Similipal National park is one of the two National Parks of Odisha (The other being Bhitarkanika National Park) situated in the Mayurbhanj District in the northern part of the state of Odisha. This National park is one of the ten UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in India. The total area of this National Park is around 2700 sq. KM out of which 850 Sq. KM is protected by the wild life act 1972. Around 1100 species of plants and 320 species of birds and animals have been recorded in Similipal. Similipal is the home to around 90 Royal Bengal Tigers as per the latest data. Beyond these, there are a number of beautiful waterfalls available in it. The mighty Barheipani water fall (1308) which is the second highest waterfall in India increases the beauty of this national park. Though it is extremely difficult to spot a wild animal in this dense forest, this national park attracts visitors who love to be immersed into the beauty of the nature.
How to Visit:
There are two main entry points to Similipal, one is Jashipur and the other is Pithabata. Both the entry points are almost equidistant from Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. Similipal is open for visiters throughout the year excluding the monsoon season. The nearest Railway station is Baripada where as the nearest airport is Bhubaneswar. The park can be accessed by four wheelers from the two entry points. It is recommended to hire a SUV to enter into the park as the roads are not in good condition due to frequent land slides. The entry permit is issued in both the entry points from 6AM in the morning till noon. It is advised to enter the park as soon as possible so that you can cover up all the major waterfalls and view points. Hiring an certified guide is mandatory as there is no mobile connectivity inside the national park. The official notification for the opening and closing of the park is communicated to public by both print and electronic media. The best time to visit the park is from November till february as the weather is pleasant at this time with a lot of chance of spoting wild animals.
What to see:
As you start entering the park the green cover will be denser and denser. The park is full of precious Sal trees which stands tall upto 60 feets high. The first place to stop is Ramatirtha where you can spend some time on the bank of river Khairi. This place has a beautiful temple and a crocodile preservation center. On your way you will see numerous small and beautiful water falls and streams. Barehipani waterfall is a must see waterfall of the national park which is situated almost in the middle of the forest. Another beautiful waterfall is Joranda waterfall which is about 30KM away from Barehipani. If you are fortunate enough you may spot a Royal Bengal Tiger on your way though it is very rare to happen. But you will spot dears and elephants near chahala. You can spend some time with the tribal people who stay inside the forest to know more about their life, they are very good people. You can witness how they are living inside the forest without basic amenities. If you want to spend the night inside the park you need to take permission at the entry point. Depending upon the availability of the guest house they will permit you to stay inside the forest with a nominal fee.
Tips before you enter to Similipal:
1. Hire a good SUV with an experienced driver as most of the roads inside the park are hilly roads.
2. Take your own food and water as there are no shops once you enter into the park.
3. You can take bath in the streams flowing through the forest but always take the advice of the guide you hired at the entry point.
4. Try to enter into the park by 7AM in the morning so that you can get out by the evening as it is riskier to drive inside dense forest like Similipal. It is recommended to enter into the park from Jashipur side and get out of the park by Pithabata side.
5. Don't Get out of your vehicle in the core area of the forest.
6. Kindly don't litter the forest with polythenes and water bottles.
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