Orissa abounds with natural resources and natural beauty. Many of the places in Orissa are beautiful but still uncorrupted by commercial tourism. Though, because of that, it is not easy for the regular tourist to visit these places, for the true nature lover this is a paradise.
Bhitara Kanika & Gahira Matha
Bhitara Kanika is near Kendrapara in Orissa. Its deep mangrove forests in saline waters are a natural breeding place for crocodiles. Apart from crocodiles, Bhitara Kanika forests are also home to animals like Boars, Deers, Monitors, Pythons and Cobras.
The Bhitara Kanika mangroves are isolated from the Bay of Bengal by the Gahira Matha (Gahirmatha) Beach. The Gahirmatha beach is the largest known mating and nesting ground of the endangered Olive Ridley turtles. Beginning November every year, when winter begins, a spectacle ensues here where Olive Ridley turtles throng this place, find their mates and bury their eggs in the sand. Eggs hatch in a couple of months time and the hatch lings immediately scamper towards the ocean. This is also a feasting time for other creatures, both at land and the sea. Only one out of a thousand turtle hatch lings survives.
Tapta Pani (Hot Water Spring)
Tapta Pani, which translates into "Bubbling Water" is a hot spring in the forests around 50 kms from the city of Berhampur, Orissa. The water of this spring abounds in sulfur and other minerals and is believed to have medicinal powers.
Khandadhar Hills & Water Falls
The Khandadhar waterfall is located at the Khandadhar forests, in Sundargarh district of Orissa. Apart from the beautiful perennial water fall, the Khandadhar forests are also home for animals like Elephants and Tiger. Recently a new species of limbless lizard discovered in the Khandadhar forest illustrates the still undiscovered rich biodiversity of these forests. These hills are also rich in iron ore which is both a boon and a bane (if careless mining destroys the forests).
Similipal Forests Similipal is located in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. The Similipal reserve forest derives its name from the silk cotton trees (called Simul in Oriya) that once abounded these forests. The Similipal sanctuary is also a tiger reserve forest and a crocodile breeding ground.
Farming & Cultivation
Organic turmeric cultivated in the Kandhamal district of Orissa is famous for its texture, color and flavor. Curcumic, the primary content in turmeric that lends to its properties, has been found to be the highest in the turmeric cultivated in these regions. Currently organized organic turmeric cultivation is being carried out by a division of Omfed in the Kandhamal region.
The drier regions of Orissa also engage in cotton cultivation.
The Hirakud Dam, built across the Mahanadi river is the words largest earthen (earth filled instead of rock filled) dam. It is also one of the worlds longest dam at 26 km in length. That is more than the distance between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and about the diameter of Bangalore city! The dam serves multiple purposes - controlling flood, irrigation and hydroelectricity. I remember having visited the dam and its hydroelectricity generation unit as a kid and it was one of the most awesome experiences I still cherish.
Chandipur Beach (Chandipur-on-sea)
Chandipur is a beach resort near Balasore, Orissa. The Chandipur beach is much flatter at the shore than other beaches because of which the sea recedes up to 3-4 kms back during low tide. Fishermen walk till the edges of the receded sea during low tide and place vertical nets on the beach which catch fish once the tide recedes after the next high tide. Chandipur is also a test range for the integrated test range of the Indian army where the army tests its missiles.
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