Bhubaneswar, Nov 9 (Odisha.in) After a long monsoon break, Odisha on Friday opened the gates of Similipal tiger reserve which is also a national park to tourists and visitors.
About two dozens of tourists mostly from West Bengal were the first to tour the park on the opening day. Many of them had elephant ride, a facilities created for the first time by the park authorities.
“We have taken several measures to make the visit of tourists into the park comfortable and happy”, Regional Chief Conservator of Forests A.K. Nayak told Odisha.in. Simlipal is home to many Royal Bengal Tigers and elephants. Spread over 845.70 sq km, the park usually remains open for visitors from Nov 1 to June 15.
However it was shut for several months after maoists attacked some tourists at the park in March 2009 and blew up several forest offices, guest houses, and bridges. The park was however opened for visitors only in Dec 2010.
While only 12000 tourists visited the park in 2010, the number grew up to 14000 last year. This year the number may further go up during the Nov-June tourist season, Nayak said.
Park authorities have created two entry points one at Kaliani and another at Pithabata village where the entry gates would be opened from 6 am to 9 am daily. However only 60 passengers carrying vehicles would be allowed into the park every day on first cum first serve basis.