(Content Source - Courtesy Orissa Tourism Development Corporation)

Bhitarkanika can give you all – sea, sand wildlife, natural beauty, adventure, thrill and many more. Fearsome big crocodiles, giant turtles including the rare most Olive Ridley, exotic beaches, beautiful birds – This is what bhitarkanika is all about. You can at a time spend an isolated calm holiday as well as experience the amazing creations of mother nature.

Bhitarkanika was notified as a sanctuary in 1975 and later in 1998, it was declared as a National Park. It is also a Sanctuary and National Park. Extending over more than six hundred square kilometres, it is one of the very few evergreen repository of most luxuriant mangrove vegetation in the world. More than sixty varieties of mangrove plants are found here which provide home to a wide range of rare and endangered species. The pneumatophores, better known as breathing roots, stands above the water creating a wonderful sight.
Surrounded by rivers on the three sides and the sea on the fourth, Bhitarkanika is criss crossed by numerous creeks and canals which finally meets the sea and make the estuarine delta, the playground of the Bay of Bengal. When the tide enters, the forest gets floate. As it recedes, the multi layer mud flats on the banks of the creeks expose their bosom with fiddler crabs, mud skipper fish, little reptiles and the like.
The total area being 650 sq kms with a forest cover of 380 sq kms. The biggest mangrove forest (115.50 sq km) in Orissa with a next to position behind the Grand Sunderbans in India, Bhitarkanika is surrounded by the rivers Baitarani, Brahmani and Dhamara. Widely acclaimed for its unique ecological wonders and biodiversity, Bhitarkanika is considered having a balanced and compact mangrove eco-system.

With more than sixty varieties of mangrove plants in it, the territory of Bhitarkanika constitute an environ where tidal circulation of nutrients and salinity varies widely in vertical and horizontal planes. This wide change of salinity in the water makes physiological condition, which although being complex, is essential and helpful for both the animals and the plants. Possibly, this is a also one of the conditions, which draws one of the rarest and most endangered species of Olive Ridley sea turtle in lakhs, who travel miles to arrive at Bhitarkanika to lay their eggs and during their stay from December to April every year, Bhitarkanika attracts extra tourists as well as nature observer’s and turtle lovers.

Being a deltaic region, Bhitarkanika consists of a couple of little islands like Dangamala, Habali Khati,, Ekakula etc. Bhitarkanika is one of India's finest estuarine crocodile habitats and now is home to more than 1,300 such reptiles. Dangamala also known as the Crocodile Center is situated at the center, where one can take the glimpse of the rare Sankhua or the white Crocodile. Other than Wild Pigs, Sambars, Spotted Deer, Rhesus Monkey, Bhitarkanika has established itself as a favourite natural habitat for some of the reptile species including, King Cobra, Lizards, Pythons and of course Crocodile.

The main places of interest in Bhitarkanika are Gahiramatha and Bagagahana. Gaharimatha is located at a distance of 3.5 kms from Dangamala, Famous for being the rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtles. According to 2001 census, around nine lakhs (9,00,000) adult female Olive Ridley sea turtles arrived at Gahiramatha to lay eggs. These 50 to 60 kg weighed turtles create a astonishing view throughout the Bhitarkanika beaches attracting thousands of nature lovers as well as researchers. Usually, their stay is limited to under two weeks and they arrive twice between January and March every year. Gahiramatha can be visited from Dangamala by motor boat available between 9.30 A.M. to 6.30 P.M. The Khola creek is a narrow tidal creek where crocodiles love to sun themselves on the banks especially during winter. Entry to Khola creek has been restricted from this year and only 20 boats are allowed to go there during a day at a timing of 9.00 A.M., 11.00 A.M. and 1.00 P.M.

Bhitarkanika, also popular for its wide variety of birds. With a variety to the tune to 170 species, it’s a bird watchers favourite place. Bagagahana and Saribana are the main spots for watching some of the residential and migratory birds, which comprise of the King Fisher, Open billed storks, Sea eagles, Kites, Sand Pipers, Seagulls, Whistling Teals, Darters and many others. The distance of these two islands from Dangamala is about 8 KMs and motor boats are available between 9.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M. A favourite place for ornithologists, Bhitarkanika draws visitors for the rare glimpse available here of such wonderful birds.

Entry Point – Permission to visit Bhitarkanika can be obtained from Divisional Forest Officer, Rajnagar, PIN : 754225, Ph – (06729) 272460 / 9437740354 or Assistant Conservator of Forests, Chandbali, PIN – 756133, Ph – (06786) 220372 on payment of the scheduled fees.

Season - The best season to visit Bhitarkanika is between October and June.

How to reach - Bhitarkanika can be approached only through water ways. Most convenient entry points are
Chandbali – 50 KM from Bhadrak and 190 KM from Bhubaneswar
Rajnagar – 30 KM from Kendrapara and 130 KM from Bhubaneswar
Gupti – 25 KM from Rajnagar
Motor boats are available on hire. Average time taken for the following distance are
Rajnagar to Dangmal – 3 hrs
Chandbali to Dangmal – 3 hrs
Gupti to Dangmal – 1.5 hrs
Regular Bus Services are available to Chandbali and Rajnagar

Nearest Rail Head
Bhadrak – 50 km from Chandbali
Balasore – 120 km from Chandbali
Cuttack – 110 km from Rajnagar
Bhubaneswar – 190 km from Chandbali and 130 km from Rajnagar

Nearest Airport
Bhubaneswar and Kolkata

Aranyanivas, Chandbali
For reservation, contact :
Tourist Officer, Balasore. Ph : (06782) 262048 or the Manager, Ph: ( 06782) 220397
Forest Lodge at Dangmal, Ekakula, Gupti and Habalikhati
For reservation, contact :
Divisional Forest Officer, Mangrove Forest Division, Rajnagar, Dist: Kendrapada, PIN – 754225, Ph: (06729) 272460.

OTDC Assistance: -
Website : and
Email :

Tourist Office, CT Road, Puri – 752002, Tel : 06752-222664,
Tourist Counter, Railway Station Puri, Tel : 223536.

Tourist Office, New Bus Stand,
Pin – 760004, Tel: (0680) 2280226
Tourist Counter, Railway Station, Pin – 760004, Tel: 2203870
Tourist Office, Jayadev Marg, Pin – 751002, Tel : 0674-2431299,
Tourist Counter, Airport, Tel : 2534006,
Tourist Counter, Railway Station, Tel : 2530715,
India Tourism, B-21, B.J.B Nagar, Pin – 751014, Tel : 2432203.
New Delhi
Tourist Office, Utkalika, B/4 – Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi, Pin – 110001,
Telefax – 011-23364580.
Tourist Office, Utkal Bhawan,
55, Lenin Sarani, Kolkata, Pin – 700013,
Tel: 033-22443653.
Tourist Office, Tamilnadu Tourism Complex, Near Kalaivanar Arangam, Wallajah Road,
Pin – 600002, Telefax: 044-25360891.
Tourist Office, Hotel New Bengal, Near Crawford Market, D.N. Road, Pin – 400001, Tel : 022-23401951.