Wish to be in the lap of nature? Far away from the stress of the daily chores rejuvenate yourselves at the Simlipal National Park. There are wondrous waterfalls, high hills and forests in the National Park that is spread over an area of 2,750 sq kms. It takes days to cover the entire area of the National Park. In fact you will not be able to visit an area of about 850 sq km as most of the tigers are concentrated here. Just in case you are lucky enough you may spot a tiger wandering outside the core area. Elephants, monkeys, deer and birds are the easiest to spot at Simlipal National Park. It was way back in 1973 that Simlipal was declared as one of the nine tiger project reserves in the country. Later in 1979 Simlipal was declared as a wildlife sanctuary. Simlipal one of the earliest participants of the Project Tiger, today boasts of 95 tigers in its core area.
The national park that is situated in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa used to be the hunting preserve of the erstwhile Maharajas of Mayurbhanj. The Simlipal National Park is at a distance of 320 km from the capital of Orissa, Bhubaneshwar. You may enter the park either from Lulung or Joshipur. Simlipal lies in the expanse of fine sal forests and is home to over 220 species of birds. At Joshipur it is the crocodiles, which are the easiest to spot at the maggar center of the wildlife preserve.
Panthers, tigers, leopards, sloth bears, porcupines, monitor lizards, flying squirrels, pythons, mongooses, gaur bison, antelopes, sambar and the mouse deer are residents of this national park. In fact Mouse deer happens to be the tiniest member of the deer family. The animals may be easily spotted around the water sources at Simlipal. There is an amazing array of treasures at Simlipal that will not fail to sweep you off your feet. There are waterfalls of Barehipani and Joranda with a drop of 400-metre and 150-metres respectively. There lush greens, the mountains, the plateaus and the rivers together create the dream setting at Simlipal. Another must see at Simlipal is the collection of 82 different species of orchids. This is in addition to the range of local flora. Besides the nature at its best with flora and fauna you will even come across tribal settlements at the Simlipal National Park.
While planning your trip to Simlipal keep in mind that the park is open for general public from November to June. That is the national park remains closed from July to October. It is also noteworthy that an entry permit is required from the Field Director, Simlipal Tiger Project, Baripada to enter the Simlipal national park. You may apply for the permit at least 10 days and preferably 30 days before the schedule date. In case of foreigners the application for the entry permit should be accompanied with a copy of the passport whereas the Indian citizens have to provide a proof of identity. There is a nominal entry fee to be paid plus extra charge is levied for carrying the camera inside the Simlipal National Park. In fact you may even opt for an organized tour that arrange for the transportation, accommodations, and permits required for your visit to the Simlipal National Park.
In terms of accommodation the Simlipal National Park offers bungalows, rest houses, tourist lodges and hotels. Though the accommodation options are comfortable they are not luxurious. The basic facilities are available at Barehapani, Newana, Joranda, Joshipur, Gudgudia and Lulung. The forest department maintains many of the bungalows in the vicinity of the Simlipal National Park. In fact it is the town of Baripada just outside the park that offers good hotels and lodges to the tourists. You may reach Simlipal through various means of transport. Balasore is the nearest major railway station. Buses regularly ply from Baripada via Lulung. Jamshedpur at a distance of 140 km, Bhubhaneswar at 350 km and Calcutta at 240 km offer rail and air transport to Simlipal. For the safari in the interiors of the Simlipal Jeep is the best option.