Road trip to Chhotkei (Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha)

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We had been planning for a road trip before the new year set in. We zeroed in on the Satkosia Tiger Reserve situated in Angul district of Odisha to explore.

ABOUT SATKOSIA TIGER RESERVE

Satkosia boasts a diverse gorge Eco-system over the mighty river Mahanadi in Odisha, the largest river in the state of Odisha. It is a great place for nature enthusiasts to explore themselves. It is said to be a natural habitat to two of the most endangered fresh water crocodiles, the Gharial and Mugger and home to many elephants, leopards, deers and of course, the tiger. It took 30 long years for the Satkosia Gorge sanctuary and the Baisipalli sanctuary to be combined and renamed as the Satkosia Tiger reserve, owing to the presence of the animal, yet one needs to be very patient and fortunate to see the big cat.

We booked a private cab. It was a 165km journey from Bhubaneswar to Satkosia Tiger Reserve.

Satkosia has many nature camps and can be approached from different districts. The most popular destination is Tikarpada/ Tikarpara which is located approximately 58 km from the town of Angul. Angul is approachable from Bhubaneswar. the Capital city of Odisha either by cab, bus or by train. Our recommendation would be to travel in a private cab if you are a small group of 4. Nothing can beat the journey which offers a plethora of sightings for a nature enthusiast. Important tourist points within Satkosia Tiger Reserve on its northern side are Tikarapada, Chhotakei, and Purunakote whereas the tourist point of Satkosia Tiger Reserve on its southern side are Badmul, Sapapathar, Kuanria etc.

RIGHT TO ENTRY

Visitors are to obtain prior permission from Pampasar/ Chhamundia/ Kusanga tourist counter on payment of cash while entering into the Tiger Reserve. We did our online bookings for the place through the eco tourism website by the Government of Odisha which goes by the name of Eco Tour Odisha

A Tourist counter where you get your permits and other formalities to enter the reserve

We decided to stay at Chhotkei Nature Camps and had done our bookings accordingly. Chhotkei is the community run nature camp located on a hill top at 8 kms away from Purunakote, providing a scenic view of the Satkosia Tiger Landscapes.

The Road inside Satkosia Tiger Reserve

Satkosia Tiger Reserve Core Area Gate

Chhotkei Nature Camps, Satkosia Tiger Reserve

We had heard about the breathtaking beauty of Satkosia a couple of months back, and had been planning to visit ever since. We were really excited and anticipated a day of adventurous outing on the mountains where we would be staying in Swiss tents. There were no mobile phone towers, and without a car you would be simply cut off from the rest of the world and at the mercy of the people running the camp.

Satkosia is a beautiful place, there’s no doubt about that. The camp staff from the community camp of Chhotkei were very helpful from the beginning. We were treated to delicious meals which was said to be cooked with the garden vegetables and was cooked by elderly women in the villages. We could feel how fresh the vegetables were compared to the one we eat in the cities.

Lunch served to us at Chhotkei Nature Camp, Satkosia Tiger Reserve

We had our lunch and had to retreat to our tents for the rest of the day. Our main purpose behind the trip was to witness the stars and the milky way if we could. We had hoped for clear skies and voila, to our luck it was a clear sky indeed. We got to capture the star studded night sky.

Star Trail Picture ( 300 images stacked, captured over a timespan of 2 hours) by Abhijit Pattnaik

Photograph by Bhargav Mishra

Photograph by Bhargav Mishra

Photograph by Bhargav Mishra

The Swiss Tent, Our home for the trip

We had a good time indeed at this magnificent place. I would like to tell my fellow visitors to not litter this beautiful place and abide by the rules of the forest department and not give the authorities a hard time.

Akash Bhusan, Bhargav Mishra, Abhijit Pattnaik (L-R)

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