Simlipal National Park is the 2nd largest, beautiful, picturesque national park and tiger reserve in India. Having beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani and Rivers like Budhabalanga, Khairi, Salandi, Palpala and wide variety of flora and fauna.
National parks are used for conservation of the ‘wild nature’ and are a symbol of national pride. They may contain one or many ecosystems in it which are not altered by human exploitation. The first national park in India was established in the year 1936 and is now known as Jim Corbett National Park. Today there exists 106 national parks in India. These are located in different states of the country. The state of Chhattisgarh houses three national parks.
Simlipal National Park is a national park and a tiger reserve located in the Mayurbhanj district of the Indian state of Odisha. It was established in the year 1980. Semul is a red silk cotton tree which blooms here in abundance. So, the national park gets its name from here. It is also the second largest national park in India after Jim Corbett National Park.
A Closer Look at the Simlipal National Park
The national park is situated near Baripada, a city in Odisha. It covers 845.70 square kilometers of expansive land here. It also enjoys the benefit of having beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani which add to the beauty of the park. With the wide range of rainfall plus deciduous to moist green forests, this place supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. In addition to this it also has an abundance of all sal trees. Rivers like Budhabalanga, Khairi, Salandi, Palpala, etc. originate from the hills and meanders through the forest.
The place experiences soaring temperatures during summers around 40 C and as low as 14 C during winters.
The Simlipal National Park enjoys the beauty of nature. From forests to hills, rivers, and waterfalls, this national park is a spectacular place. The smell of flowers accompanied by the mild chirping of birds makes the evenings joyful here.
History of Simlipal National Park
Simlipal National Park has a complex history behind it. In the year 1979 it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Odisha. Later in the year 1980, 303 square kilometers of the total 2,200 square kilometers of the sanctuary was declared as a national park. Eventually, in the year 1986 the area under this national park was increased to 847.70 square kilometers. Then in 1994 it was declared as a biosphere reserve by the Government of India. It is also one of the 18 biosphere reserves present in India. The reserve is a part of the UNECSO World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2009.
Rather than having all the ingredients of a full-fledged national park, Simlipal National Park doesn’t enjoy this status. The reason behind this is that around 10,000 people live in the forest.
In the year 2013, 32 families from Khadia tribe were relocated outside the tiger reserve. The village of Jamunagarh was relocated in the year 2015. These efforts were taken as per the guidelines set by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Following this initiative, the number of tigers that have been sighted has increased.
A trip to Simlipal does have its package of fun and adventure but one must keep in mind that it falls under a high cerebral malaria-prone zone. Many deaths have been recorded in the past years.
This genre of malaria is very dangerous. The initial symptoms are same as that of jaundice. Once infected by this it can cause death within 15 days if left undetected.
In the Simlipal Tiger Reserve nearly 70 percent of the field staff fall victim to this. The death toll of the field staff isn’t very high. So, it is very important to know the threats of visiting this place beforehand.
Flora and Fauna of Simlipal National Park
The park houses a wide array 1076 species of plants. Various ecosystems co-exist in here. 96 species of orchids have been identified here. Deciduous forests accompanied by moist tropical forests exist here. Sal trees are also in abundance here. Quite a few rivers originate from the hills in the forest. This is also one of the reasons behind the rich and diverse vegetation present at this place. In addition to this the forest also houses several varieties of aromatic and medicinal plants. Eucalyptus planted by the British is found here.
The park hosts a total of 42 species of mammals, 242 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles. It has another 231 bird’s nests.
Tiger, leopard, Asian elephant, sambar, barking deer, guar, jungle cat, wild boar, chausingha, giant squirrel etc. are fond here. Birds including red jungle fowl, hill mynah, peafowl, Alexandrine parakeet, and crested serpent eagle are the common birds found here.
Reptiles like snakes and turtles have a sizeable population at this place. Mugger crocodiles are found on the banks of the river Khairi.
A Tourist’s Guide for Simlipal National Park
It is open on all days of the week from 6am to 9pm. Entry is ticketed. For Indian citizens the entry fee is Rs.100 and the same amount is levied on foreigners as well. Students have to pay Rs.30 and it is free for both children below 3 years of age and handicapped people.
Simlipal National Park is 250km away from the capital city of Bhubaneswar. The nearest railway station is at Baripada and the nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar which is 195km away.
A wide array of hotels are available to choose from online. Various jungle lodges are also available which give a feeling of staying in a forest and being close to nature.
Simlipal National Park is a beautiful picturesque park and a tiger reserve. It our nation’s pride. Being adorned with beautiful waterfalls, this place is a must go spot for nature enthusiasts. The park also attracts a decent number of scientists and researchers. Simlipal National Park gives the visitors a wonderful opportunity to explore nature.