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Things To Do In Similipal National Park
Simplipal National Park is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Orissa, India; situated in the Mayurbhanj district of the state. Home to 99 tigers and 432 elephants, it runs one of the most important tiger and elephant conservation programs in the country. The park also provides sanctuary to hundreds of bird and reptile species among its diverse wildlife population, and with its dense forests and vast green meadows, it is a breath-taking example of nature’s perfectly curated ecosystem.
In addition to the visibly splendid biodiversity, the plant population of the park also falls in the range of thousands of species. The most commonly noticeable vegetation is that of the red silk cotton Semul trees, which also serves as the namesake of the park. A thoroughly memorable trip awaits you in Simlipal; here’s a look at some of the best things to do and explore in Simlipal National Park.
Sightseeing at the National Park
Spread over more than 2700 sq. km of dense forests, vast grasslands and towering hills and plateaus, there is an abundance of areas to explore within Simlipal that are not restricted to just its impressive resident wildlife. The famous Barehipani and Joranda Waterfalls are majestic sights that offer some of the best camera-worthy moments within the park, with visitors often seen enjoying picnics in the vicinity of the picturesque falls as well. Nature lovers will also love the plethora of plant species present here, which range upwards of a thousand in number.
Enjoy a Drive in the Park
While there are jeeps available with travel guides for hire in the park, visitors also have the option to bring their own SUV (Sports-Utility-Vehicle) into the sanctuary premises and drive around at their own leisure. A special permit is required to do so, and while seasoned visitors are free to explore the park on their own, it is recommended to hire a guide to travel with you in your vehicle to help you find your way into the forests and back.
Apart from the wildlife exploration and sightseeing opportunities in the park, adventure enthusiasts will love the fact that there are some brilliant locations within the reserve that offer fun trekking opportunities. There are easy spots for those looking for simple nature walks or light hikes, along with rolling hills that offer challenging trails to those expecting some extra thrill. There are also camping facilities available at select areas for the ease of the trekkers. Be sure to speak to an experienced guide before embarking on any hike.
Interact with the Local Tribal Communities
It is not simply the vast animal and bird population that Simlipal is home to; a number of tribal communities once lived within the confines of the forest reserve, most of which have now been relocated to other areas with the help of the Orissa government. However, there are still about a 100 tribal families that still reside in this reserve and finding the opportunity to interact with them and learn about their culture and customs is one of the most enjoyable things to do on a trip to the park.
Home to over 200 species of birds, Simlipal is a bird-watcher’s delight. Rare birds like the Black Ibis, Grey Pelican, Red Necked Falcon, Alexandrine Parakeet and Indian Pied Hornbill can be observed in the wilderness of the park, along with numerous other indigenous, resident species that call this place home. During winter season, the park also witnesses the influx migratory birds from colder regions like Siberia.