(Last Updated on : 06/12/2013)
The Chandaka Elephant Reserve is located in the Bhubaneshwar district in Orissa and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna species. The reserve covers a huge area of 193.39 sq. km. and is situated on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar in the Khurda Uplands. The area was designated as an Elephant Reserve in August, 1982. The Sanctuary was restricted for checking and restoring the depleting forest cover which once covered Bhubaneswar. Several conservation management techniques implemented in the region, over the last two decades, have revived the natural vegetation of the designated area.
The dense and fascinating natural vegetation of the reserve is considered as an ideal place for eco-tourism and hence, it is contributing hugely to the tourism sector of Orissa. As the name goes, the most dominating fauna species in the reserve is the Elephants. The reserve provides natural habitat to a rich number of Elephants and they provide the best of safaris in the region. The climate in the Chandaka Elephant Reserve is primarily wet due to the proximity of the Bay of Bengal. The area receives considerable amount of rainfall during the monsoons and the average rainfall is 1400 m.
The natural vegetation in the Chandaka Elephant Reserve is also quite rich with a great variety of medicinal and commercial plant species. There is a carbonation of medicinal plants and bamboo plants, with a few orchid species in the wet and shady areas of the reserve. The most dominant plant species found in the reserve include Teak, Hair, Bamboo, Salaia, Bel, Terminenalia Hiwar, Tendu, Casia, Zizphus, Kauriculata, Helicteres, Dhawda, Sal, Babul, Bija, species, Palas, etc. The dense forest provides enough food for the elephants. The amazing sites of the Elephants moving majestically from one place to another in the forests, taking bath, showering one another with their trunk, etc. captures the attention of a number of tourists.
The area is considered to be an ideal habitat for the king of strength, Elephants. However, apart from the Elephants, several other important mammal species also reside in the reserve. Some of these mammal species include Leopard, Sambar, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Four-Horned Antelope, Jungle Fowl, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Wild Dog, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Mongoose, Wolf, Chinkara, Chital, Cheetahs, Blue Bull, Hyena, Bear, Mugger Crocodile, Monitor Lizard, etc. About 30 species of mammals, 27 species of reptiles and 120 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve, so far. The reptile species found in the Chandaka Elephant Reserve include the crocodiles and snakes.
The avifauna in the Chandaka Elephant Reserve is quite rich, with a great variety of bird species. The bird species include both the resident and migratory types. The bird species found in the reserve include a few endangered and threatened species. Some of the most important and notable in the reserve include the Water Birds, mainly Storks, Heron, Egrets, Garganey, Common Teal, Pin Tail, White Eyed Pochard, Spot Billed Duck, etc. The Kamarkhunti reservoir is one of the prominent breeding grounds for many bird species in the reserve. The beautiful scene of the birds singing and dancing in unison enthralls the tourists.
The Chandaka Elephant Reserve is considered as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Orissa. The great variety of flora and fauna species found in the reserve attracts many a number of tourists from different parts of the country and also from around the world. The nature lovers love to come and visit the reserve to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of nature and also to spend quality time on the lap of nature. The Forest Department of the Chandaka Forest has also constructed several watch towers for further facilitating wildlife viewing. The watch towers are located at the places like Kochilaberana, Pitagodia and Charichhak, etc. The tourists can spend a long evening within the elephant reserve and get a glimpse of the majestic animals from the towers. As the elephants generally venture out at night, several tourists wait for a long time to watch them in action.