16th January 2014 – We were getting ready for our trip to Varanasi. I and three of my fellow photographer friends had prearranged this trip since a month ago. It was almost midnight and just when we were done with packing our luggage, we came to know that our train which was about to depart next morning has been cancelled due to heavy fog. This news left all my three friends extremely heart broken because for this trip they had already taken their leaves from their work and none of them wanted those leaves to be wasted. I was the only jobless guy in the group and thus, my heart was quite unaffected ! 😀
We searched the IRCTC website to see if there was any other trains available and with no other alternatives, we had to cancel the trip. But, since none of us wanted to waste the weekend by staying back at home and watching tv, we decided to go for a short trip to a near by forest.
Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary (Located at Balasore,Odisha), being just a 3 hour journey from Kolkata was the only option we had.
This was my second visit to this place and I must say that this is one forest that I’d love to visit every year !
This beautiful deciduous forest (spreading across 272.75 square kms) with its hilly terrain is a great place for budding wildlife photographers and for people who love forests and adventures! From night safaris to forest treks, a visit to Kuldiha can be a great package full of thrilling experiences.
The forest houses a variety of wild animals like Asiatic elephants, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Indian Bison, Malabar Giant Squirrels, Sloth Bears, etc and also a variety of birds and reptiles. I was even lucky to spot the rare and elusive Indian Wolf when I first visited Kuldiha! (You can find the photo of the Wolf in my previous post on Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary)
There are two Government Rest Houses in the forest, one at Kuldiha and another at Jorachua. The Jorachua FRH is sort of a small bungalow with two bedrooms and one dining space. Usually you won’t find many people over here and hence, the ambiance would be much more peaceful. If I had to choose between the two, then I would prefer Jorachua over Kuldiha (but, the infrastructure in Kuldiha FRH is better).
A checklist of species that we spotted in this 3 days trip :
- Scarlet Minivet (Male and Female)
- White Rumped Shama (Male and Female)
- Indian Bison (Gaur)
- Malabar Giant Squirrel
- Asian Palm Civet
- Jungle Fowl
- Crested Serpent Eagle
- Plum-headed parakeet
- Red-Whiskered Bulbul
- Indian Peafowl
- Orange-headed thrush
- Golden-fronted Leafbird
- Bronzed Drongo
- Spotted Deer
- Taiga Flycathcer
- Verditer Flycatcher
Here are a few pictures that I took during this trip (18th January 2014 – 20th January 2014) and along with these, you will also find some amazing photographs taken by my friend Arjun Malhotra.
*At the end of this post, I have also included a few pictures that can give you an idea of the accommodation available at the Kuldiha FRH.