed below is a comprehensive travel guide to help you plan a fun trip to Simlipal National Park.
How to Reach
International tourists can fly in to the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar or the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, which is located 195 km and 365 km away from Simlipal respectively. The nearest domestic airport from the Park is the Sonari Airport located in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand; around 190 km or a three hour ride away.
The nearest railhead from Simlipal National Park is the Balasore Railway Station located around a 100 km away. It is located on the Howrah-Chennai main line and operates all trains running on the South Eastern Railway. The Baripada Railway Station is also located almost the same distance away from Simlipal and can be used as an alternative railway junction access point.
Road accessibility to Simlipal is a convenient affair through the regularly operating buses and private transportation available from Baripada – the nearest town from the Park. Baripada is located on the junction of National Highway 5 and 6; after reaching this town, one can move on to the different entry points to Simlipal via buses, jeeps or taxis available at Baripada. The entry point Pithabata is 21 km away; Lulung is 20 km away via NH 5 and Jashipur is 95 km away via NH 6 from Baripada.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Winter (October – February):
Winters are the most ideal time to visit Simlipal since the weather remains pleasant and cool all through the season, with majority of the park’s open months (November - June) also falling under these months. The minimum temperature averages around 14⁰C and the overall climate remains perfect for observing the different varieties of flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
Summer (March – September):
Summers in Simlipal are too hot to enjoy the attractions of the National Park, with maximum temperatures often rising above 40⁰C. Even the animals rarely venture out of their shade and shelter during these intense months. The monsoons arrive in June and bring relief from the sweltering heat, but the park is shut down during these months from June to September.
Things to Do
Visitors to the park have the option of enjoying a jeep safari all across the reserve accompanied with a tour guide who assists with information about the various types of vegetation in the park, and more importantly, the different species of wildlife and the best spots to observe them in their natural habitat. There is also the option of driving through the park in your own vehicle, which requires special permits and some token fees.
Picnic at the Waterfalls:
Apart from the exquisite wildlife population, the Barehipani and Joranda Falls are one of the main attractions of the park and a spectacular location to enjoy some quality time with family and friends, or even by yourself. The Devkunda Pond is also an amazing spot that receives a constant flow from a waterfall nearby, and has water so clear it almost seems fit to drink. It is a popular place where visitors enjoy refreshing dips, especially the local Hindus who believe the water to be sacred.
Interact with the Local Tribal Communities:
With about 10000 tribal locals living in 60 villages within the park, there is ample opportunity to mingle with the natives and get to know their life and culture on a personal level. Majority of the tribal communities have been relocated to other areas, yet there is still a sizable population residing in these villages even today that prevents the sanctuary from gaining a full-fledged national park status.
Where to Stay
Most visitors to the park choose to stay in the town of Baripada that has relatively better options in accommodation and eateries. The park itself does have lodges where people can stay over on their trip; with a few exceptions, most of these places require visitors to bring their own food – utensils are usually provided. Some of the accommodation options present within the park are the Toshali Jungle Lodge, Nawana Forest Rest House and Lulung Forest Lodge.