Odisha is home to numerous wildlife sanctuaries which the common public is unaware of. Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary is probably one of the lesser talked spots. The sanctuary is nestled in the lap of the dense forest home to many wild animals along with hundreds of birds and other esoteric flora and fauna.
Situated in the south western side of Similipal forest division, is the outshoot of the mysterious Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary also has Kuldiha, Devgiri and Tenda reserved forests and other protected forests under its jurisdiction. The wildlife sanctuary is the typical representative of a heterogenous mixture of both peninsular Sal forests along with mixed deciduous forests. The sanctuary is biogeographically located in the Deccan peninsular zone and boasts of enormous ecological and genetic natural diversity.
Kuldiha Sanctuary Ecotourism
In a bid to conserve the pristine nature of the Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary, it is operated in a ecotourism PPP model. As a result, the ecotourism provides benefits the inhabitants of the locale both aesthetically and economically. The sanctuary has been classified as an eco- region of the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forest.
Diversified Flora and Fauna
The Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is the home of numerous endangered and threatened wild species. These include Leopard, Gaur, Mouse deer, Asiatic Elephant, Giant squirrel, Pangolin, Ratel. In addition to this, various endangered bird species like Wood pecker, Hill myna, Hornbill and Eagles can also be tracked in and around the sanctuary. Since the sanctuary is connected with Similipal via Nato and Sukhupada hill ranges, many mysterious enhancements of the forest can also be noticed. In the year 2009, the last Royal Bengal Tiger was also sighted in the sanctuary.
The Green Corridor
The Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary forms a green corridor along with Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve and the Similipal Biosphere Reserve. The green corridor acts as a vast landscape that contributes variedly in the conservation of the endangered Asiatic Elephants and tiger. Additionally, the corridor contributes significantly in enhancing the local climate. Around the regime of the locality, the corridor is the largest catchment that feeds to the major tributaries of the river of the district.
Revenue villages in the Sanctuary
Inside the Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary, there are 12 revenue villages. Out of these, there are 54 hamlets and one enriched village (Chemchata). Talking about the nearby areas too, there are a total of 66 revenue villages around the protected area.
Things to Do
- Enjoying trekking: One can enjoy an exciting trek from Nilgiri through the eyes of Kuldiha. No trek is complete without exploring the Tenda elephant sanctuary which goes along the Kuldiha sanctuary. The entire journey amidst the sanctuary feels majestic by the red earthen trails, making the experience irresistible for nature lovers.
- Go over watchtowers: Many watchtowers have been constructed in and around the sanctuary. These watchtowers strategically are responsible for imparting enthusiasm of not only wildlife lovers but also bird watchers. The watchtower installed in Garsimulia gives a perfect view of elephants bathing near a small stream that goes along the reserve.
Nearest Places to Visit
- Panchalingeswar: Panchalingeswar, a place with beautiful nature that serve as spectacular picnic spots for the tourists is situated on a hillock near Nilagiri. The five lingams called the Panchalingeswar with the perennial spring flowing across them are the major attraction that attract thousands of tourists annually.
- Rishia dam: Popularly known as the ‘Russia dam’, this tourist destination is a must watch travel for all nature lovers.
- Chandipur: The ‘hide and seek’ beach of Odisha is situated in close proximity to the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. One can plan a trip to the beach early morning, preferably, before sunrise to have a look at the receding waves.
Best Time to Visit
The Kuldiha wildlife sanctuary is open to tourist all round the year, except in the rainy seasons as it becomes inaccessible due to the wild ambience.
The sanctuary has facilities to provide night time accommodation and has huts, tents and concrete houses for the night stay. But tourists need a prior permission to avail the services.
How to Reach
- By air: The nearest airports are Biju Pattnaik International Airport of Bhubaneswar and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata.
- By rail: Balasore and Bhadrak are well connected to all major cities of the country.
- By Road: From Balasore, one has to reach Shergarh via the National Highway to Shergarh, via Nilagiri and Panchalingeswar. One can also reach Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary via Bhubaneswar, Bhadrak, Balasore and Cuttack through major NHs connecting other cities in and across the state.