Odisha is a diverse habitat of forests, rivers, grass-lands, marshes and beaches. Crocodiles lurk in the marshy realm of Bhitarkanika, Olive Ridley turtles throng the beach at Gahirmatha, Irrawaddy dolphins dance in the seas and thousands of birds flock the largest coastal lagoon in the country – Chilika Lake. Beyond well-known wildlife haunts like Simlipal, Satkosia and the NandanKanan Zoo near Bhubaneswar, there’s a great wealth of wildlife across the state. With over 20 wildlife sanctuaries, Odisha is a shining beacon of abode for various forms of wildlife. One of the sanctuaries is the Lakhari Wildlife Sanctuary which is renowned for its elephant population.
The Lakhari Wildlife Sanctuary is a relatively small wildlife zone in the Gajapati district of Odisha and is a place which has not been explored much by tourists. This serene, beautiful land has in it a rich variety of flora and fauna. It covers an area of 185 sq. km & was established in 1985.
Lakhari is located in the Eastern Highlands where you find the moist eco-region.
It is abundant in tropical dense deciduous forests, mountains, permanent water sources and a myriad of wildlife such as leopard, porcupine, civet, otter, pangolin, giant squirrel, fox, peafowl, parakeet, owl, myna, heron, hornbill, hyena, elephant, deer, sambar, and a rich diversity and reptiles.
The place has a tropical climate and receives a huge amount of rainfall each and every year due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal.
The Lakhari Valley Sanctuary is home to a large number of elephants. The valley is a standout amongst the most elephant populated havens in India. The other main fascination of the region is the dark buck, which is available in huge numbers in the area. Notwithstanding this one can likewise observe different types of creatures like tiger, peafowl, panther and some more.
Birds like Rufous Woodpecker (Brown Woodpecker) which is a scarce breeding resident of Eastern Ghat, a Yellow Fronted Pied Woodpecker, Male White Rumped Shama, Crested Goshawk and Jerdon’s Chloropsis can be seen in these forests. Another fascinating species found here is the Indian Golden Gecko Calodactylodes aureus which is an endemic reptile species largely confined to the Eastern Ghats of India.
This Valley is a hotspot of nature, with a vast variety of vegetation and wildlife. If you are planning a picnic or a walk into nature, this Valley is the perfect spot. The best time of the year to visit this place is March – May.
Available at Digapahandi and Taptapani (Panthanivas of OTDC) and Chandragiri Buddhist Rest House at Jiranga.
How to Reach
By Road : The Lakhari Valley Sanctuary is well connected by road and nearest places by road is Chandragiri which is about 15km from wildlife reserve. The distance from state capital Bhubaneshwar is about 118 km.
By Rail : Nearest Railway Station is at Berhampur Near about 70-75Kms.
By Air : The nearest airport to this sanctuary is at Bhubaneswar.