Satkosia Basipalli Sanctuary, popularly known as Satkosia Gorge Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Orissa’s famous wildlife sanctuaries. The Gharial Breeding Project, the latest venture of the wildlife reserve has attracted a lot of attention and contributed to its popularity. The idyllic green sanctuary spans an area of 1330 square kilometers and was established in 1976. The entire area is divided into two parts by the River Mahanadi and is situated between the districts of Budh, Angul, Nayagarh and Cuttack. The sanctuary is valued by wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, scientists and adventure freaks, in a similar manner. The region under the Angul sub division is comparatively hilly and houses dense groves, moist and dry deciduous forests and vibrant flowers like Khalsi and Genwa. BOOKING DETAILS OF SATKOSIA
In its secluded premises, it houses a variety of wildlife such as elephants, tigers, leopards, gaur, nilgai, mouse deer, wild goats, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, giant squirrels and four-horned antelopes. It is also home to the gharials (Indian Crocodiles), fresh water turtles, mugger crocodiles and snakes of different specoes. Its most distinctive feature is the Gharial Research and Conservation Unit, which is situated at Tikarapada. Presently, it has been renamed as Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
Places to see at Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: Tourism is permitted only across 269 square kilometers of the total area. You can explore the wild side of the sanctuary by visiting Baghmunda, the residential area of the tigers. The Athamallik-Chhendipada-Telkoi corridor, Satkosia-Khalasuni corridor and Kapilas-Rebena corridor are the three main corridors through which the elephants travel and can be mainly seen by the tourists.
Nearby attractions of Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: Apart from the main part of the sanctuary, you can tour places like Tikarpara that offers beautiful view of the gorge and meandering river. Hati Girga, known for the watch tower; Labangi, which is situated on a hill top, Purnakot – renowned for offering hiking trails and Kandhaida, known for its intense jungles; completes the list. The places that are popular for its stream and waterfall are Sitalpaani and Bheemdara, respectively.
Things to do in Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: Besides exploring the forests for various kinds of animals, you can also enjoy the panoramic vistas and opt for activities like trekking, elephant rides, night safaris and boating that are provided by the Forest Department.
How to reach Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: From Kolkata, you need to travel to Cuttack in Orissa by rail. From Cuttack, travel to Angul (which is 115 kms away), via bus, in order to reach Satkosia. The entry point is situated at Pamapsara, at a distance of around 30 kilometers from Angul.
The transfer to Satkosia from Athagarh is operated by Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC). Tourists are advised to hire a vehicle from Cuttack or Angul for both traveling and sightseeing purposes. There is also a train from Howrah to Angul (via Bhadrak) that runs only on Saturdays from Howrah and takes around 10 hours.
Best time to visit Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: Though the sanctuary can be visited during the months of October to February, the months of December and January are considered to be the best time to visit the place.
Lodging and dining facilities at Satkosia Gorge Sanctuary: Tented accommodation facilities are available near Tikarpada, at affordable rates. The option of guest houses is also available in and around the sanctuary. Both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food is offered to the tourists by the places of accommodation.
Photographs by Debkinkar Baidya.