Bhitarkanika National Park is situated in the Kendrapara District on the state of Odisha, India. Spread across an area of 672 km2 of the mangrove swamp situated on the delta formed by the three rivers namely Brahmani, Baitarani and Dhamra. The National Park houses an array of creeks, backwaters, estuaries, deltas and mudhuts. The region has truly preserved and maintained the region's geomorphic and ecological balance.
Established in the year 1998, the park is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. The mangroves are separated from the Bay of Bengal by the Gahirmatha Beach that lies in the eastern part. This beach is the nesting grounds by hundreds of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles and thus is a protected UNESCO site. Bhitarkanika National Park truly plays a vital role in promoting eco-tourism in Odisha.
The Bhitarkanika national park is home to over 70 species of Mangrove that is spread across the forest region, park, swamps, marshy lands, ceeks etc. Some of the other flora comprises The Spia, Casuarinas & Sundari and Indigo Bush grasses. Apart from this, trees of Teak, Hair, Babul, Salaia, Bamboo, Zizphus, Palas and Kauriculata also cover some part in the national park.
Bhitarkanika National Park is home to an array of avifauna such as Asian Open Bills, Darters, Egrets, Woodpecker and so on. Additionally, the park is flocked with Ibis & Cormorants, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Brahmany Ducks, Sea Gull, Hornbill, Waders and Bar Headed Geese. Apart from these species, the park is also home to eight varieties of Kingfishers.
Owing to the keen efforts of the national park authorities, this protected area had been successful in protecting Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and White Crocodile. Some other species that the park houses are Indian Pythons, Rhesus Monkeys, Black Ibis, Darters, Wild Pigs, Cobras, Water Monitor Lizards, Wild Boars, Chitals and Spotted Deer.
The two main entry points to Bhitarkanika are Khola and Gupti. An array of boat services run by the private sector and the forest department can be availed to reach the Bhitarkanika National Park.
One can visit Bhitarkanika from October to April, when the weather remains pleasant and allows the movement of the wildlife as well as the tourists.
Bhadrak and Cuttack are the nearest railheads to Bhitarkanika.
The nearest airports to Bhitarkanika are Kolkata and Bhubaneswar.
Chandibali, the nearest town to Bhitarkanika is well connected to the other cities of Odisha via road.