Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located at the Kendrapara District of Odisha. It is designated as a National Park since 16th Sep 1998. The meaning of Bhitarakanika is interior beauty. The park is home of Saltwater Crocodile, White Crocodile, Indian python, King Cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.
The national park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal. Thus it becomes a vicinity of rich biodiversity. The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by a number of rivers – Brahmani, Baitarni, Dhamra, Pathsala and others.
It lies in the north eastern coast of Odisha in between 20° 30’ to 20° 50’N latitude and 86°30’to 87°06’E longitude in Kendrapara district. It is mainly confined to the deltaic regions of river Brahmani and Baitarani.
Bhitarakanika is popular for Salt Water Crocodile. Some of the crocodiles are of 23 feet in length. You will find other reptiles like the Water Monitor Lizard and the King Cobra apart from crocodiles. Another attraction of this place is spotted deer and Wild Boars. Eight varieties of Kingfishers are found.
One can enjoy the boat ride from Khola to Dangmal or vice. Khola is one of the gateways into the park. The best time to travel this place is early morning or before sunset.
Bhitarkanika has a very famous historical and cultural past. King of Kanika was used to come to this place for hunting. The hunting towers and artificial watering holes can be seen at many places including Bhitarkanika trail and at Dangmal. It is also the home of medieval Hindu. But the major attraction is the wildlife.
Chandbali used to be a famous port during the medieval times but now it is a popular tourist spot. From Chandbali, you can visit many nearby places like Dhamra, Aradi and Nalitapatia by boat.
Dangmol is another place which houses the rarest White Crocodile Sankhua. Other than animal life, you can see a good variety of bird life including migratory birds. Open Billed storks, Kingfishers, Whistling Teals, Sand Pipers, and Sea Gulls are the migratory birds here. Another very exciting thing to watch out for is the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles at Gahirmatha.
By Air: The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar airport which is located at a distance of 15o km.
By Train: Bhadrak and Cuttack railway stations are the nearest railway stations.
By road: One can get regular buses and taxis from Bhabrak to Bhitarakanika.
The best time to explore Bhitarakanika is from the month of October to March.