Kuldiha. Where you can trek through dense forests teeming with wildlife. Sleep in a tent in the midst of the woods. Wake up to the sound of wild elephants drinking and frolicking in the water. Watch leopards licking their paws. See the peacocks, birds and giant squirrels roaming freely in the jungle.
Kuldiha is a treat for nature lovers but it is not so well known in comparison to other places in Odisha (Orissa). This is a blessing in disguise for those explorers who want to visit this raw and wild forest without the interruptions of too many tourists.
Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is a major wildlife sanctuary lying in the district of Balasore spread in an area of about 272 square kilometers. Nato hills and the Sukhupata hills are part of this forest. The Kuldiha forests subsequently join together with the Similipal National Park.
Many rare species of plants as well as animals can be seen here. The thick woods of Kuldiha consist of sal, rosewood, shimul, sishu, piyasal, mango, bahera, jam and a multitudes of parasitic trees. The Kuldiha forest is home to beautiful birds like the hornbill, hill myna and peacock. Reptiles are also found in great numbers beside the water bodies.
It is easy to spot wild animals in Kuldiha, especially if you live in the forest tents. The region is a habitat for the tiger, bear, monkey, sambar, bison, gaur and especially giant squirrels. The jungle has an abundant population of elephant, bison and leopard.
How to go
- Come to Balasore in Orissa. Although Sonari Airport in Jamshedpur is closer, it is better to land at Bhubaneshwar airport which is good connecting spot to Balasore.
- You can get many trains directly to Balasore (BLS) also.
- If you are coming from the neighbouring states like West Bengal or Jharkhand, you can also avail buses that run till Balasore.
- From Balasore you have to reach Shergarh through the National Highway. After Shergarh cross Nilagiri and Panchlingeswar to reach Sujangarh. From there, turn left to reach Kuldiha. You will enjoy the last stretch of the road through the forest which is truly breathtaking.
- One can visit Kuldiha all throughout the year except the rainy season.
- You can visit the Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary and leave by 5.30 in the evening but you will only get the real feel of the forest wildlife if you stay overnight.
Where to stay
- There are only two places to stay there, one in Kuldiha and another in Jhorachua. Make prior booking and entry permissions to go into the Kuldiha sanctuary. You can get the entry for permit at the Kuldiha Range Office in Nilagiri also.
- The Kuldiha Forest Rest House (FRH) has better amenities and so most tourists stay here. A salt lick is made near the FRH which attracts various animals for the tourists to enjoy. All the lights in the FRH are solar. But you will have to carry the raw ingredients for your meals there. The cook will prepare truly delicious dishes for you.
- Jorachua is a place where you will enjoy lots of serenity and peace in the midst of nature but food and other facilities are limited. In Jhorachua you will find a watch tower in the forest.
- You will not find any electricity in Kuldiha. Mobile tower reach is almost nonexistent. But the good natured and friendly staff will surely win your heart.
Things to do
- Visit the Risia dam to enjoy peace and nature.
- There is also tent accommodation available, check with the forest department for booking.
- Visit the amazing Panchalingeswar. This is an outstanding spot where you will have to climb a hill. On top of the hill amongst the trees and lake is an old Shiva temple with five Shivalingas.
- Watch in darkness the hundreds of fireflies that light up the forest!
Credits: satyeshnaik.blogspot.in, kuldihatourism.com, mybhubaneswar.com, www.travelstory.in, jodachua-kuldiha.blogspot.com, bcmtouring.com