Chandaka: call of the wilderness

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By BIBHUTI BARIK
  • Published 11.06.12
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Bhubaneswar, June 10: Two months after the opening of a renovated Godibari entrance with an eco-tourism complex, Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) is finally ready to organise a weekend tour service for Chandaka Sanctuary on the outskirts of the capital.

The weekend package, priced at Rs 250 per person, will include air-conditioned travel, entrance fee and guide service for the Godibari Eco-tourism Complex near the entrance to the sanctuary.

The tourists will enjoy all the facilities near Godibari including the adventure sports, eco-theatre, knowledge centre on flora and fauna of Chandaka Sanctuary and walking along two natural trails near the entrance.

“Even in the summer heat, tourists can enjoy a cool atmosphere as the vehicles reach Chandaka at around 8.45am after beginning their journey from the Panthanivas near BJB College campus.

“After enjoying their eco-track walk near the Godibari gate, the visitors can use other facilities such as adventure sports,” said M.R. Patnaik, general manager, OTDC.

Tourism and culture minister Prafulla Samal inaugurated the weekend tour service from Panthanivas on June 9.

Patnaik said that apart from the bus service, OTDC would also provide customised vehicles for small groups of people for a personal touch so that the visitors can have a better time enjoying their weekend.

There would also be the option to have the tour service on other days of the week if visitors contact the marketing team in advance, he added.

Adventure sports facility near Godibari gate, for the first time, has included rock climbing, wall climbing, zummaring, rappelling and net-walk in Bhubaneswar.

The adventure sports facilities also come with knowledge-based centres — eco-theatre and interpretation centre, medicinal, fodder, wild plants and wild berries garden with information board regarding the scientific and local names of the plants.

Godibari is about 15km away from the state capital on the Pitapali-Chandaka Road.

The entry point of the sanctuary was inaugurated after a renovation plan in April.

A rare owl

The eco-theatre has nearly 100 short films on nature and wildlife, herbarium on the plant species available inside Chandaka.

The forest department has developed two nature trails named Macha ranka and Sal. While the Macha ranka trail has been exclusively developed to showcase the water-based birds and animals, the Sal trail is to showcase the terrestrial habitat and, if possible, the animal-plant relationship.

Forest officials said that for the little ones there are interesting play equipment and rides. There are also many replicas of animals with which children can take snaps to preserve their memories of the visit to Godibari.

A souvenir hall also sells the wildlife related products, especially with elephant motif, as the animal is the flagship species of the sanctuary.

For a family or a group of friends who want to spend more time in the lap of nature and plan to stay overnight, there are three rooms priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500.

All the rooms are air-conditioned and meals can be arranged with the help of the eco-development committees.

For serious nature enthusiasts there is more.

While the eco-theatre plans to organise quizzes for the visitors to know their interest for plants, animals and wildlife, a wall-mounted puzzle tests the expertise of the visitor to identify timbers from their texture, colour and quality of finish.

While the timber pieces are numbered, another adjoining board displays the name of the plant.

At present, Chandaka trip is confined to Godibari area, but later the sanctuary authorities in association with OTDC will organise services for the core areas and spots such as Deras Point with addition of more vehicles.