Chandaka Elephant Reserve
Located around 20 KM from Bhubaneswar, the Chandaka- Dampara forest range was once part of a huge forest stretching from the Eastern Ghats to Central India. It was once home to the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger, today the forest has lost much of its sheen including its king the Tiger but the flame of brilliance still flickers albeit in small packages reminding us of its glory days.
With Bhubaneswar becoming the capital of Odisha, the forest was under huge pressure to the burgeoning needs of the growing city especially for land and timber. Finally it was handed a small lifeline in 1982 ,when it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the State Govt, the forest cover now spread over approximately 193 Sq KM.
What was once a forest teeming with the Royal Bengal Tigers and Leopards is now designated as Pachyderm Country with Elephants being the principal animal of the sanctuary along with spotted deers and their elk. The forest is a good place for bird lovers, as the avian species keeps the brilliance of the forest burning still.
There are three entry points to the sanctuary- Godibari, Deras and Dampara. The Ecotourism department of Govt of Odisha maintains three double bedded rooms at Godibari,
In Deras and Dampara work is under way to set up bamboo cottages for overnight accommodation.
Godibari– The first entry point of the sanctuary, there are battery powered vehicles to take you around the forest and there are two resident elephants which provide much source of joy to children just watching them go about their activities. There are a souvenir shop and a café offering snacks also.
Deras– the beautiful irrigation dam makes this place along with the nearby Jhumuka Dam a must visit place and is ideal picnic spot. One can undertake a trek to the forest area and experience nature from close quarters.
Timings – The sanctuary is open from 9 am – 5 pm.
Indian National – Rs.40/- per person
Entry fee for Foreigners- Rs.1000/- per person
for more info log onto – www.chandakawildlife.in
( please note that one ticket per person hold good for all the three gates provided one is accessing them on the same day within the stipulated time limits of the sanctuary)
For battery operated vehicles – Rs.100/- per person for a 4 km tour of the forest.
Where to Stay
Chandaka is located almost equidistant from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and one has the option of staying at either of these places. However there is a eco tourism property at Godibari- which has three rooms- which vary in size- one is very small, other medium and the last one is quite decent.
For booking and tariff’s log onto the website –www.ecotourodisha.com click on Chandaka Godibari.
Email – email@example.com / Mgrkl.firstname.lastname@example.org
(M) – +91-7539821046 / +91- 9437279340
At Godibari– meal is served only for guests with accommodation.
One can arrange for a family picnic also with proper permission from Forest officials and enlist the help of the staff.For information on Chandaka Wild Life sanctuary log onto the website- www.chandakawildlife.in
At Deras-If one is in a spot of bother for the picnic arrangements, cooking etc, there is a shack at the entry point-Rakesh Snacks- the shop can provide all the requisite items from gas to utensils and even cook meals for people with prior bookings.
The proprietor of the shop is Mr. Rakesh and his contact details are – +91-9437978641, 8908123297, 9658338676
Timings & fee are the same for Godibari, Deras and Dampara There are no battery operated vehicles at Deras or Dampara.
The most convenient way to reach Chandaka is to get your own vehicle or hire a cab or an auto to reach the place.
If one is staying in Godibari, please ensure you have your medical kit, mosquito repellents with you.
Card facility is not available in any of the three points. Make sure you carry enough cash. Nearest ATM and Petrol Pump is at Patia, Bhubaneswar.