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Tourist Places To Visit In Similipal National Park
Simlipal National Park is one of India’s largest wildlife sanctuaries and is located in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. Spread over an area of 845 sq. km, the national park includes three protected regions – the Simlipal Tiger Reserve, the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary and the Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is home to almost a hundred tigers and more than 400 elephants, with numerous other species of wildlife that attracts nature lovers from all over the country. Apart from its impressive biodiversity, the scenic landscapes and picturesque meadows of Simplipal make it the perfect spot for vacationers looking to spend some quality time in nature’s lap. Read on to know some more about the best places to visit around Simlipal National Park.
Barehipani & Joranda Waterfalls
At a height of almost 500 m, the Barehipani Falls are the second highest waterfalls in the country and one of the main attractions of Simlipal National Park. It is created by the Budhabalanga River as it meanders over the Meghasan mountain. During peak season, crowds can always be seen gathered around the picturesque two-tiered waterfalls trying to capture the perfect picture. The Joranda Falls are situated close to the Barehipani and fall from a height of 152 m that starts off as a single stream and spreads out at the bottom. The area around the majestic falls is a fantastic place to just spend some time admiring the beauty of the surroundings, or even enjoy a picnic with family and friends.
The Devkunda Pond is a naturally created water body that receives a steady inflow from a waterfall located nearby. The name Devkunda translates to ‘the bathing spot of gods’; it holds significant religious importance for the local Hindus who bathe in the water to receive the blessings of the gods as well. In addition to this charming pond, a small temple dedicated to the deity Ambika is situated on a hill nearby that was constructed by Rajkumar Prafulla, a researcher and king of Mayurbhaj during the period of British occupation of India.
The centre of Ramatirtha is known best for its Mugger Management Program – a Mugger crocodile conservation farm situated on the banks of the Khairi river. The eggs and young crocodile offspring were initially brought in from Tamil Nadu and have been bred in this centre since 1984. So far, the program has managed to release 600 crocodiles into the wild in Simlipal.
Chahala is a spot in Simlipal National Park that is known for being one of the best locations for deer, elephant and peacock sightings, among other fascinating species. It is situated along the border of the Simplipal Tiger Reserve, and is also known for occasional sightings of the Bengal tiger. There is also a forest lodge here that is available to visitors for accommodation needs.
Baripada is the headquarters of Mayurbhanj district. It also serves as the junction town where travellers arrive before moving on to any one of the entry points to the park, and is a wonderful place to spend some time in before visiting Simlipal. Known most for its background in cultural arts, Baripada is well known for the Chhau dance form; most of the Oriya celebrities have their origins in Baripada. This town celebrates its regional festivals with a lot of grandeur, especially Chaitra Parva – the chariot journey of the deity Subhadra, which is carried around town exclusively by the women of the region. Don't forget to visit the well known Jagannath Temple that is one of the highlights of Baripada.