Bhitarkanika National Park is a national park located in Kendrapara district of Odisha in eastern India. Core area of 145 square kilometre of the Bhitarkanika Wild Sanctuary, spread over 672 km2, has been designated as a National Park since 16th Sep 1998. Also a Ramsar Convention 19th Aug 2002.
Flora: Mangroves, trees like sundari, thespia, casuarinas, and grasses like the indigo bush, and more.
Fauna: The park is home to the saltwater crocodile, white crocodile, Indian python, black ibis, wild pigs, rhesus monkeys, chitals, darters, cobra, water monitor lizard . Olive ridley sea-turtles nest on Gahirmatha and other nearby beaches. Bhitarkanika has one of the largest populations of endangered saltwater crocodile in India and is globally unique in that 10 percent of the adults exceed 6 m length. Nearly 1671 saltwater crocodiles inhabit the rivers and creeks. Around 3,000 saltwater crocodiles were born during 2014 annual breeding and nesting season.
It is a very good place to sight the giant Salt Water Crocodile, some growing to 23 feet in length, along with other reptiles like the Water Monitor Lizard and the King Cobra. Spotted deers and Wild Boars are abundant in the park and can be spotted at all the major locations. Eight varieties of Kingfishers are found here and can be spotted along the many creeks and riverines within the park.
The boat ride from Khola to Dangmal or vice versa is highly recommended. Khola is one of the gateways into the park. This is along an artificial creek and it passes through dense mangrove forest providing a glimpse into the estuarine ecosystem and its wealth of fauna. The best time to travel through this creek is early morning or before sunset.
Bhitarkanika has a very rich historical and cultural past. It used to be the hunting grounds of the erstwhile King of Kanika . The hunting towers and artificial watering holes can be seen at many places including Bhitarkanika trail and at Dangmal. It is also the home of medieval Hindu temples which can be found dotted throughout the sanctuary. But the major attraction remains the wildlife wealth.