Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, 1978 A Haven for Wildlife in Eastern India

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Introduction

Nestled amidst the verdant hills of Keonjhar district in Odisha, India, lies the Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for diverse flora and fauna. Established in 1978 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, this sanctuary sprawls across an area of 191 square kilometers, serving as a vital refuge for a plethora of endangered and threatened species.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a treasure trove of biodiversity, situated in the eastern highlands of Odisha. The sanctuary’s geographical location, encompassing the Boula Reserve Forest and a portion of the Satkosia Reserve Forest, plays a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance and preserving the region’s unique natural heritage.

The establishment of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary marked a significant step towards conserving the region’s rich biodiversity. This protected area serves as a sanctuary for a wide range of species, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and numerous bird species. The sanctuary’s significance extends beyond its ecological value, as it also contributes to local livelihoods and promotes ecotourism in the region.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a testament to the importance of conservation efforts in preserving the delicate balance of nature. Its diverse flora and fauna, coupled with its scenic beauty, make it a crucial component of Odisha’s natural heritage.

Geographical Setting

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled within the heart of Keonjhar district, a region renowned for its rich natural heritage in Odisha, India. The sanctuary’s geographical coordinates place it between 21°20′ and 21°30′ N latitude and 85°30′ and 85°45′ E longitude. Spread across an area of 191 square kilometers, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses a diverse landscape, ranging from rolling hills to lush forests.

The terrain of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by its undulating hills, which form part of the larger Chota Nagpur Plateau. These hills, ranging from 300 to 600 meters in elevation, provide a picturesque backdrop to the sanctuary’s diverse flora and fauna. The sanctuary’s forests, predominantly composed of Sal (Shorea robusta) trees, cover approximately 70% of its area. These forests provide a crucial habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

Interwoven within the sanctuary’s landscape is the Salandi River, a lifeline for the region’s wildlife. The river meanders through the sanctuary, providing a source of water and sustenance for numerous species. The Salandi River also plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the sanctuary, supporting a diverse range of aquatic and riparian ecosystems.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary enjoys a strategic location, situated in close proximity to two other important protected areas in Odisha: Similipal Tiger Reserve and Kuladiha Wildlife Sanctuary. This proximity creates a vast wildlife corridor, facilitating the movement of species between the three sanctuaries and enhancing the overall conservation landscape of the region.

The proximity of these protected areas also fosters collaboration among conservation efforts, ensuring the long-term protection of the region’s rich biodiversity. Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Similipal Tiger Reserve, and Kuladiha Wildlife Sanctuary collectively form a vital network of protected areas, safeguarding the ecological integrity of Odisha’s natural heritage.

Flora and Fauna

Flora

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a rich tapestry of plant life, showcasing the diversity of Odisha’s natural heritage. The sanctuary’s forests, encompassing approximately 70% of its area, are predominantly composed of Sal (Shorea robusta) trees, which form the dominant canopy layer. These towering trees provide a vital habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

Sal (Shorea robusta) trees in Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Odisha

Along with Sal trees, the sanctuary’s flora includes a diverse range of other tree species, such as Asan (Terminalia tomentosa), Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), and Teak (Tectona grandis). These trees, together with a variety of shrubs, herbs, and grasses, contribute to the sanctuary’s rich botanical diversity, creating a complex and interconnected ecosystem.

Sal (Shorea robusta)
Amla (Emblica officinalis)
Asan (Terminalia tomentosa)
Bela (Aegle marmelos)
Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium)
Dhaura (Anogeissus latifolia)
Jamun (Syzygium cumini)
Teak (Tectona grandis)
Kadamba (Neolamarckia cadamba)
Kanchan
Kangara
Karanja
Kasi
Kendu
Kurum
Kusum (Schleichera oleosa)
Mahul (Madhuca longifolia)
Mango (Mangifera indica)
Mundi
Phasi
Sidha
Simul (Bombax ceiba)

Fauna

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary serves as a sanctuary for a remarkable array of fauna, many of which are considered endangered or threatened. The sanctuary’s flagship species include tigers, leopards, and elephants, all of which are apex predators playing crucial roles in maintaining the ecological balance of the forest ecosystem.

Other notable mammals found in the sanctuary include fishing cats, jungle cats, langurs, pangolins, wolves, and hyenas. These diverse species contribute to the sanctuary’s vibrant wildlife, showcasing the region’s ecological importance.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with a recorded 156 bird species representing 56 families. The sanctuary’s varied habitats, including dense forests, grasslands, and water bodies, provide suitable nesting and feeding grounds for a wide range of avian species.

Among the sanctuary’s resident bird species are the Indian Grey Hornbill, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Common Kingfisher, and the Indian Grey Junglefowl. The sanctuary also attracts a variety of migratory birds, adding to its ornithological significance.

The abundance of birdlife in Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary reflects the sanctuary’s healthy ecosystem and its role in supporting a diverse range of species. The sanctuary’s birdlife is a captivating aspect of its natural heritage, drawing visitors from near and far to witness the wonders of avian diversity.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a rich diversity of fauna, including:

Mammals: Tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), elephants (Elephas maximus), fishing cats (Prionailurus viverrinus), jungle cats (Felis chaus), langurs (Semnopithecus spp.), pangolins (Manis crassicaudata), wolves (Canis lupus), and hyenas (Hyaena spp.)

Mammals:
Tiger
Leopard
Wild Dog
Spotted Deer
Wild Boar
Asian Elephant
Bluebull
Fishing Cats
Jungle Cats
Langurs
Pangolins
Hyenas

Birds: Over 156 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary, representing 56 families. Some notable bird species include the Indian Grey Hornbill (Hornbillus bicornis), the Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus), the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), and the Indian Grey Junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii).

Birds:
Peafowl
Hornbills
Kingfishers
Woodpeckers
Owls
Herons
Ducks and other waterfowl
Grebes
Cormorants
Darter
Stork
common chiffchaff
White-rumped munia
Crested serpent eagle
Red-whiskered bulbul
Red-breasted flycatcher
Chestnut-headed bee-eater
Indian peafowl

Reptiles and Amphibians: The sanctuary is home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, lizards, turtles, and frogs. Notable reptile species include the Indian Rock Python (Python molurus), the Indian Cobra (Naja naja), and the Indian Monitor Lizard (Varanus bengalensis).

Reptiles
King cobra
Python
Crocodiles
Crocodilians
Turtles
Lizards
Snakes
Frogs and toads
Monitor Lizard
Mugger

Fish: The Salandi River, which flows through the sanctuary, supports a diverse population of fish species. Some common fish species include the Mahseer (Tor tor), the Rohu (Labeo rohita), and the Catla (Catla catla).

FISH
Singhara
Catla
Jhalli
Grass Crap
Rohu
Hilsa
Coated otter

In addition to these specific species, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to a variety of insects, invertebrates, and other animal species. The sanctuary’s diverse habitats and abundant water resources provide suitable living conditions for a wide range of flora and fauna, making it a vital ecosystem for the preservation of biodiversity in the region.

Conservation and Management

A. Establishment of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in 1978 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – In recognition of its rich biodiversity and ecological significance, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1978 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. This designation marked a crucial step towards conserving the region’s natural heritage and ensuring the protection of its endangered and threatened species.

The establishment of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary brought forth a framework for managing and safeguarding the sanctuary’s precious wildlife and habitat. The sanctuary’s protected status has played a vital role in preserving the region’s biodiversity, ensuring the continued existence of a myriad of plant and animal species.

B. Efforts to protect the sanctuary’s wildlife and habitat – The management of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary involves a multifaceted approach to protecting its wildlife and habitat. The sanctuary’s authorities have implemented a range of measures, including:

  • Anti-poaching patrols: Trained forest guards regularly patrol the sanctuary to deter poaching activities and safeguard the sanctuary’s wildlife.
  • Habitat management: Efforts are undertaken to maintain and enhance the sanctuary’s habitat, ensuring the availability of suitable living conditions for its diverse flora and fauna.
  • Community engagement: Local communities are involved in conservation efforts, fostering a sense of ownership and promoting sustainable practices within the sanctuary’s vicinity.
  • Ecotourism initiatives: Well-regulated ecotourism activities provide opportunities for visitors to experience the sanctuary’s natural beauty while contributing to conservation efforts.

These measures, together with ongoing research and monitoring, contribute to the ongoing protection and management of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.

C. Challenges faced in managing the sanctuary, such as poaching and deforestation – Despite the commendable conservation efforts, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary faces several challenges in its management:

  • Poaching: The illegal hunting of wildlife remains a persistent threat, particularly for species like tigers and elephants.
  • Deforestation: Encroachment and illegal logging pose a significant threat to the sanctuary’s habitat, impacting the survival of various plant and animal species.
  • Human-wildlife conflict: As human settlements expand into the sanctuary’s periphery, instances of human-wildlife conflict arise, requiring careful mitigation strategies.
  • Inadequate funding: Limited financial resources often hinder conservation efforts, making it difficult to implement all necessary measures effectively.

Addressing these challenges requires continuous collaboration among conservation agencies, local communities, and concerned stakeholders. By combining robust enforcement, community engagement, and sustainable development initiatives, the long-term preservation of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and its precious biodiversity can be ensured.

Ecotourism and Recreation

A. Opportunities for ecotourism and wildlife viewing within the sanctuary – Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of nature through responsible ecotourism practices. The sanctuary’s rich biodiversity, diverse landscapes, and tranquil atmosphere make it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Visitors can embark on guided wildlife safaris, venturing deep into the sanctuary’s forests in search of its elusive inhabitants. Tiger safaris are a particularly popular attraction, offering a chance to witness the majestic Bengal tiger in its natural habitat.

Bird watching enthusiasts can delight in the sanctuary’s abundance of avian species, spotting a variety of colorful and melodious birds amidst the verdant foliage. Nature trails provide visitors with a chance to explore the sanctuary’s diverse flora and fauna, immersing themselves in the tranquility of the forest.

B. Availability of safari rides and other eco-friendly activities – To ensure a harmonious balance between conservation and ecotourism, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of eco-friendly activities that allow visitors to experience the sanctuary’s wonders without disrupting its natural environment.

Jeep safaris are a popular option, providing a comfortable and safe way to explore the sanctuary’s diverse terrain. Elephant safaris offer a unique perspective, allowing visitors to observe wildlife from the back of these gentle giants.

Trekking trails provide a more immersive experience, allowing visitors to connect with the sanctuary’s natural beauty and its diverse flora and fauna. Boat rides on the Salandi River offer a serene way to explore the sanctuary’s aquatic ecosystems and spot a variety of bird species.

C. Scenic beauty of the sanctuary and the Hadgarh Dam, making it a popular tourist destination – Apart from its rich biodiversity and wildlife viewing opportunities, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned for its scenic beauty, attracting visitors from across the region. The sanctuary’s rolling hills, lush forests, and meandering rivers create a picturesque backdrop for a variety of recreational activities.

The Hadgarh Dam, situated within the sanctuary, adds to the scenic charm of the area. The reservoir created by the dam provides a tranquil setting for boating and fishing, while the surrounding hills offer panoramic views of the sanctuary’s landscape.

The combination of natural beauty, wildlife viewing opportunities, and eco-friendly activities makes Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary a popular tourist destination, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience of Odisha’s natural heritage.

Places To Visit Near Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary:

Kanjipani Ghati – Nestled amidst breathtaking hills and valleys, Kanjipani Ghati is a mesmerizing hill station in Keonjhar district, Odisha, India. Renowned for its stunning natural beauty and tranquil ambiance, Kanjipani Ghati offers an unforgettable escape for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The winding roads that traverse the ghat, reaching an elevation of 610 meters, provide a panoramic vista of the surrounding landscape, leaving visitors awestruck by the sheer majesty of nature. This haven of rich biodiversity is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. The ghar’s winter temperatures can dip to zero degrees Celsius, creating a magical atmosphere as clouds descend upon the valley, mesmerizing the senses. Kanjipani Ghati’s allure extends beyond its natural beauty; it also serves as a gateway to the enchanting Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary, located approximately 145 kilometers away. The ideal time to experience the splendor of Kanjipani Ghati is during the months of October to March when the weather remains pleasant and inviting. Whether you seek tranquility amidst nature’s embrace or crave an exhilarating adventure, Kanjipani Ghati promises an unforgettable sojourn, leaving you yearning for more.

Kushaleswar Temple – Kushaleswar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the Keonjhar district of Odisha, India. It is situated on the banks of the Kusei River, about 90 km from Keonjhar city and 15 km from Anandapur. The temple was built in the 9th century AD by King Jajati Keshari.

The temple is built in the Panchamukhi style, with five different deities facing towards different directions. Lord Shiva is facing towards the East direction, Goddess Parvati towards the North direction, Lord Kartikeya and Bhairava towards the West direction and Lord Ganesha towards the South direction.

The temple is a popular pilgrimage destination for Hindus from all over Odisha. The main festival of the temple is Maha Shivaratri, which is celebrated in February or March. During this time, thousands of devotees come to the temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva.

The temple is also a significant historical monument. It is one of the oldest temples in Odisha and is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Tenteinali Waterfall – Tenteinali Waterfall is a hidden gem tucked away in the dense forests of Keonjhar district in Odisha, India. It is a cascading waterfall that plunges from a height of approximately 150 feet into a pool of clear, cold water. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery, making it a popular spot for picnics and nature walks.

The best time to visit Tenteinali Waterfall is during the monsoon season, when the water flow is at its peak. The waterfall is also a popular spot for adventure enthusiasts, as there are several trekking trails leading to the waterfall.

To reach Tenteinali Waterfall, you need to take a deviation from the main road between Keonjhar and Dhenkanal. The nearest village to the waterfall is Telkoi, which is about 12 kilometers away. From Telkoi, you can take a rickshaw or jeep to the waterfall.

Once you reach the waterfall, you will need to trek for about 1 kilometer through the forest to reach the viewing point. The trek is moderate and can be completed in about 30 minutes.

The waterfall is a popular spot for photography and videography. The lush greenery, cascading waterfall, and clear pool of water make for a stunning backdrop.

If you are looking for a hidden gem off the beaten path, Tenteinali Waterfall is definitely worth a visit. The waterfall is a beautiful and serene place that is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Keshri Kunda – “Keshari Kunda” is a location near the bed of the Baitarni River, approximately 50 km away from Keonjhar town. Here are some key points:

  1. Religious Significance:
    • Keshari Kunda has religious importance, with people attracted to the location for a holy dip in the river. Devotees also offer homage to Lord Shiva on the riverbank.
  2. Natural Features:
    • The presence of two holes in the riverbed adds an intriguing aspect to the site. This natural feature seems to be a point of interest for visitors.
  3. Scenic Landscape:
    • The overall landscape of Keshari Kunda provides an interesting and scenic scenario, making it a suitable destination for picnics and holidays.
  4. Makara Sankranti Tradition:
    • During Makara Sankranti, adventurous individuals take on a unique challenge by entering one hole in the riverbed and emerging from another. This act is described as a way for people to prove their righteousness.

Overall, Keshari Kunda appears to be a multifaceted location, blending religious significance, natural features, and recreational opportunities for visitors. It serves as a destination for both spiritual activities and leisurely pursuits.

Handibhanga Waterfall – Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Keonjhar district in Odisha, India, Handibhanga Waterfall is a cascading cascade that plunges from a height of approximately 200 feet into a pool of clear, refreshing water.

Surrounded by verdant hills and dense forests, the waterfall offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The sound of the gushing water and the cool mist that envelops the area create a serene ambiance, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

During the monsoon season, when the water flow is at its peak, the waterfall transforms into a majestic spectacle. The thunderous roar of the cascading water and the sheer power of the falls are truly awe-inspiring.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the trek to the waterfall itself is an exhilarating challenge. The trail winds through the lush forest, offering glimpses of the surrounding flora and fauna. Reaching the waterfall after a moderate trek is a rewarding experience, and the stunning views from the top are well worth the effort.

Handibhanga Waterfall is also a popular spot for picnics and family outings. The surrounding area provides ample space for setting up a picnic blanket and enjoying a meal amidst the tranquil surroundings. The sound of the waterfall and the cool breeze create a perfect setting for a relaxing day out.

The waterfall is easily accessible from Keonjhar town, located just 45 kilometers away. The road leading to the waterfall is well-maintained and offers scenic views of the surrounding hills and forests.

Handibhanga Waterfall is a must-visit for anyone exploring the natural beauty of Keonjhar district. With its cascading waters, serene ambiance, and adventurous trek, the waterfall offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Sanaghagara Waterfall – Nestled amidst the rolling hills and verdant forests of Keonjhar district in Odisha, India, Sana Ghagara Waterfall stands as a testament to nature’s artistry. Situated just 8 kilometers from Keonjhar town along National Highway No.-6 towards Sambalpur, this enchanting waterfall cascades down a rocky outcrop, adding its melodious rhythm to the symphony of the surrounding wilderness.

Encompassing an area of 488 hectares, Sana Ghagara Water Fall forms the heart of an ecologically rich ecotourism destination, characterized by a diverse mix of deciduous and miscellaneous forest vegetation. The waterfall’s perennial stream, a source of life-giving water for the surrounding ecosystem, serves as a magnet for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers throughout the year.

Perched at an average elevation of 1950 feet above mean sea level, Sana Ghagara enjoys a relatively cool climate, with summers that are milder than most and winters that bring a refreshing chill. The region receives an average annual rainfall of 1500 millimeters, with temperatures ranging from 14.7 degrees Celsius to 41.1 degrees Celsius. Relative humidity typically ranges between 41% and 93%, and frost is a rare occurrence in this temperate haven.

The topography of the area presents an undulating spectacle, with hills, pediments, and a narrow “V”-shaped valley shaping the landscape. The hills and pediments rise steeply, their rocky formations bearing witness to the passage of time. The region’s drainage system feeds into the Baitarani River through the Machhakandana Nala, ensuring the continuous replenishment of the natural water cycle.

Sana Ghagara Waterfall, with its captivating charm and the diverse ecosystem it nurtures, stands as a beacon of natural beauty and ecological significance, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world.

Murga Mahadev Temple – Embraced by the verdant embrace of Thakurani Hills, Murga Mahadev Temple stands as a majestic sentinel, its presence woven into the fabric of the region’s cultural heritage. Nestled amidst the lush greenery, a picturesque perennial spring cascades into a breathtaking waterfall, a gift from nature to the devout and the adventurous alike. This sacred cascade, flowing near the temple grounds, offers a serene setting for holy baths, a ritual that draws devotees from far and wide.

During the auspicious occasions of Makara Sankranti and Shivaratri, the temple transforms into a vibrant hub of spiritual fervor. Devotees flock from all corners of the region, their hearts filled with devotion, to pay homage to Lord Shiva, the deity revered within the temple’s hallowed sanctum. The air crackles with the energy of sacred chants and the rhythmic beats of traditional drums, creating an atmosphere of unparalleled spiritual intensity.

Located just 70 kilometers from Keonjhar town, Murga Mahadev Temple beckons pilgrims and nature enthusiasts alike, inviting them to experience the harmonious blend of spiritual sanctity and natural splendor. The temple’s serene ambiance, the cascading waterfall’s soothing rhythm, and the surrounding hills’ majestic presence combine to create an unforgettable pilgrimage experience.

Khandadhar Waterfall – Hidden amidst dense jungles, Khandadhar Falls emerges as a shimmering spectacle, a creation of the perennial Korapani Nala just a few kilometers from its source. Standing tall at 244 meters, it proudly claims the title of Odisha’s highest waterfall. Although accessible by a fair-weather road for 19 kilometers from Bonaigarh, the final two kilometers must be traversed on foot, a challenge that is quickly forgotten upon encountering the breathtaking scenery that unfolds. The arduous journey is amply rewarded by the majestic waterfall and the serene ambiance that surrounds it.

In the vicinity of this natural wonder, the local tribal communities revere Goddess Kanta, their devotion adding a layer of spiritual significance to the waterfall’s allure. For those seeking a more convenient mode of transportation, the nearest railhead is located in Rourkela, 104 kilometers away. From there, an all-weather road leads to Bonaigarh, where the final two kilometers must be negotiated on foot.

Khandadhar Falls beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike, offering a chance to witness the raw power and beauty of nature. The journey, though challenging, is a testament to the waterfall’s mesmerizing charm. The scenic vistas, the tranquil atmosphere, and the rich cultural heritage that surrounds Khandadhar Falls make it an unforgettable destination.

Badaghagara Waterfall – Nestled amidst a lush green tapestry of forest, Badaghagra Waterfall stands as a captivating spectacle, its cascading waters a symphony of nature’s artistry. Located just 10 kilometers from Keonjhar town, this enchanting waterfall plunges from a height of 100 feet, its grandeur a source of delight for tourists, picnic enthusiasts, and weekend adventurers alike.

The Badaghagra reservoir, constructed on the Machakandana River during the era of kingdoms, serves as the lifeblood of Keonjhar town, providing a constant supply of water to the community. This serene haven is not only a visual feast but also a treasure trove of exotic flora and fauna, offering a unique opportunity for nature enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world.

Beyond its natural beauty, Badaghagra Waterfall stands as a window into the rich cultural heritage of the region. The area is home to a vibrant tribal community, their traditions and way of life interwoven with the rhythm of the forest and the cascading waters of the waterfall. For those seeking a deeper understanding of tribal life, this spot offers a rare chance to observe and appreciate the unique customs and practices that have been passed down through generations.

Whether you seek the tranquility of nature’s embrace, the thrill of adventure, or a glimpse into the region’s cultural tapestry, Badaghagra Waterfall beckons with its captivating charm. Its cascading waters, verdant surroundings, and rich cultural heritage promise an unforgettable experience, leaving you yearning for more.

Sitabinji Fresco Painting – Along the banks of the sacred Sita River, amidst the picturesque embrace of sprawling mountains, lies the enchanting site of Sitabinji Fresco Painting & Rock Inscription. A magnificent stone structure, resembling a temple, stands tall at approximately 150 feet, captivating the hearts of visitors with its grandeur. This revered spot serves as a sanctuary for worshipping Maa Sita Thakurani, the presiding deity of the pitha, along with her sons Laba & Kusha, who have been venerated under the colossal stone temple-like structures since time immemorial.

Nestled within a rock shelter known as Ravan Chahaya, an ancient fresco painting graces the walls, its vibrant colors defying the passage of time. This exquisite artwork, resembling a half-opened umbrella, depicts the legendary battle between Lord Rama and Ravana, a testament to the enduring power of epic tales. Nearby, a series of rock inscriptions await decipherment, their enigmatic symbols hinting at a rich history yet to be fully understood.

The remnants of bricks and other earthen artifacts scattered across the site serve as tangible evidence of a once-flourishing civilization. These vestiges of the past corroborate the belief that this sacred spot witnessed the golden era of India’s Gupta period. Today, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) diligently safeguards this site, ensuring its preservation and conservation for future generations.

Located a mere 25 kilometers from Keonjhar town, Sitabinji Fresco Painting & Rock Inscription stands as a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance. Its serene ambiance, captivating artwork, and enigmatic inscriptions beckon visitors to embark on a journey through time, unraveling the mysteries of a bygone era.

Gundichaghai Waterfall – Embraced by a breathtaking natural spectacle, Gundichaghagi Waterfall stands as a cascade of enchantment, its waters cascading down rocky outcrops amidst a lush green forest. The waterfall, a vibrant part of the Musala River, plunges from a height of 50 feet below the river’s surface, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of mist and sound. The air is alive with the roaring symphony of the cascading waters, while the shimmering mist casts a veil of ethereal beauty over the surrounding landscape.

Like a silver garland adorned upon nature’s canvas, Gundichaghagi Waterfall captivates the senses, its cascading waters weaving a mesmerizing dance of light and motion. This enchanting spot, a haven for nature lovers, offers an unforgettable experience, leaving visitors with memories that linger long after their departure.

Located just 12 kilometers from Ghatagaon, Gundichaghagi Waterfall is a sanctuary of tranquility, beckoning those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Its serene ambiance, coupled with the captivating beauty of the cascading waters and the lush greenery that surrounds it, creates an idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Hadgarh Reservoir or Salandi Dam  – Graced by the majestic Salandi River, Hadagada Reservoir stands as a shimmering oasis amidst the picturesque landscapes of Anandapur Sub-division in Keonjhar district. This man-made marvel, constructed to harness the river’s power for irrigation purposes, has inadvertently transformed into a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

The reservoir’s glistening expanse, framed by the grandeur of towering mountains, creates a breathtaking panorama that captivates the imagination. The serene ambiance and the tranquil rhythm of the flowing water provide an escape from the clamor of city life, beckoning visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature’s embrace.

Throughout the year, the scenic beauty of the reservoir and the meandering streams that crisscross the landscape offer a variety of idyllic picnic spots. Visitors gather under the shade of towering trees, their laughter echoing through the air as they savor the simple pleasures of outdoor dining and bask in the warmth of the sun.

For those seeking a more active pursuit, the reservoir and its surroundings provide ample opportunities for exploration and adventure. Hiking trails wind their way through the verdant forests, offering glimpses of the region’s rich flora and fauna, while the gentle currents of the reservoir invite leisurely boat rides, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the beauty of their surroundings.

Located just 35 kilometers from Anandapur, Hadagada Reservoir serves as a gateway to a world of natural splendor and tranquility. Whether you seek a peaceful escape amidst breathtaking scenery or a thrilling adventure in the heart of nature, this enchanting destination promises an unforgettable experience.

Conclusion

A. Reiterating the importance of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in conserving biodiversity – Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a testament to the importance of conservation efforts in preserving the delicate balance of nature. Its diverse flora and fauna, coupled with its scenic beauty, make it a crucial component of Odisha’s natural heritage.

Within the sanctuary’s boundaries lies a rich tapestry of life, ranging from majestic tigers and elephants to vibrant birdlife and countless plant species. The sanctuary’s diverse habitats provide essential breeding grounds and refuges for these species, ensuring their continued survival.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary serves as a vital green lung for the region, contributing to the overall ecological health of the area. The sanctuary’s forests play a crucial role in regulating the climate, preventing soil erosion, and maintaining water quality.

B. Emphasizing the need for continued conservation efforts – Despite the commendable conservation efforts undertaken, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary faces ongoing threats, such as poaching, deforestation, and human-wildlife conflict. These challenges highlight the need for continued vigilance and unwavering dedication to preserving the sanctuary’s natural treasures.

Continuous monitoring and research are essential to identify and address emerging threats. Strengthening enforcement mechanisms and fostering community engagement are crucial to safeguard the sanctuary’s wildlife and habitat.

Sustainable development initiatives that align with conservation goals can provide alternative livelihood options for local communities, reducing their dependence on forest resources and fostering a sense of ownership in protecting the sanctuary.

C. Encouragement for responsible ecotourism practices to protect the sanctuary’s natural treasures – Ecotourism, when practiced responsibly, can contribute to the conservation efforts of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. By generating revenue, ecotourism can support the sanctuary’s infrastructure and management, while raising awareness about the importance of conservation.

Visitors can play a vital role in protecting the sanctuary’s natural treasures by adhering to ethical ecotourism practices. Minimizing waste, respecting wildlife, and staying on designated trails can all contribute to preserving the sanctuary’s pristine environment.

By supporting local eco-tourism initiatives and choosing responsible tour operators, visitors can ensure that their presence benefits the sanctuary’s conservation efforts. Ecotourism, when practiced responsibly, can foster a harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, safeguarding the delicate balance of the sanctuary’s ecosystem.

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a beacon of hope for the conservation of Odisha’s natural heritage. Its rich biodiversity and scenic beauty serve as a reminder of the importance of preserving our planet’s precious ecosystems. By continuing to advocate for conservation, supporting responsible ecotourism practices, and engaging in sustainable development initiatives, we can ensure that the sanctuary’s natural treasures continue to thrive for generations to come.

FAQs about Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary:

What is Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in Keonjhar district of Odisha, India. It was established in 1978 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The sanctuary covers an area of 191 square kilometers and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers, elephants, leopards, fishing cats, jungle cats, langurs, pangolins, wolves, and hyenas. The sanctuary is also a popular ecotourism destination, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing, trekking, and boating.

What is the significance of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is important for several reasons. It is home to a diverse range of endangered and threatened species, including tigers, elephants, and leopards. The sanctuary also plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region, helping to regulate climate, prevent soil erosion, and maintain water quality. Additionally, the sanctuary is a popular ecotourism destination, providing opportunities for visitors to experience the wonders of nature while contributing to conservation efforts.

What are the best times to visit Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

The best time to visit Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is during the dry season, which runs from October to March. During this time, the weather is pleasant and the animals are more active. However, the sanctuary is open throughout the year, and visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing and other activities even during the monsoon season.

How to get to Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

The nearest airport to Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is Bhubaneswar Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI), which is located about 130 kilometers from the sanctuary. There are also a number of train stations near the sanctuary, including Bhadrak Railway Station (30 kilometers) and Keonjhar Railway Station (40 kilometers).

What are the facilities available at Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

There are a number of facilities available at Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, including:

  • Forest Rest Houses: The sanctuary has a number of forest rest houses that can be rented by visitors.
  • Eco-Tourism Cottages: The sanctuary also has a number of eco-tourism cottages that offer a more rustic experience.
  • Watch Towers: There are a number of watch towers located throughout the sanctuary that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Interpretation Centers: The sanctuary has a number of interpretation centers that provide information about the local flora and fauna.

What are the rules and regulations for visiting Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

Visitors to Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary must follow a number of rules and regulations, including:

  • Stay on designated trails: Visitors must stay on designated trails and avoid going off-road.
  • Do not litter: Visitors must dispose of all trash properly and avoid littering.
  • Do not disturb wildlife: Visitors must avoid disturbing wildlife and keep a safe distance from animals.
  • No smoking: Smoking is prohibited within the sanctuary.
  • No alcohol: Alcohol is prohibited within the sanctuary.

How can I contribute to the conservation of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

There are a number of ways that you can contribute to the conservation of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, including:

  • Support local conservation organizations: There are a number of local conservation organizations that are working to protect Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. You can support these organizations by donating money or volunteering your time.
  • Spread the word about the sanctuary: You can help to raise awareness about Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary by telling your friends and family about it and sharing information on social media.
  • Choose responsible ecotourism operators: When visiting the sanctuary, choose responsible ecotourism operators who support conservation efforts.
  • Reduce your impact on the environment: By reducing your own impact on the environment, you can help to protect the natural habitats of the animals that live in the sanctuary.

What are the main species found in Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including:

  • Mammals: Tigers, elephants, leopards, fishing cats, jungle cats, langurs, pangolins, wolves, and hyenas
  • Birds: 156 species recorded from 56 families, including the Indian Grey Hornbill, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Common Kingfisher, and the Indian Grey Junglefowl
  • Reptiles: Snakes, lizards, and turtles
  • Amphibians: Frogs, toads, and salamanders
  • Fish: A variety of fish species found in the Salandi River and other water bodies

What is the vegetation like in Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

The vegetation of Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by its dense Sal (Shorea robusta) forests, which cover approximately 70% of the sanctuary’s area. Other tree species found in the sanctuary include Asan (Terminalia tomentosa), Bija (Pterocarpus marsupium), and Teak (Tectona grandis). The sanctuary also supports a variety of shrubs, herbs, and grasses.

Are there any endangered species found in Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

Yes, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a number of endangered species, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and fishing cats. The sanctuary also provides habitat for a number of threatened species, such as the pangolin and the Indian Grey Hornbill.

What are the main threats to Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

The main threats to Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary are:

  • Poaching: The illegal hunting of wildlife remains a persistent threat, particularly for species like tigers and elephants.
  • Deforestation: Encroachment and illegal logging pose a significant threat to the sanctuary’s habitat, impacting the survival of various plant and animal species.
  • Human-wildlife conflict: As human settlements expand into the sanctuary’s periphery, instances of human-wildlife conflict arise, requiring careful mitigation strategies.
  • Inadequate funding: Limited financial resources often hinder conservation efforts, making it difficult to implement all necessary measures effectively.

What are the conservation efforts being undertaken to protect Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary?

A number of conservation efforts are being undertaken to protect Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, including:

  • Anti-poaching patrols: Trained forest guards regularly patrol the sanctuary to deter poaching activities and safeguard the sanctuary’s wildlife.
  • Habitat management: Efforts are undertaken to maintain and enhance the sanctuary’s habitat, ensuring the availability of suitable living conditions for its diverse flora and fauna.
  • Community engagement: Local communities are involved in conservation efforts, fostering a sense of