The 35 km Gahirmatha coast in the Kendrapara District of Orissa is also the nesting ground of the giant Olive Ridley sea turtles. By virtue of being one of the three mass breeding sites (arribada), Gahirmatha is also a world heritage site that you ought to visit especially during October – February season on your tour to Gahirmatha, Orissa.
This mass nesting beach of Gahirmatha was declared as a Turtle Sanctuary in 1979 after attempts to restore the ecological balance by declaring Bhitarkanika as a wildlife sanctuary in 1975.
Spread over an area of 1435 sq km, Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary has been a preferred place for the Olive Ridley sea turtles that travel across oceans from as far as the south pacific to breed on the sautéed sands of Gahirmatha. The Orissa state government along with the sincere efforts of international and regional NGOs has been able to create a safe habitat for the giant turtles to prevent their extinction. This has been possible by adhering to strict legislature that bans the fishing trawlers and clamps down on the nearby industries.
Once considered a delicacy by locals who caught the turtles that accidentally got entangled in their fishing nets, today their condition is slowly returning towards normalcy. You too can witness this revival of the Giant Olive Ridley sea turtles famous all over the world for their epic annual journeys through oceans to breed and recuperate.
Flora and Fauna: The Gahirmatha Turtle Santuary shows a great variety of flora and fauna. The major flora found in Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctury includes Bel, Terminenalia, Zizphus Bija, Salaia, Kauriculate, Casia, Helicteres, Hiwar Tendu, Palas, Dhawda, Sal, Babul, Species, Teak, Hair, Bamboo, etc.
Major Wildlife Attractions: The Gahirmatha Turtle Senctury is famous for the gaint Olive Ridleye, which travel from the Pacific Ocean to mate and lay eggs. The fauna in Gahirmatha Turtle Senctury is also quite remarkable. The most commonly found species include Olive Ridley sea turtles, Dolphins, Porpoises, Seagulls, Wild Boar, Barkin deer, Bear, Leopard, Crocodile, Jungle Fowl, Samber, Hyaena, Wild Dog, Chinkara, Four-horned antelope, Wildbore, Sloth Bear, Blue Bull.
Best Time to Visit: Every season in Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary has capacity to endow celebration of life. So Whether its Winter, Summer, Spring, Monsoon or any self induced season just come here and explore the celebration of Life.
How to Get there:
Air: The nearest airport to Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctury is the Bhubaneswar airport which is at a distance of only 75 Kms.
Rail: The nearest railway station is the Bhadrak Railway Junction. It is located some 49 Kms. from the Sanctury.
Road: Sanctury is well connected to major cities such as Bhuvaneswar, Bhawanipatna, Nowrangpur and many more.
Water: The Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctury can be reached by waterways from Chandabali, Ragnagar, and Gupti.
Olive Turtles, Dolphins