Literally meaning the 'Garden of Pleasure', Nandankanan is a
combination of a beautiful botanical garden, a zoo and a sanctuary. Situated 20
km from Bhubaneshwar, Nandankanan provides perfect escape from the hustle and
bustle of the city. The quiet environment of Nandankanan is set amidst a vast
expanse of the Chandaka forest where the flora and fauna flourish in
their most natural habitat and environment.
The zoo at Nandankanan is world famous for its white tigers. In 1980, for the
first time, three white cubs were born to ordinary tiger parents. Leopards,
Lions, Bears and other reptiles and smaller mammals keep the tigers company.
Among other sanctuaries, Nandankanan also has the first Gharial breeding centre.
Recently a Lion safari was launched which has become extremely popular among
tourists. Other attractions of the park includes white tiger safari, nocturnal
animal house, reptile park and a cable car. The park has a cafeteria and a guest
house for an overnight stay. The sanctuary can be approached by bus from
Similipal is the land of the roar of the tiger
and the trumpet of the elephant. Dense forest, ragged hilly terrain and wild
animals combine to make it a unique wilderness. Certainly
a place for nature sensitive visitors who can rough it out. Semi evergreen
and moist nature of the tropical forest results in luxuriant
vegetation growth from ground to top, ideal for the animals to hide away.
A novice may
feel, there are only few animals here. Ample evidence by way of calls,
songs, sounds, tell-tale marks or footprints on dust tracks provide the true
Itís weaving oneís way through the
orderly majestic Sal stands, miscellaneous forest festooned with climbers
orchids, a tangled mass of vegetation, or the broad open valleys.
Similipal is the richest watershed in Orissa
giving rise to many perennial rivers- the Budha Balanga, the Khadkei, the
Khairi, Bhadan, the west Deo, the east Deo etc an the Sanjo are the
major ones. Gorgeous Barheipani (400mt) and Joranda (150 mt) waterfalls are
great attractions.At night, when one is cozily settled in the rest house.,
it is exciting as well as chilling to hear alarm calls- shrill notes of
cheetal, belling of sambar or barking of muntjac, generally indicating the
presence of large predator- leopard or tiger in the vicinity. During the
day, sight of conspicuous foot prints of big cats and elephants make the
imagination run wild.
Come May-June, a large number of orchids
bloom exotically coloured and strangely shaped. They nestle on the trunks
and branches of the trees for support in moist region. Generally
4-5 varieties bloom at a time for few days, while others patiently wait for
their turn, foot-long chains of Ď fox-tailí orchid consisting of several
hundred tiny, translucent ,mauve coloured flowers are most conspicuous.
A visit to the Ramtirtha crocodile rearing
centre near Joshipur is an exposure of different kind. It provides insight
into the intricacy of nature and the manís effort to restore the balance
In totality, Similipal is among some of the
best creations of the God.