It is a National Park and a Tiger Reserve established in the year 1980, spread across 845.70 square kilometer core area in the Mayurbhanj District in the Indian State of Orissa. Covering a mammoth 2750 square kilometer area along with the buffer zones, it derives its name from the abundance of Semul, or Red Silk Cotton trees that bloom vividly within these areas. These areas mainly originated as a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj is home to over 12 rivers and several waterfalls draining these areas.
The Simlipal National Park maintains a mixed vegetation of northern tropical semi-evergreen forests, northern tropical moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous hill forests, and high level Sal forests. It is home to over 501 species of plants belonging to 102 families, and over 82 species of orchids composing a colorful and aromatic attraction. Together with a variety of medicinal plants and vast grass lands they form an ideal habitat for a wide variety of wildlife thriving within this National Park.
The Simlipal National Park beholds a large population of 99 Bengal Tigers at the last count. Besides this sizeable number of Tigers, it is home to another 41 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles and 242 species of avifauna. The other major mammals within the Park include Leopards, Asian Elephants, Sambar, Barking Deer, Gaur, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Chital, Chevrotains, Wild Dog, Sloth Bear, Four Horned Antelope, Giant Squirrel, Langur and Monkeys. The reptilian population includes Snakes and Turtles along with Mugger Crocodiles that have survived and flourished well within this Park. The major bird species recorded in the Park include the Red Jungle Fowl, Hill Mynah, Peacock, Alexandrine Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Hornbills, Indian Trogon and Peafowl.
This Park is generally open for visitors from November to June. The Park is comfortably approachable by roadways network from the three Airports and Rail-Heads of Jamshedpur (140 kilometers), Kolkata (240 kilometers) and Bhubaneshwar (320 kilometers) which are surrounding to the north, north-east and south. Baripada is the nearest town and the closest Railway Station to the entry-point offering a variety of accommodation options for the visitors to the Simlipal National Park.
Gaur – Indian Bison
Gaurs, which belong to the Bovinae sub-family, are commonly found in the Simlipal National Park. Also known as the Indian Bison, they are found to inhabit the tropical Asian woodlands interspersed with clearings mostly within the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, & Viet Nam. They feed mainly on grasses, herbs, shrubs, & trees with a high preference for leaves. They normally bear one calf, or occasionally two, after a gestation period of 275 days. The lifespan of Gaurs recorded in captivity lasts up to 30 years.