Simlipal National Park and Tiger reserve, as soon as I heard the name got super excited as I have never been to any jungle of its true sense. As a thought, we set out on a 2 night’s tour to Simlipal National Park. It’s quite near to Kolkata as well, just 250 km from Kolkata to Baripada (Nearest town of Simlipal National Park) by road. We booked the bus from RedBus.in and boarded at 10.30 PM. We reached Baripada at 4.10 AM on an early January morning. It was very cold and the first thing we did was, had a sip of hot tea.
After the first sip, I felt in my mind that these people are very genuine and honest. How I made up my mind with just a sip? Because I was having a pure milk tea with herbs in it and no water added at all. Anyway, after the tea break, we headed towards our pre-booked hotel. Took some rest, freshened up and started our journey towards Pithabata (Entry point of Simlipal National Park) at around 10 AM.
Oh, by the way on a quick note Entry Reservation Period is 6 AM – 9 AM, and entry timing to the park is 6 AM to 12 PM and this time is extended by two hours for the reservation holders and is 6 AM to 2 PM.
On the way, we visited a very beautiful waterfall name Sitakund which is just contiguous to the Park. The Sitakund natural waterfall is the creator of a beautiful surrounding and a cumulative attraction at its center. The SitaKund waterfall is the place of scenic beauty and this place also best for natural lovers to get real experience with this place. It’s a famous picnic spot for the locals too. After spending a few minutes there we headed towards the park. We reached the Pithabata Gate at 1 PM. We already booked our passes online from forest dept. website as we planned to stay inside the jungle. We verified the passes there and entered the park.
Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of Semul (red silk cotton trees) that heavily bloom here. The Simlipal National Park is a home to three of India’s biggest animal species – Tiger, Asian Elephant, and Gaur. Spread over a sprawling area of 2750 sq. km, the park is at an altitude of 559.31 meters. Simlipal Tiger Reserve is famous for the best care of tigers in India.
As soon as we entered the park we realized that the thick forest was slowly surrounding us. After a few km, we started to climb up the hills and that’s the start of nature’s overdose. The park is a treasure house of 1076 species of plants belonging to 102 families. 96 species of orchids have been identified here. The grasslands and the savannas provide grazing grounds for the herbivores and hiding place to the carnivores. The forest boasts of innumerable medicinal and aromatic plants, which provide a source of earnings for the tribal people. I was lost in the sound of the jungle which was a mixture of bird chants, crickets, and blowing wind between the leaves. I was hypnotized by the lights playing hide and seek in those dense vibrant green trees. I came back to reality when the car stopped at Bhajam check post.
We met some wild folks there having their lunch at the salt pit. Oh, they are the dearest Deers and are very camera shy, whenever I was very delicately bringing my camera out, they were running away in the shades. They were at a visible distance but the camera was unable to find them. Maybe they are not made to be reduced to a mechanical instrument like camera, rather are the great treats to naked eyes. Anyway, after routine verification of documents, we went to visit Joranda Falls.
Joranda Falls provides an awesome panoramic view of the 7th highest single drop waterfall and 19th highest (181 meters) waterfall in India. It was quite similar looking to Nohkalikai Falls. We took our packed lunch at Joranda and did some photo shoot there.
From there we went to Barehipani which is the second highest (399 meters) waterfall in India. It is located in the central region of Simlipal National Park. This beautiful two-tiered waterfall originates from the river Budhabalanga which ends up at the pool below. The entire course of the fall right from the cliff to the pool is breathtaking. This flowing cascade of water gushes out from a wide cliff that captivates the eye of the visitors. This waterfall can be viewed all through the year. Located amidst natural surroundings, the Barehipani falls allow the tourists to enjoy its appalling beauty in a calm and serene atmosphere.
The day was on the verge of beginning to kiss the night and it was getting colder every minute, and a hot cup of tea was a much-needed thing at that time. Our driver manages to full fill that wish from some locals help.
After the tea break, we proceeded to Chawala zone which was much close to the core area. It was completely dark by then, and our driver was driving very cautiously which made us more thrilled. There suddenly we spotted a wild boar- a very big one, our driver mistakenly identified that animal as a Tiger. For a couple of seconds that scared the hell out of us. Anyways, after another few minutes, we spotted brisk footsteps of elephants. Our driver said, “It may be your lucky day”.
No, It was not our lucky day at all, we didn’t find any animal what so ever. It was also very dark by then, though found a few very famous Barking Deer but at that light condition, I was not able to capture any decent shot.
We had plans to stay in the jungle and our Forest rest house was just outside the Chawala Gate, at Jamuani. Beyond my imagination, as we passed the gate of Jamdani , It was a fully functional Eco-Resort, With 22 hours of electric supply and 24 hours running water with attached bathroom. Our bamboo hut was extremely good and spacious. The food was not great enough as it was nearly 35 km(from Jashipur) inside the jungle.
There I met with a completely different side of our beloved Rajib Da, He was our senior in office and He was much older than me too. I was feeling a bit afraid of him. But, Oh my god, What a person he is. He made his age just a number, I never met such a lovely and lively person in my life. He made me feel older. Sir, from that day you are my idol. I wish to be like you now and rest of my life. Keep rocking.
After a very joyful night, we woke early in the morning but that place was so beautiful we were in a dilemma whether we should stay one more extra day or not. After a long speculation, we decided to leave. While returning we spotted a few more deers but no elephants. We had to come all the way back and then entered the park from another side to visit Deo Kund.
We reached Deo Kund after 3 PM which was after the closing time. No one was allowed to go inside after 3 PM. We requested everyone but there was no result. The Chief Ranger said “If you guys want you can go there by walking. I won’t allow any car to pass through this gate. As a herd of elephants was coming to drink water from River Deo”. It was 5 km of walking and everyone was so tired no one was ready to walk 5 km. The trail was through a dense forest surrounded by hills.
DeoKund also known as DevKund means “The bathtub of Gods and Goddesses” and its 60 km away from Badipada. Climbing up more than 100 steps from Devkund, at the source of the river, there is the temple of Devi Ambika Mata (Durga temple), which is worth seeing. Pujas are still performed in the temple built by the kings of Mayurbhanj in 1940. The chirping sound of known and unknown birds, the multi-coloured butterflies add to the charm of Devkund.
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