The Special Ecosystem of Satkosia Invites You
The Roaring and Trumpeting Satkosia
The Satkosia gorge sanctuary is a special gorge ecosystem of India with colossal genetic significance and having a vast storehouse of biodiversity . The region north of Mahanadi is grouped under Chhotnagpur plateau and south of Mahanadi goes under Eastern ghats biotic region . Actually, Satkosia is the ideal specimen of a novel environment having the endemic life types of both the biotic regions.
The point of inception of the lifeline of Odisha (which is none other than Mahanadi) is close to Sihawa in the Amarkantak Hills of the adjoining Chhattisgarh state and the Mahanadi voyages an all out distance of 832 kms prior to draining out at bay of Bengal. The Satkosia gorge is located at the middle of Mahanadi in Angul district where the mighty river passes through the narrow pass between high-rise hills on both sides. On the Southwest border of Angul district, the mighty Mahanadi river runs for about 77 kms out of which the gorge is reached up to 22.5 kms or roughly 14 miles. Etymologically the name is derived from the gorge that has been formed as the river flows through the valley bounded by two ranges of high hills. The length of the gorge is Sata Kosa ( beginning from Binkei of Athamallik subdivision to Barmul under Nayagarh district ) where each Kosa constitutes two miles.In some places, the depth of the gorge is about 70 feet.
Satkosia gorge sanctuary spreads over four districts. Those are Angul, Cuttack, Boudh and Nayagarh. The total area of the sanctuary spreads over around 800 square kilometre. The northern portion of the sanctuary including Mahanadi river is managed by satkosia wildlife division with headquarters at Angul which covers an area of approximately 530 square kilometres ( lies within Angul and Cuttack revenue districts) and the southern part of the sanctuary spreads over an area of 270 sq. km approximately ( lies within Boudh and Nayagarh revenue districts) which is managed by Mahanadi wildlife division with headquarters at Nayagarh.
Biodiversity at Satkosia
Gharial basking in the sun
Elephant herd at Satkosia
Gharial basking in Sun in Mahanadi river bank, pc: wildlife odisha
Migratory birds at Satkosia during winter
pc: wildlife odisha
Mugger at Satkosia, pc: wildlife odisha
Wise age-old turtle basking in the sun, pc: wildlife odisha
The Satkosia gorge was primarily thought of as a very good habitat for Gharials ( a kind of nosed harmless crocodile )and subsequently for the protection of then declining gharials, it was proclaimed as a sanctuary in the year 1976. The natural vegetation of Satkosia is primarily tropical dry deciduous forest. Moist peninsular teaks are plentiful in Satkosia. The gorge is the traditional habitat of highly endangered gharial ( less aggressive than mugger) and mugger. Keeping an eye on the dwindling population of the gharials, the Government of Odisha took the help of the famous UNO crocodile expert, Dr. H.R. Bustard to set up and lead the Gharial Research and Conservation Unit( GRACU) at Tikarpada. The primary objective was breeding of gharial from eggs under artificial conditions and then releasing them from the hatchery in the Satkosia gorge. That’s because just after a decade of sincere rearing , the number of gharials surged ahead. Elephants, tiger, leopard, mugger and gharials are the forerunner animals of Satkosia gorge sanctuary and their populace shows an increasing trend . Keeping aside, 38 Species of mammals, 27 Species of reptiles,more than 183 Species of fish in the gorge , 4 Species of amphibians and 128 Species of birds( both resident birds and migratory birds) have been recorded in Satkosia.
( Source: Informations brochure of Satkosia Wildlife Division)
The sanctuary became ill famous because of the rehabilitation of the tigress ‘Sundari’ (brought from Kanha N.P at M.P aiming for successful breeding of tigers in wild) in Satkosia which didn’t prove fruitful.
Scope for Tourism
Boat ride within the permissible areas
The sanctuary invites nature lovers and eco tourists as well . Advancement of ecotourism is high in the plan of the forest authorities not exclusively to give a chance to the guests to broaden their educational horizons yet additionally to generate viable vocation alternatives for the neighborhood villagers .There are superb outing spots for daytrippers at different places inside the sanctuary especially Raigoda,tikarpada, tulka, sitalpani, sisupathar dam and so on .
A few of the exceptional attractions in Satkosia are the Bhimdhara and Satidhar cascades (close to Tulka), the Goddess Binkei Temple on the banks of the Mahanadi (8 km upstream from Tikarpada), and grand spots like Baliput, Baghmunda and Labangi. Deliberately built watchtowers at key points and salt licks help vacationers spot wild animals from close proximity.
Finding one’s way during nature trail amidst wilderness all-around
Diverse trekking trails have been developed inside the timberland and mountain. Parasailing ( with safety measures to get away from the Gharials/ muggers in the river if at all any untoward event happens ) and water sports facilities are additionally being coordinated to increase the footfalls of the tourists .
Several trekking routes particularly Hathibari to Kandhaida, Labangi to Tulka, Rasamda to Kuadoli and Tikarpada to Katranghat etc. have become exceptionally successful as an ever increasing number of tourists are opting for these routes.The narrow and deep gorge flanked by blue skyscraping hills on both sides, overlooking the crystal clear water of Mahanadi offers unmatched scenic beauty.The captivating sylvan beauty of the forests, the aroma of wild blossoms and the overruling quietness of the surrounding all combined mesmerise humanity.The boating and river rafting down the stream consistently remain in the bucket list of every adventure lover whoever is planning a visit to Satkosia.
What a blissful experience
country boats waiting for tourists
Gharials bred in captivity
Connectivity & Best Time to Visit
One can arrive at this place through multiple number of approach roads. it is 160 km from Bhubaneswar via Angul through National highway 42 . It is 30 km from Angul on State highway 23. The nearest railhead is Angul. One can reach satkosia too through Nayagarh, which is 87km from Bhubaneshwar. The best time to visit Satkosia is from october to february,when the temperature remains conducive at 15 deg to 22 deg celcious.
Accommodation & Fooding options
Nature camp at Chhotkei, Satkosia
There are three most sought after community run nature camps on the northern side( i.e. from Angul side ) namely Chhotkei, Tikarpada and Purunakote, whose room rents and fooding expenses taken together comes well within Rs 4000/- per person per day.Reservations for these can be made through the following website. www.ecotourodisha.com
The Divisional Forest Officer, Satkosia Wildlife Division, Angul, Odisha.
In addition to accommodation and catering facilities, optional activities, like boating along the Mahanadi river within the permissible area , escorted nature trail , bird watching are also part of the programme.
If someone wants to approach through Nayagarh ( southern side), there are also two most sought-after forest rest houses namely at Kuaanria( alongside the Kuaanria dam and deer park) and at Chhamundia , whose room rent and fooding expenses taken together comes well within Rs 2000/- per person per day. Reservations for these can be made through the DFO, Mahanadi Wildlife Division, Nayagarh,Odisha.
The responsible community led tourism in these sensitive areas are emerging as the best practices which proves mutually beneficial . The local community do understand that if the ecotourists will be provided optimum satisfaction staying confined well within the sound ecological practices, then the natural attractions prevailing in their native place can longlive and their means of livelihoods can be everlasting. Please never forget to share your thoughts in this regard..🙏🙏
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Dr. Manoj Mishra