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Simlipal and Baripada - The Virgin Forests of Orissa
Simlipal: The green foliage, spread over 2750 square km of huge manor, the Simlipal forest, is the biggest and one of the richest national forests of India. Located at the foothills of Purbaghat hill range, the opaque woodland was known as the hunting paradise for the kings of Mayurbhanj district. Core area of the forest is covering a rambling terrain of 845 square km. The whole territory of the remarkable green lands is hiding the sprinkled hills, formed with the granite rocks. The pleasing atmosphere and the satisfying natural locale of the adjoining places have a heavenly power to enthrall the tourists. Innumerable waterfalls and lively denizens along with the hypnotic natural grandeur are the prime attractions of Simlipal. The River Mahanadi is cutting the plains across.
Simlipal is one of the 9 tiger reserve forests of India. 300 square km of lands out of 845 square km of core area have become the tiger reserve forest in 1979. According to the latest statistics, 101 tigers and 119 leopards are the existing inhabitants of the mesmerizing woods.
An elephant sanctuary has also been formed covering an area of 7043 square km of natural woodlands. 565 elephants are the denizens which are living in the sanctuary.
Situated in the north-eastern side of the state, Orissa, the wonderful natural locus of Simlipal looks amazing with its Kendu, Masua, Kadam, Champa and Sal threes. Apart from the soaring trunks of the trees, a lot of small but beautiful vegetation like Lily, Nageshwar and Orchid also entertain the nature lovers. The national park is the homeland of 501 species of foliage belonging to 102 families and 94 species of orchids. 231 species of birds enjoy their stay at Simlipal National Forest. Peacocks, tigers, wolfs, leopards, Antelope, Panthers, Sāmbhar, Elephants, Hyena, beer and fox display the biodiversities of Simlipal.
Meghasani mount, about 91 km away from Simlipal National Forest, located at an elevation 1158 meters, is another imperative attraction for the enthusiastic tourists. A pleasant Walk on the banks of the River Khairi in Joshipur will please the inner sole. The main entrance of the National Park is situated at a distance of 3 km from Jshipur (towards Keonjhar).
The best time to visit Simlipal is during November- June. The temperature of the forest land varies from 40 degree Celsius to 50 degree Celsius. Don’t forget to take precautionary medicines for preventing malaria. It is said that a large number of tourists in the past have suffered from malaria after visiting Simlipal.
Innumerable known and unknown natural denizens, shades of lingering greenery, soaring hills and definitely the mesmerizing natural environs of the Simlipal National Forest and Tiger Reserve Forest have been enticing nature lovers and holiday makers over the years.
Nature lovers can enjoy their stay at Barehipani Bungalow amidst the compelling greenery. The adjoining watchtower will offer a panoramic view of the surrounding nature. A waterfall, situated at the opposite side of the bungalow, is the highest waterfall of India which is coming down from a height of 400 meters. The River Budhibalam has started its journey from this fastidious waterfall. Even though the elephants are the chief dwellers of the Upper Bodhakamdha and General Forest Rest House but both of these forests are heavenly place for the crowds who love to see the strolling denizens. The best place which offers a bird’s eye view of the inhabitants of the contiguous places is the view tower which is situated in the middle of the two rest houses. The former kings used to stay at the beautiful Chahala Bungalow (744 meters) of Mayurbhanj district. This was their hunting lodge. Another watch tower, Salt Lick, is built for the nature lovers where from tourists can enjoy the view of the animals. Nearby Joranda waterfall also fascinates holiday makers for its velocity with which it hits the plains from an altitude of 150 meters. Nature lovers will enjoy the first ray of sun at the backdrop, especially when it touches the water stream. The reflection of the sunlight on the water surface crates a marvelous vista. Joranda is situated at a distance of 21 km from Barehipani.
Ramtirtha, about two and half km from Joshipur Bus Stand, is a place where Ramchandra came at the time of his exile according to the mythology. It is believed that the footprint in Ramtirtha is of Ramchandra. A famous fair on Makar Sankranti is organized every year to recall the finicky mythological tales.
Entry Points, Permits and Timings
You can enter into Similipal through Pithabata (22 km from Baripada).
Entry permits can be obtained from the Range Officer, Pithabata check gate or the Assistant Conservator of prescribed fees.
Day visitors can enter between 6 AM & 12 Noon and visitors with reservation between 6 AM & 2 PM.
Similipal remains open from 1st November to 15th June only.
How to reach: Bus services to Joshipur, Keonjhar, and Burbill are available from Babughat and Howrah, Kolkata regularly. Tourists who prefer trains can avail trains from Howrah to Balasore. Joshipur (120 km) is well connected to Balasore by road. You can also drive down in your own car. Road - Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj, on the junction of NH 5 and 6, is 170 km from Bhubaneswar, 240 from Kolkata and 60 km from Balasore and 22 km from Pithabata, which is an entry point. The other entry point Jashipur is 94 km from Baripada on N.H. 6. Both the places are well connected by regular bus services. Taxis and Jeeps are available.
Rail - Nearest railhead is Balasore (60 km from Baripada), served by major trains running on the South-Eastern sector. Check our transport links below.
Air - Nearest airports are Bhubaneswar (270 kms) and Kolkata (240 km)
Where to stay: Orissa Tourism Units:
Aranyanivas at Lulung (3 km from Pithabata) of the OTDC has 8 Double Rooms and 2 Dormitories (total 40 beds)
Panthasala at Bangiriposi (35 km from Baripada on way to Jashipur) has 4 Double Rooms (8beds).
Reservation : Tourist office, Baripada. Ph. 06792 - 252710/ Assistant Conservator of Forests, Jashipur. Advance booking of 30 days may be required.
There are private options too. Ramatirtha Forest Villa, Eucalyptus Villa, Falview Rest House and Forest Rest house in Joshipur are few names of the lodges and hotels where tourists can stay at. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.
While visiting Simlipal, you can also put in places like Chandipur in your itenery.
Lulung: Lulung, about 38 km from Baripada, is an integral part of Simlipal Tiger Reserve Project. The landscape of Lulung is stunning. Green rich forests on the slopes of hills are awe inspiring.
Lulung Aranyanivas, the lodge, hidden in the shades of Shal, Mahua and Deodar, is situated at an elevation of 300 meters. Enjoy the vista of the hilly River Palpala downside while you enjoy a stay at the lodge. Plan and spend a small week end in Lulung with your family.
The waterfall coming down from the hilltop of Kalipahar or Kali hill, situated at a distance of 3 km from the bungalow, is an additional enticement. The kunda, formed by the streams of the waterfall, fascinates the holiday makers. Eco camp, covering an area of 7 acres, located at a distance of 6 km from Aranyanivas, has a rich variety of flora. You can enjoy the local music and dance if you stay at the camp availing a package for 2 nights and 3 days/4 days/3 nights.
Hire a jeep or car from Baripada to Lulung. Baripada can be accessed by bus from Kolkata in 6 hours.
Baripada: Baripada, the head quarter of Mayurbhanj district, is one of the gateways to the Simlipal National Forest. Dotted homes of the ancient Bhanja kings are embellishing the place. The Jagannath temple, built with the white marble, has to be included in the list of the sought after tourist destinations. Apart from the Jagannath temple, dakhshina Kali temple, Sainbaba temple, Anukul baba temple, Rani Sita temple, Gurukul Ashram are the absorbing destinations for the temple lovers. Rath (chariot) Yatra festival is a part of the affluent cultural flair of Baripada. Even though the spirituality of the carnival can’t be compared with that of Puri but huge crowd gets attracted to celebrate the fiesta every year. According to the ancient convention only women pull the chariot of Subhadra. 3 days long Chou dance festival is observed during Chaitra Sankranti (the last month of Bengali calendar year).
The museum, located adjacent to the bus stand, is an important and imperative attraction of Baripada. Shiva Priya Park, about two and half km away from the main city, covering an area of 20 acres, has assortments of amusement equipments. 70% of the city indwellers belong to the Santali tribes.
Interested people can go to Kuchai, about 8 km towards the north from Baripada and Kuliyana, about 17 km from Kuchai to observe the anthologies of excavated items. The Salindi reservoir, formed using the water of Salindi River, amidst the wonderful natural woods, looks pretty.
Haripur: The former capital of Mayurbhanj kings, Haripur, is situated at a distance of 16 km towards the south- eastern side of Baripada and Haripur can be accessed by road from Baripada as well.
The renowned Rashikroy temple depicts the singular Orissa architectural excellences. But now tourists can only witness the ruins of the temple. Although the ancient fine arts are in ruins but the Ranimahal in the northern side of the temple and Darbar Hall in the south of the temple are still standing with their architectural grandeur and well shaped carving. Temple lovers can also take the pleasure in the Jagannath temple of 14 century and Radhamahan temple. But Radhamahan temple doesn’t have any idol.
How to reach: Baripada, about 253 km away from Kolkata, is connected to
Kolkata by road. Buses are frequently going to Baripada from Kolkata. But if you want to travel by railways then you can avail a train which is going to Balasore from Howrah or Sealdah railway station, Kolkata. Baripada, about 51 km from Balasore, can be accessed from Balasore by road in 1 hour.
Where to stay: Hotel Bishram, Hotel Ambika, Hotel Durga, Hotel Siddhartha, Hotel Mahapatra, Hotel Ashirvad, Kalika Lodge, Ganesh Bhawan and Hotel SHibapriya are few notable hotels where tourists can stay at. Refer to our hotel booing links below.