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Thread: Eastern Orissa Grand Forest Travel --> Kuldiha - - Panchalingeshwar - Satkosia - Bangriposi

  1. #1

    Eastern Orissa Grand Forest Travel --> Kuldiha - - Panchalingeshwar - Satkosia - Bangriposi

    Eastern Orissa's pristine forests - Kuldiha and Satkosia. Kuldiha and Panchalingeshwar on Page 1 and Satkosia and Bangriposi on Page 2

    A teaser picture, to know more about this fantastic travel!

    Brilliant colours of Rissi Dam around the periphery of Kuldiha forest, near Jodachua FRH - early Dec 2010
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    Kuldiha Forest near Balasore is one of the most pristine forests in eastern India and that too just some 300 km from Kolkata and much, much nearer if one goes from Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack. This dense forest is an absolute visit for any traveller. With our mid December 2010 travel, we have been to Kuldiha thrice and each and every time we have found the forest enchanting and mesmerizing, and we cherish each and every conversations and interactions with the forest guards during each of our journeys. Almost every other day, the elephants and other animals, particularly gaur and deer come down to the salt lick near the Kuldiha FRH.

    Last year, 2010, Cyclone Aila transformed the forest to a monsoon forest, again a rare treat to watch as what a forest looks like in monsoon we saw first hand, as forests are closed during monsoon months. In summer time as the elephants go after the small ripe but hugely sweet smelling mangoes and the jackfruits as they ripen.

    Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Balasore district of Orissa, near Nilagiri and sprawls over 272 sq km, over rolling hills that rise to heights of 200 m at places,

    This sanctuary is located in the district of Balasore and is blessed with a charming forest and a variety of wildlife such as elephants, bears, gaur, sambar, giant squirrel, a number of bird species like hill myna, peafowl, hornbills and various reptiles. The sanctuary is linked with Similipal through Sukhupada hills and Nato hill ranges.
    A trek within Kuldiha forest with a forest guide is a must.

    Absolutely remember to buy ration [food] before entering the forest, cooking is done by the forest guards. Booking is done by the DFO office at Balasore, phone number for enquiries:

    Kuldiha map
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    Two rest houses at Kuldiha and Jadachuan and the perinnial streams are treat for the visitors. There are Swiss tents at Kuldiha. Both of the locations have their own charm. The salt lick at Kuldiha is the best spot to spot wildlife, particularly elephants, gaur, wild boar and deer.

    Two rest houses at Kuldiha and Jadachuan and the perinnial streams are treat for the visitors. There are Swiss tents at Kuldiha. Both of the locations have their own charm. The salt lick at Kuldiha is the best spot to spot wildlife, particularly elephants, gaur, wild boar and deer.

    If you are driving by your own car, one has to take additional car permission from Nilagiri range office. So it goes like this: Drive down to Balasore forest office, take the papers, drive down to Nilagiri [it is on the way to Kuldiha], take the car and additional papers, enter the forest through the main forest gate.

    Thus in all, till now, we have travelled to Kuldiha 3 times, all self-drive journeys, one overnight and other two very early morning departure.

    1. First travel, when it was very less known - late January 2008
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    2. Second travel, late May 2009, when the periphery clouds of Cyclone Aila, turned the forest into a monsoon forest[and what a sight] - normally we miss this view as forests are closed during the monsoons..
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    3. Early December 2010, with again with some of my good friends.
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    Also while visiting Kuldiha, one can easily travel to Panchalingeshwar as a morning journey and vice versa, i.e., if you are staying at Panchalingeshwar OTDC. Also do try to visit the remote Khumkote tank, a dilapated watch tower looks over to the jungle, the watch tower was constructed long before as target shooting by some zamindar or so, wonderful surroundings to say the least. Some images of these places and more of Kuldiha coming up in the next two posts.


  2. #2
    Below are the pictures from the three travels, i.e., 2008, 2009, and 2010. Also included are pictures from Panchalingeshwar and Khumkote tank.
    The superb concrete highway off Kharagpur towards Balasore.

    The office steno at Balasore Range Office, busy with all our paperwork.

    Let me share some experience of the first travel, always a little different from our subsequent travels as Kuldiha forest was less known at that time.

    Collected the forest entry papers from Balasore Forest Office [lost around 1.5 hours there as the clerk prepared the papers at that time itself and was filling up a whole lot of papers and making again copies of those]. So with a bunch of papers and went back on NH60 and some distance forward took a left turn from Shergarh - then via Nilagiri [again a stop as we collected the car entry papers over here] and Sujnagarh reached the entry gate of Kuldiha. The striking feature of this journey was the way the landscape gradually changed - the hills and hillocks came up and the vegetation became more dense.

    It was around 3 pm we reached the Kuldiha Main Forest Gate and being locked and finding no one, I honked twice and then waited, no one still shows up. 10 mins later and after a cigarette I was about to walk enquiring about to the few huts that I could see, the person [a boy] who was supposed to be manning the gate came running up. He took one set of papers and told us to proceed to Jodachua - the forest rest house that we booked - could not say the distance - and whatever I made out from his language was that it is going to take around 30 mts or so. Told us not to take any turn but drive straight to come up to Kuldiha Forest Rest house and then from there to the right for Jodachua.

    Kuldiha forest hits you like huge mass of trees, trees and trees with clearance just as the road itself and this starts from the main check gate itself - the core area being almost as large as the main forest area. Very few forest authorities will let you loose like that and the very idea of a self-drive and in the process of finding out the forest rest house is exhilarating to say it mildly. The jeep road [with elephant dung coming up quite often] winds itself through the dense forest with crossings coming up in between which again lead onto much less travelled jeep roads.

    With time now being close to 3:45 and with the first sign of dusk coming up and almost after 45 mts of travel [approx speed of around 15-30 kmph] my friend, Ananya 's wife first started to feel tense and that being contagious, my wife started to feel tense. This whole 45 mts of travel we came across no one, not even a forest guard, and the feeling that I must have taken a wrong road started coming up - the gloominess and approaching dusk - a tinge of fear that one associates with jungles came up. It would be impossible to go back to the check gate and then go again as surely by that time there will darkness all around and I just hoped that this road wherever it leads to should at least come up to a forest gate, the road leading to a forest rest house seemed to be a miracle at that time, and not to a watch tower with a dead end.

    Everyone was quiet inside the VTT, the uncomfortable silence and the palpable tension - with the kids being blissfully ignorant - just a bit apprehension also started in me. I started driving fast, the last 5-10 mts or so at around 60-65 kmph and thats a lot inside a forest, the thought of coming up a watch tower with a dead end road made me go quick - so that could turn back take any other road at a cross-section as long as some daylight was there. Just then, lo and behold, suddenly the Kuldiha forest rest house materializes, almost from nowhere - A collective sigh of relief from all the occupants and everyone was smiling again recounting the experience.

    As said, drove straight and enjoying each and every moment of the unexpected long journey through the forest.
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    Kuldiha FRH is main place to stay and is furnished, the rooms [2] are well maintained and spacious. Solar lamps being the source of light. Plus there is double-bed tent accommodation now so that more travellers can stay at Kuldiha than rather go to Jodachua.

    The track to the FRH at Jodachua branches off to the right just before the Kuldiha FRH, around 10 km from Kuldiha.

    Again a flashback from our first journey year.
    The drive to Jodachua was relaxed as after all we had our first reassuring contact with the forest guards and we knew the distance. Again however, this 10 km small journey was not without its fair share of adventure. Along the forest road, a small culvert bridge came up with the earth on top of the culvert not being wide enough for the width of Safari. Stopped in front, saw that the only way is to go full speed with stable hands with not an inch of wavering - the rear tyres then jumping off the curve of the culvert to stable ground and not falling in the rut. Backed up and did just that again we were on your way to Jodachua with cheers and sense of relief again returning.

    At Jodachua FRH, Jan 21, 2008.

    Going out of the forest check gate we went on to a small hamlet where we had our breakfast - small sized singharas, aloo vada, and some kind of dal vada - all hugely tasteful. After that again took another small road through tribal village huts that leads on to another check gate and thus entered the forests again.

    Another forest checkgate

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    At the forest check guard's house these guys made themselves busy

    By the time we returned back to Jodachua it was time for lunch. Rather than take a bucket loads of water inside the bathroom, we boys bathed over at the hand pump itself, the ground water kind of warm and refreshing - again a unique experience.

    Our water source

    THE ever helpful FRH guys of Jodachua

    At Rissi Dam

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    The salt lick of Kuldiha is where wildlife come up from late evening/night. Almost a pattern was there when we went over there, the deer came first, then the bison, and then the elephant

    Elephant tracking as they move along the forest. Other than this fleeting view, we saw a group of elephants late evening at the salt lick of Kuldiha FRH. Poor light, almost dark it was at that time, and the image was beyond the Canon S3 IS camera dynamic range. Some poor light pictures of a solitary elephant is there in the travel photos from 2009 trip.

    VTT-TMT as it checks out of Kuldiha, Jan 2008

  3. #3
    Let me take this post to update the photos of our last visit to Kuldiha in May 2009 with Cyclone Aila causing a huge deluge in the forest - As said we got to see and feel and slide [VTT 2-tonne slide is great till you get stuck] what a forest looks like during the monsoons.

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    Torrential rain due to side effect of cyclonic storm Aila had left the gate entrance at Kuldiha, Orissa, a mud trap for a 2wd. After a lot of sliding, precariously close to the forest iron gate and the trench by the side, Safari VTT somehow was maneuvered to the grassy patch at the other side.

    Kuldiha road is totally uphill from this gate, and quite a few anxious moments were encountered. All in all, though a very fantastic experience, a forest journey and stay during torrential rain is absolutely different -- normally the forests are closed in the monsoons. All the gutters and overflowing water on the forest track and the sliding and experiencing the wilderness was an experience by itself.

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    This solitary elephant came up late evening and roamed around till night around the trench of the FRH, the ripe jackfruits were too much of a temptation for him.

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    Though Cyclone Aila dropped huge rain though Kuldiha was quite far from its centre -- for the first time we had a feel of how a forest looks like as in monsoon months -- as travel is not allowed and almost all forests remain closed during the rainy season.

    With track and nullahs overflowing, one has to be careful in where the edge ends.

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    The whole forest has a raw smell ripe fruits, from mangoes to jackfruits.

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    Roamed around the forest tracks as the rain slowed for few hours

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  4. #4

    Kuldiha, Early December 2010

    3. Early December 2010, with again with some of my good friends.

    Elephant pelvic bone!!
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    Fleeting clouds at night as the Kuldiha FRH is lighted up by solar.
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    Star trail at Kuldiha, one can just about see the pole star through the forest cover
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    Few fall colours as seen in an extremely dense green forest.
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    Some more pictures with Canon 450D

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    Next post will have some info and pics of Panchlingeshwar and Khumkote tank, both nearby places

  5. #5

    Khumkote tank and Panchalingeshwar, Orissa

    In April 2008, taking a Sunday to Monday off, we went to Panchalingeshwar. Soon we were asking people over there for some even lesser known place - soon were proceeding towards the tribal village of Khumkote. Found a sparkling blue lake in the middle of nowhere where I took an impromptu bath. Whenever I asked for directions, people have stopped and answered and never felt unsafe to travel to remote areas with wife and a small child.

    We again visited Khumkote tank along with my friends, Deban and Sovan, during our 2nd Kuldiha trip, 2009. Some pictures from both the trips

    Ever smooth NH60, off Kharaghpur towards Balasore

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    On towards Panchalingeshwar, off Balasore national highway.
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    At OTDC Panchalingeshwar

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    Panchalingeshwar Temple

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    Now on towards Khumkote Tank from Panchalingeshwar, images from 2008 and 2009

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    Those are scratch marks as the Safari VTT-TMT went through the bushes, it was hardly a track for a vehicle.

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    Going up to the embankment of the Khumkote tank [tied up the S3 IS camera on the bonnet

    Khumkote tank [long long before a zamindar built this tower for hunting when they came down for water] and Panchaligeshwar we visited again for a 2 day short trip last year, but this time around summer time. Heard last time that the elephants come down from the forest on the other side to drink water from the tank - so this summer time trip was done along with a friend of mine. Last time there was enough water in the tank for myself to have impromptu swim!

    Khumkote Tank

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    Absolute refreshing dip
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    And thats us, 2009, when we went along with my 2 of good friends.
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    Next page writing about the Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary, Orissa, trips that we had.


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