Bhitarkanika in the East Coast of Odisha, is the growing tip of the ever increasing delta formed by the alluvial deposits of sacred rivers Brahmani, Baitarani and Dhamara. This deltaic region is capped with a unique vegetation known as mangroves which are equipped with natural adaptations such as pneumatophores, stilt roots and hypocotiles to survive in estuarine condition. Mangroves are defined as a group of specialized plant community confined to the estuaries of the tropical and sub-tropical regions.
Flora & Fauna
Out of 72 species of mangroves indentified world over 63 species are found in Bhitarkanika. The mangroves of this area has 3 species each of Rhizophora, Sonneratia, Heritiera, Avicennia, Xylocarpus and 4 species of Brugeria. It also contains rare plants like Criops, Cerbera, Intsia etc.
The mangroves support rich marine life including crabs, prawns, mudskippers and veriety of fishes which form the base of biological pyramid. Besides, mangrove sustains a wide range of reptiles like estuarine crocodiles, water monitor lizards, pythons, king cobras, kraits, other snakes and mammals such as chital, fishing ,cat, wild boar, percupine, hyaena, mongoose, otter etc. The mangrove wetland serve as a potential habitat for more than 190 species of birds. Bhitarakanika is having the unique distinction of supporting eight species of Kingfisher in its habitat. This speaks about the rich bio-diversity of the area. Evergreen mangroves yield plenty of honey too.
Of late Bhitarkanika has become one of the major hot spot for the eco-tourists and nature lovers. Bhitarkanika river through its serpentine passage with mangrove tree canopy forming the fringe on either side offers picturesque beauty and fascinates sthe visitiors. Boat drive over Bhitarkanika River and Khola creak makes one to appreciate the scenic beauty of Nature. Giant crocodiles basking on the mudflats and chittals browsing along the banks during dawn and dusk waders moving around in the mud banks in search of food are sights most thrilling and be-witching.
Enjoy the beauty of pristine sandy beaches of Ekakula, Barunei and Habalikhati. The serene sylvan and tranquil surrounding makes one to get lost in the lap of nature.
This deltic region comprises a couple of tiny islands formed by the meandering creeks. With Dangmal at the centre stage ( the others being Ekakula, Habilikhati etc), Bhitarakanika is a natural habitat of lot of wild creatures like Crocodiles, King Cobra, Pythons, Wild Pigs, Rhesus Monkey, Sambars, Spotted Deer etc. There is a Crocodile Breeding Farm at Dangmal. The pride possession of this Farm is the White Crocodile Sankhua, a rare species in the World.
Over 170 species of resident and migratory birds of different hue enhance the beauty of the wild. Prominent ampng them are King Fisher, Open billed storks, Sea Eagles, Kites, Sand Pipers, Darters, Whistling Teals, Sea Gulls, etc.
Another amazing phenomenon of nature here is the visit of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles to Gahirmatha in lakhs twice every year between January and March to lay eggs in masse.
An unexpected aditional attraction is the remains of two 9th century monuments a temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and the other a Sakti shrine at Dangmal.