Simlipal Tiger Reserve is located in the Mayurbhanj district in Orissa. It boasts to have a complete ecosystem which is replete with forests of sal trees, diverse fauna and the adjacent Santhal tribal settlements. The forests of Simplipal where now stands the sanctuary was primarily the hunting ground for the royalty. In 1956 it was declared as a tiger reserve and the Project Tiger was initiated here in May 1972. It got the status of a national park in 1979.
Simplipal possesses beautiful surroundings and picturesque sites to visit. The geological structure of the sanctuary consists of high plateaus and hills and offers an ideal habitat for endangered tigers and other animals. The highest peak here is the Mangesheri. As many as 12 rivers flow across the plain area. The main rivers among them are Palpala, Burhabalanga, Bandan, Deo and Kahairi. There are many waterfalls that are a permanent attraction to the tourists. The forest has withstood two major cyclones in 1982 and 1999. The calamities could not cause any irrevocable damages and the reserve continues to attract visitors.
This extensive ecosystem has as many as 100 tigers. Among the other mammals found in the Reserve are leopards, sambhars, gaur (Indian bison), elephants, langurs, deer, antelopes, chital, wild boar, sloth bears, chevrotains, wild dog, monkeys, hyenas and porcupines. Around 230 species of birds are found in these forests. The officially recorded species include the red jungle fowl, hill myna, peafowl, gray hornbill, alexandrine parakeet, crested serpent eagle, Indian pied hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill and Indian trogon. There is a considerable population of reptiles as well. To name a few, snakes and turtles are the important ones. Ever since the Mugger Management Program was incepted in the forest, the population of crocodiles has increased remarkably.
Simlipal Tiger Reserve is rich with the floral treasure as well. As many as 501 species of plants that belong to 102 botanical families have been registered here. Researchers have already identified eighty-two species of orchids here. Moreover the sal trees are omnipresent in the forest. There are a number of medicinal herbs and rare plants that serve as a means of livelihood for the tribal communities living in the forests of the Reserve. As regard the forest types found here Northern tropical semi-evergreen trees and Northern tropical moist deciduous trees are the main ones.
You can enjoy a panoramic view of the park from Barheipani (1308 ft.) region. You would love witnessing the beauty of the scenic waterfalls of the park at Joranda (493 ft.).
The grasslands and the savanna types too are here and they provide vast grazing grounds for the herbivores and safe hiding place for the carnivores.
Tourists are expected to be responsible and should not cause any damage to the rare floral and faunal life. Tourists are not allowed to pluck any herbs, plants or flowers and take them home. Smoking is prohibited in the reserved forest area of the National Park. Carrying any explosives inside the sanctuary is strictly prohibited. Polyethylene bags are not allowed in the forest. Playing loud music, radio and tape recorders is not allowed here as the radio frequency and voice might disturb, scare or irritate the animals.
Tourists better wear light cotton clothes during summers and woolens would suffice during winters. You have to collect the entry pass for the National Park at Baripada. Feast and dance during January of the Santhal tribes that inhabit the Simlipal forest is an added attraction here. Of course if you want to attend this fest you have to give a prior notification to the forest authorities.
All in all a visit to the Simplipal is an exhilarating experience for the tourists. The park remains open from 1st of October to 15th of June. You can visit the sanctuary any time between the two dates mentioned. There are many resorts and low fare hotels in the outskirts of the Park where you can get good food and accommodation facilities. Orissa Tourism Resort is the best option for you but mind well you have to book the rooms here well in advance. Otherwise you might face some problems in getting the comfortable accommodation.
So when are you planning a trip to Simplipal Tiger Reserve?