OFFBEAT PLACES IN ODISHA
In this travel blog, I will give in detail the best offbeat destinations in Odisha that will blow our minds. So let’s start the journey.
Dibrugarh Wildlife Sanctuary- Untamed Forest in Best Offbeat Destinations in Odisha
Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary is located in the Sambalpur district of Odisha which is 220 km from the capital city Bhubaneshwar. A visit to this sanctuary would definitely be a memorable experience in the life of any nature lover. To start with, the drive through the hirakud dam dyke road to reach the sanctuary main gate is beautiful. This is because one can enjoy astounding views of the clear water of the reservoir on the way. The reservoir forms the hirakud wildlife division which is home to many species of animals. This road runs parallel to the huge reservoir and so it gives a feeling of a marine dive due to the unseen horizon that combines perfectly with the clear blue sky.
We stayed in the Debrigarh nature camp, which is 3 km inside the forest from the main gate of the reservoir. The nature camp provides nice cottages and they also provide boating facilities and jungle safari for rs 200 per head. This is quite reasonable owing to the chances of spotting the numerous species of wildlife in the hirakud wildlife division. The cost per night in Debrigarh nature camp is rs 6000 including three-time meals for a couple. Jungle safari is the main attraction for tourists visiting this place as one can see many wild animals like bison, wild boars, sambar deer, spotted deer, peacocks, and if fortune favors leopards and bears can also be seen. Perhaps watching so many wild animals is a cherishable experience for any traveler looking to explore Odisha, the soul of incredible India.
HIGHEST WATERFALL IN BEST OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS IN ODISHA- KHANDADHAR WATERFALL
Odisha eco nature camps are located in all the best offbeat destinations in Odisha. But I never imagined the location of Khandadhar nature camp would be so perfect with an astonishing view of the state’s 2nd tallest waterfall. In fact, the waterfall can be seen gushing from the top of the mountain rich in aluminum mineral. The nature camp has two complexes one at the foot of the entry gate to the waterfall and other on top of a mountain, 100 meters from the entry gate. This view can only be seen from the eco nature camp situated at the top of the mountain. Perhaps Among all the nature camps that I have visited this is perhaps the best nature camp in terms of the panoramic view of the mountains and the greenery. The food was delectable and the cottages were huge with two balconies, facing the waterfall. At a price of RS 3800 inclusive of dinner, breakfast, lunch, and evening snacks, considering the significance and the natural beauty surrounding the nature camp this is quite cheap. The rooms are very clean with plenty of amenities.
Odisha’s most famous waterfall among all Odisha destinations looks splendid in the monsoon as the water plunging down from a height of 244 meters. However It becomes more gushing in its force due to the increase in the volume of water in the Brahmani river. Moreover the moisture-laden clouds covers the top of the mountains of Sundargarh which are rich in bauxite minerals. Both these phenomena create a mesmerizing experience in the vicinity of the waterfall. In Odiya language Khandadhar means sharp sword and thus since the waterfall looks like a sword it was named by the locals. From the entry point, it takes 630 number of steps to go near the waterfall. This is quite a mammoth task. But when a tourist reaches the top, the experience serenity and the splendid form of the waterfall is an out of this world experience.
LARGEST NATIONAL PARK IN BEST OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS IN ODISHA-SIMLIPAL NATURE CAMP:-
Jashipur is a major town in Mayurbhanj district which acts as an entry point to the Simlipal National sanctuary. After reaching Jashipur our only task was to find a hotel for our night stay. We planned to explore Simlipal on the next day in the early morning hours. We found out that in this small town there were only two decent hotels which was obvious for this small town in this district. Hotel Shivam Palace is a good option for staying here. The only food options we found out in this small town were dhabas by the highways. The dhabas cook excellent delicious foods with many options for the menu. So we too had our dinner in one of the many dhabas. One additional advantage to to eat in these dhabas is that for chicken they don’t provide the poultry meat. They provide the meat of the rural hens of the villages which are rare to find and even tastier than the poultry chicken. (offbeat destinations in odisha)
After a strict security checkup we proceeded to move along the Khairi river inside the dense forest. Now this river has some historical significance.
History of Simlipal Tiger:-
It was on the banks of this river that in the year 1974 the then field officer Saroj Raj Choudhury found a tigress cub on the banks of river Khairi. He took care of the cub as a foster father. That was how Simlipal National sanctuary came to limelight all over the world due to the tiger and human relationship.
Simlipal Odisha tiger sanctuary is famous for orchid plants and has been already declared as a biosphere by the UNESCO world heritage site. It has a core area of more than 300 square kilometers making it the second-largest national park in our country. At intervals we came across small villages consisting of local tribes known as khadia with their typical mud thatched roof houses. There were open valleys plenty with rice plantation ,surrounded by the dense forests of the Eastern Ghats. Sometimes we crossed river khairi meandering its way into the Similipal Odisha tiger sanctuary below the wooden bridges.(offbeat destinations in odisha)
Exploring Simlipal Forest:-
Meandering down the quaint roads with the smell of red laterite soil we proceeded our picturesque journey to Uski waterfall. Uski waterfall is situated deep into the forest with an excellent flow of water gushing down from the cliffs inside the forest. Next we proceeded our journey to Barehipani waterfall. Barehipani waterfall is one of the highest plunge waterfall in India covering a height of more than 400 meters. The splendid form of the waterfall falling in steps like a white ribbon. It will mesmerize the tourist to praise the subtle things of nature. The shape of this waterfall is so unique than many other waterfalls in India. Barehipani waterfall gushes down with huge volumes of water to form a part of the Budhabalanga river. So one can imagine the mineral content in the sweet water of the river due to the water eroding the rocks while its journey to the river. The origin of the river is Balanga compartment which is 25 km south of Barehipani. The minimum temperature of the water is 7 deg celsius in winter and 35 deg celsius in the summer. Don’t forget to take a wallpaper picture of this marvelous waterfall in Odisha.
Chahala is a village 35 km inside the forest where animal sighting is possible. The forest officials have put up a watchtower for animal sighting inside the forest. In front of the watchtower there is a huge field into which the forest officials spread salt over the grasses for the herbivorous animals. The animals need iodine for the proper functioning of their digestive system. So they come to graze on the field to taste the iodine-rich grasses. One can spot the barking deer, spotted deers, elephants and wild boars here. (offbeat destinations in odisha)
DAZZLING SCENERY IN BEST OFFBEAT DESTINATION OF ODISHA-SATKOSIA GORGE :-
The state having the fifth largest forest cover in India is Odisha. Odisha is also known as the soul of Incredible India. So there is a vast scope of a traveler for exploring the sanctuaries in Odisha.
Satkosia gorge sand resort in Badmul opens up to the tourists from the month of November to March. When the water of the river Mahanadi recedes back in the winter season. Satkosia gorge sand resort has built Swiss tents on the riverbank of Mahanadi providing a unique retreat for the travelers. The entire riverbank just beside the pristine water of Mahanadi has been built with ecological river camps with the help of the Odisha eco-tourism corporation. Cost of accommodation in these river camps is Rs 4200 per day including lunch , dinner and breakfast. The price also includes boating and adventure sport activities. For adventure sport, there is a canopy walk inside the premises of the camp. The canopy walk is the first of its kind in Odisha. In the night they also arrange bonfire in front of the tents. There also cycling facilities available inside the campus to explore the local villages.
Boating in Mahanadi:-
It is an out of this world experience for any traveler who wants to experience wildlife in Eastern Ghats. Mahanadi river creates a gorge while flowing down through Eastern ghats in the districts of Angul and Nayagarh which is known as Satkosia gorge.
The length of the Satkosia gorge is 22 km in the Eastern ghats Mountain. In this 22 km section the Satkosia gorge is blooming with crocodiles and tortoise. They can be seen while boating with the help of Odisha eco Tourism corporation. It was an immense experience to see the crocodiles and tortoises basking in the sun on the river bed of Mahanadi. The different species of animals found in Satkosia Gorge are wild dogs,river crocodiles like Mugger and Gharials, bison, elephants, pythons, leopards,hyenas and spotted dears. In the boat ride, there is a good chance to encounter these wild animals along the river bed of Mahanadi.
Cookie nature camp:-
I also went to Chotkei nature camp in Tikarpara which is situated inside the core area of Satkosia gorge tiger reserve. This nature camp also is built as a nature awareness camp with all eco-friendly facilities. They are wooden cottages, Swiss tents which are entirely fed with solar power panels. The landscape around the camp is exotic, surrounded by green Eastern ghat mountains booming with wild animals. They are spotted deers, bison, leopards, hyenas, Indian jackals, wild boars and elephants. The price of accommodation including food is RS 4400 in a cottage at Chotkei. The Chotkei ecotourism has been awarded as the best eco-friendly camp in the state. Food was exclusively delectable and was served with fresh vegetables from the village. In Chotkei and Badmul, forest trek is available with the help of a guide. He will guide us to the core area of the jungle but the sighting of the animals will be high at night time.
While going into the forest trek I came across many water streams which were worth to visit for photography. It was due to its serene background and the pristine color of the water. Our guide told us that due to the sweetness of the water many wild animals come to the streams to drink water. The evidence of which I saw from the excretory waste of elephants and deer. Animal sightings are rare in the Eastern Ghats. But here in Tikarpara, animals can be seen easily if one is having the courage to go for trekking in the jungle at night time.
DIAMOND TRIANGLE OF RATNAGIRI, LALITAGIRI AND UDAYAGIRI-HISTORICAL REMAINS IN BEST OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS OF ODISHA:-
Welcome to the exploration of the Buddhist site in Ratnagiri,lalitagiri, and udayagiri commonly known as the diamond triangle of Odisha . Here we will explore the excavated archaeological site of the Buddhist settlement in the Mauryan period. It is very important to mention that each of the three excavation sites has been found on top of hills. Ratnagiri Odisha is the main excavation site and the place of the central museum of the excavations. The museum provides numerous pieces of information of this Buddhist site for composing a travel diary.
Besides providing a panoramic view of the valley, the hills also provide a sense of isolation important for meditation. Perhaps that may be the reason why the Buddhists chose to settle down in these places.
As we enter the Buddhist site of Udayagiri, the tourist spot welcomes us with a huge park. It is made for the visitors to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The excavation site however lies 500 meters away on the top of a hill. The park is surrounded by mountains which are covered with green vegetation. Perhaps those mountains still hold much undiscovered civilizations of ancient India.
History of Ratnagiri:-
The History of Jajpur district in Odisha dates back to pre-Mauryan empire that is preserved in the diamond triangle of Odisha. History dates back to the early first century till twelfth century A.D. when Buddhism flourished here in Odisha. The remnants have only been discovered recently in the 1960s by the Archeological Society Of India. From the excavations, it was clear that architecture and art flourished in this era that included the Gupta and the Maurya dynasties.
An anxious traveler coming to Ratnagiri comes to know that it is the biggest excavated site of Buddhism during the early 1st century in India. It is through the structures and art that one gets to know the divine conscience that existed in that period. In fact the three Buddhist excavated sites in Odisha are situated on top of hills to isolate itself from the civilization. From the sculptures and the stupas we derive the fact of tantric Buddhism that flourished in India in the pre-Gupta and Mauryan period.
Tantric Buddhism in Odisha:-
The numerous votive stupas and the seals discovered to prove the fact of “Kalachakra tantra” that was practiced in that period. However It was one of the form of the Vajrayana Buddhism which explains how events in life modify a soul to attain the conscience of Buddha. A museum has now been built by the Archaeological Society of India. This museum depicts the facts of Buddhism that was practiced during that era.
From 1st till 12th century Ratnagiri became a major place of tantric Buddhism like that of Nalanda in Bihar. There is a secluded area, surrounded by the Eastern Ghats and the Birupa and Brahamini river valley provides a magnificent view. The main monastery contains a carved out statue of buddha surrounded by numerous cells. This is where the monks were believed to have done their meditation. Visit this magnificent historical place in incredible Odisha to enlighten your knowledge of early Indian culture.
KEONJHAR TRAVEL GUIDE:-
This monsoon has been a special season for me. I never imagined I would be able to explore serene greenery near my home. Hope this blog about keonjhar travel guide is a reference for the best road trip in Odisha. On my way, I arrived at Pallahara after which the untamed nature of Odisha unleashed itself into the most surreal form. Vast stretches of the rice fields with palm trees relinquished all my previous experiences in monsoon. The clouds seem to hover over the mountains bringing in rainfall after colliding with the peaks of the Eastern Ghats. As the clouds appeared to move away the distant vision of the paddy fields forced me to capture more hidden peaks of the green mountains. They acted as a catalyst to paint the landscape with a green wall. Altogether the serene nature bestowed me with a fabulous picture of the mesmerizing monsoon here in Odisha. A one hour drive along the Kanjipani ghat road is mandatory. If anybody is traveling from southern Odisha to keonjhar for the shortest route. Kanjipani ghat is situated 30 km from keonjhar. It offers a spectacular view of the Eastern ghats amidst dense teakwood forests.
Waterfalls in Keonjhar:-
As soon as I crossed the Kanjipani Ghat, a half an hour drive brought me to the tourist spot which leads to the two sister waterfalls. These are known as Sanghagara and Badaghagara waterfall, a must-visit place in the keonjhar travel guide. While Sanghagara is more commercial, the latter is situated deep into the forest, a 15min drive from the highway. The road leading to Badaghagara waterfall looked like an enclosed highway inside a roof of green leaves that forced me to capture such stunning greenery. Thanks to the heavy monsoon in Odisha that Gundichaghai waterfall came to its original shape and offered some breathtaking view for me as a tourist. The road leading to this waterfall is through a 9km diversion from the main highway of Harichandanpur towards the famous Tarini temple here in Keonjhar. We had to take a deviation from the highway leading to Duburi from Dhenkikote towards the Tarini temple. The road meanders through dense Sal forests of tribal settlements, most of the time giving glimpses of fertile rice fields and ponds created by the rainfall. Entry fee to this waterfall is Rs. 30 for parking the cars where we get a fascinating viewpoint from an iron bridge of a huge gorge made by the river after creating the waterfall. This is a must-visit place for this best road trip in Odisha and especially in the monsoons in keonjhar travel guide.
Sitabinji In Keonjhar:-
I was so fortunate to discover such an amazing historical place in Odisha. An eager traveler finds everything sufficient enough to enlighten his mind by visiting this historical place. Sitabhanj has an amazing history that dates back to the primitive age of human settlement in this remote area of Odisha. It is believed that Sita, wife of Rama lived here while in exile giving birth to her two sons Luv and Kush. The evidence of such early civilization can be seen in the form of Fresco paintings. Discover by the Archaeological Society of India. There are fresco paintings which have been drawn by the ancient people using colors from dye and leaves of plants. The paintings are drawn on the surface of a rock which is perfectly balanced on top of a boulder. ASI has also excavated remains of early culture and a temple, dating back to the age of Ramayana.
Bhetnoi is a small village in Ganjam district of Odisha where one can see herds of endangered blackbucks. We went to Bhetnoi few months ago and stayed in Chermaria which is about 15kms from Bhetnoi. The Odisha ecotourism guest house at Chermaria has rooms with basic facilities. It is better to start early in the morning for Bhetnoi so as to see the blackbucks because as the day progresses,they tend to isolate themselves in their hiding places in Pakidi hill. Blackbuck deers are the second fastest animal after cheetah on earth. So the sight of this natural wonder is tough. But yes if one is ready to walk for a long period into the grasslands of rice plantation in the villages of Chermaria and bhetnoi they can get a sight of herds of male and female blackbucks roaming around fearlessly in the grasslands. The blackbuck sanctuary has a total of 3000 blackbucks in total and the nearest big town to reach the place is Aska or Bhanjanagar. Both Bhanjanagar and Aska is 180 km from the capital city of Odisha,Bhubaneswar.