Simlipal National Park
|Area||2,750 square kilometres (1,060 sq mi).|
|Visitors||NA (in 2005)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India|
Simlipal National Park (Oriya: ଶିମିଳିପାଳ ଜାତୀୟ ଉଦ୍ୟାନ) is a national park and a tiger reserve situated in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, which  includes 3 protected areas i.e. Similipal Tiger Reserve (2750.00 km²), Hadgarh Wildlife sanctuary (191.06 km²) and Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary (272.75 km²)).Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of Semul or red silk cotton trees that bloom abundantly in the locality.
The park has a protected area of 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi) and has some beautiful waterfalls like Joranda and Barehipani. Simlipal is home to ninety-nine Royal Bengal Tigers, 432 Wild elephants. Besides Simlipal is famous for Gaurs (Indian Bisons), Chausingha, as well as an orchidarium.
One can enter into Similipal through Pithabata (22 kilometres (14 mi) from Baripada) and 98 km via Jashipur. Entry permits can be obtained from the Range Officer, Pithabata check gate upon paying prescribed fees. Day visitors can enter between 6 AM & 12 Noon and visitors with reservation between 6 AM & 9 AM. Similipal National Park remains open from 1 October to 15 June only.
Thick and green forests, extensive grassy lands and meadows, cloud kissing peaks, precipitous and sparkling waterfalls, meandering rivers, roaring tigers and trumpeting tuskers, fleeing deer and flying squirrels, talking myna and dancing peacocks et al make Similipal a dreamland of Nature in the wilderness and an irresistible destination. Covering a vast are of 2750 sq. km out of which 303 sq. km from the core area, thick biosphere reserve is a sanctuary and one of the Tiger Projects and National parks of India. With wide range of rain falls and edaphic variations, range from dry deciduous to moist green forests, it is suitable to different species of flora and fauna. About 1076 species of mammals, 29 types of reptiles and 231 species of birds are the proud possession of this plateau. Average mean elevation of Similipal is 900 meters. Tall and luxuriant Sal Trees in large numbers stand like sentries. The handsome peaks of Khairiburu (1178 meters), Meghasani (1158 meters) and others welcome like smiling receptionists from the emerald heights. Sweet scented Champak flowers freshen the air. The richly hued orchids on the green foliage are soothing to the eyes. In the midst of the dense forests, the summer stands humbled and the sun gets lost. Several rivers like Budhabalanga, Khairi, salandi, Palpala, etc. originate from the hills and meander through the forest like veins and arteries in the body. many of them have formed cascading rapids and foaming falls before leaving for the plains. The panoramic view of the waterfalls at Barehipani (217 meters) and Joranda(181 meters)  are simply enchanting of fish, is found in abundance in most of the rivers. The silence of Similipal is occasionally broken by the chirping of the birds to an avian delight. The dense forest and riverine system serve as an excellent home to some of the most beautiful creatures of the World. To stay with them, even for a while, is a thrilling experience. Herds of elephants majestically walking across the roads and rivulets could be a regular sight. While you are moving on the hilly tracts, predators like Tiger and Leopards might be obliviously lulling under the shade with their own thoughts. If lucky, you could spot them there, or else see them around the saltlicks at places like Chahala. Forget the apprehensive dear at Similipal is at its natural best.
Simlipal elephant reserve originated mainly as a hunting ground for the royalty. It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and under Project Tiger in May 1973. “Mugger Crocodile Scheme” was started in the year 1979 at Ramatirtha, Jashipur.
The Government of Odisha declared Simlipal as a wildlife sanctuary in 1979 with an area of 2,200 square kilometres (850 sq mi). Later in 1980, the state government proposed 303 square kilometres (117 sq mi) of the sanctuary as a national park. Further in 1986, area of the national park was increased to 845.70 square kilometres (326.53 sq mi). Government of India declared Simlipal as a biosphere reserve in 1994. UNESCO added this national park to its list of Biosphere Reserves in May 2009. There are 10,000 people living in 61 villages in the forest. That is why Simlipal is yet to be declared a full-fledged park, despite its having the status of one of the fifteen biospheres of India.
Geography and climate
The park is located in the Mayurbhanj district in the Indian state of Odisha. Simlipal elephant Reserve is an ecosystem complete with forest vegetation (mainly sal trees), fauna and the adjoining Santhal tribal settlements. The park has a total area of 2,750 square kilometres (1,060 sq mi). The average elevation is 559.31 metres (1,835.0 ft). However, the entire Simlipal area is undulating, rising from 600 metres (2,000 ft) to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). The high hills of Simlipal are surrounding Meghasani, the highest peak in the national park. At an altitude of 1,165 metres (3,822 ft), followed by Khairiburu at above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) elevation. At least 12 rivers cut across the plain area. The prominent among them are Budhabalanga, Palpala Bandan, Kharkai River and Deo. This sprawling forest also has many waterfalls such as, Joranda 181 metres (594 ft) and Barehipani that are a perpetual attraction to the tourist, the later at an elevation of 217 metres (712 ft) gives a panoramic view of the park.It has withstood two cyclones in 1982 and 1999 without any prominent damages.
Caution: Cerebral malaria
Simlipal falls under a high cerebral malaria-prone zone. In cerebral malaria the sequestrated red blood cells can breach the blood brain barrier possibly leading to coma. Cerebral malaria, if not detected, causes death within 15 days of infection.
Initial symptoms of cerebral malaria are often mistaken as those of acute jaundice. There have been many recorded cases of death due to cerebral malaria after visits to Simlipal. Therefore, it is extremely important for tourists to be aware of the threats posed by cerebral malaria before planning a visit to Simlipal. For further information on deadly infection threats related to forest visits in India, one may refer to the website[clarification needed] of the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Kolkata, India[clarification needed].
How to Reach
Road - Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj, on the junction of NH 5 and 6, is 270 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 are Baripada, Balasore,Tata Nagar and Kharagpur
Air - Nearest airports are Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Jamsedpur and Ranchi
Flora and fauna
The park is a treasure house of 1076 species of plants belonging to 102 families. 96 species of orchids have also been identified here. It lies in the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests ecoregion, with tropical moist broadleaf forest and tropical moist deciduous forests with dry deciduous hill forest and high level Sal forests. 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. Eucalyptus, plantated by the British during the 1900 are also found.
A total of 42 species of mammals, 242 species of birds and 30 species of reptiles have been recorded in Simlipal National Park. The major mammals include Tiger, Leopard, Asian elephant, Sambar, Barking deer, Gaur, Jungle cat, Wild boar, Chausingha (four horned antelope), Giant squirrel and Common langur. 231 species of birds nest in these forests. Red Junglefowl, Hill Mynah, Peacock, Alexandrine Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle are the commonly found birds. The Grey Hornbill, Indian Pied Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Indian Trogon are also found in the reserve. Apart from the large number of mammals and bird species, the park has a sizeable population of reptiles, which includes snakes and turtles. The "Mugger Crocodile Management Programme" has helped the Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) to survive and flourish on the banks of Khairi river.
- "Simlipal National Park". Department of tourism, Odisha. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- Jena 2005, p. 110
- Jena 2005, p. 112
- "Three Indian sites added to UNESCO list of biosphere reserves". Sify News. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- "UNESCO Designates 22 New Biosphere Reserves". Environment News Service. May 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- Jena 2005, p. 111
- Adams S, Brown H, Turner G, "Breaking down the blood–brain barrier: signaling a path to cerebral malaria?", Trends Parasitol v. 18 no. 8, pp. 360–6 (2002) pmid 12377286 doi 10.1016/S1471-4922(02)02353-X
- "Report of the Fact Finding Team on Infant Death in Simlipal Sanctuary".
- Jena, Mona Lisa (2005). "Similipal's Scenic Splendor". Women's Era 32 (752): 110–112.
- Simlipal National Park travel guide from Wikivoyage