It was the month of April. I was in BTech last semester. I was not so happy to leave the college where I studied and made many friends. Everybody was in a mood of celebration and tried to enjoy as much time with each other as once out of college we would hardly meet each other. I was just back from a trip to SAPTASAJYA.

We randomly decided to go on a trip to Bhitarakanika Wild   Life Sanctuary famous for Crocodiles. Without any prior information on our hand we set out, though it was not the right time to go there.

In the estuary of Brahmani river covering an area of 672 sq.kms. the marine sanctuary was established in 1975. Situated at a distance of about 35 kms from Chandabali, Bhatarakanika sanctuary comes around Baitarani river. It is home to a large no of salt water crocodiles. The forest of Bhitarakanika is like the Sunderbans and consists mainly of mangroves.

However, we were 10 people on 5 bikes and started from Cuttack. At morning there was a little shower and it provided some relief from the scorching heat of sun. Till 2 PM we had already reached near Bhitarakanika outskirts. But there started the real adventure. The soil structure of Bhitarakanika is quite different from what we get to see in other coastal areas of Orissa. In between our journey we again had a little shower which made the soil so moist that we found it hard to drive any more. Mud slipped into the tyres and blocked the gaps making it difficult for the tyres to roll. However, we put aside the bikes and searched for shelter. The local people were cordial enough to help us. They were perhaps migrants what seemed from their language. We spent the night in one of the huts. We even had a delicious meal of rice and chicken cooked by some of my friends. All the stuffs came from the locals. We din’t have much sleep that night as everybody was excited and spent talking their own adventurous stories.

The next day we reached the Bhitarakanika wild life sanctuary. And only after we reached there, we got to know that we have chosen a wrong time to visit this place as the right time is in winters when crocodiles come out of the water to spwnd time in sun. But it was not enough to bring down the excitement though we were disappointed a bit. We arranged a BHUTBHUTI ( motor boat ) and set out.
The boat driver doubled up as a guide and started describing about the place. We all tried to pile up under the small roof of the boat to avoid the sun. After sailing for almost 2 hours we reached the Dangamala Crocodile rearing and rehabilitation center. There were cages to shelter newly born hatchlings. We got to see only two of them.  We found two ponds there which had one crocodile in each.

This was the first time that I got to see the crocodiles and it was a memory of life time for me. To add more to my excitement one of the ponds contained a large white crocodile and this is the prized possession of the farm. The other one was 30 years old.

We then moved on to the mangrove forest of Bhitarakanika. This forest shelters spotted deers, rhesus monkeys, pythons, king cobras, wild boars and different species of birds.  The number of Crocodiles is estimated to be around 1500 in the region. We were exhausted after the day long journey and decided to come back. But I was still longing for more.

While coming back in boat I noticed something moving around at the bank of the river and asked my friends to have a look. At first it seemed to be a crocodile but when we went a little closer, it started moving and I immediately found it to be a Komodo Dragon. The large size of it created an impression of crocodile. It was unmoved by our approach and stayed there for a long time.

We had to cancel the trip to Gahirmatha due to lack of time and preparation. So we came back from there with tons of memory to cherish all through our lives.

The crocodiles of Bhitarakanika have made us proud but due to lack of proper road communication, lodging facilities and faulty conservation policy the spot still remains out of reach for wild life lovers.

The images are not mine and collected them from the following resources to whom I remain grateful.