Bhitarkanika: Nature lovers’ paradise
Dotted with lush green mangroves and home to an excellent diversity of flora and fauna, Bhitarkanika is a nature lover’s paradise. Being the second largest compact mangrove ecosystem in India with more than sixty varieties of luxuriant mangrove plants, the place is teeming with an enviable list of rare and endangered species.
This National Park extends to more than six hundred square kilometres, and bounded by rivers and the sea on either side, offering a unique experience to the visitors. The only way to explore these luxuriant mangrove forest is through boats. The easy spotting of the giant estuarine crocodiles, varieties of amphibians, birds and deer coupled with the scenic landscape provided by the intricate network of creeks, canals and the mangrove forests makes Bhitarkanika a must visit destination.
Apart from the giant estuarine crocodiles, one can spot the Indian python, black ibis, wild pigs, rhesus monkeys, chitals, darters, cobra, water monitor lizard, spotted deer and wild boars. The sanctuary boasts of 170 species of resident and migratory birds prominent among which are king fisher, open billed storks, sea eagles, kites, sand pipers, darters, whistling teals, sea gulls to name a few.
While cruising through the creeks makes for a thrilling experience, one can also trek along to watch the wildlife in their natural habitat. The place is also popular for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles that visit Gahirmatha twice every year between January and March to lay eggs.