Reconnecting with the woods: Walkers trail Chandaka amidst its natural beauty

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Bhubaneswar: The inaugural journey of Chandaka Nature Trail, under Bhubaneswar Nature Walk, started today with a very enthusiastic participation of 45 walkers as they explored the forest trails of the Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary on the city outskirts, inside the famous elephant reserve, known for its elephants.
The nature trail, inside the serene forests of Chandaka_ often remembered as “the green lungs’’ of the Twin Cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar_ is an initiative of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) in collaboration with Eco Tour of Forest Department and Playbook Consultancy, will be conducted every Sunday at 6.30 am from Godibari Gate. Today, as an inaugural event it was held on Saturday.
Chandaka, nature’s wonder just a little more than 20 kilometres from the city, as per its Divisional Forest Officer Kedar Kumar Swain, boasts of an impressive collection of 730 species of plants, 39 species of mammals, 252 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 39 species of reptiles, 19 species of fishes and 7 species of invertebrates. With the river Mahanadi on its side, the scene inside the forest with numerous water bodies around makes the surrounding unique.
Secretary BDA Manoj Kumar Mohanty emphasized that tranquil forest surroundings are a blissful diversion from the bustling city life. Nature enthusiast Bhabani Shankar Chayani, Member Enforcement BDA, exhorted the participants to make such initiative successful in the long run. Senior officials of BDA Madhumita Rath and Mahendra Kumar Panda also took part.
Kedar Kumar Swain, DFO, Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, shared that Chandaka was declared as an elephant sanctuary in the year 1982. “Chandaka , a natural “carbon sink’’ has a rich history attached to it. The ruins of the Chudangagada and the remnants of the Gualigada forts inside the sanctuary are testament to it”, he added. Several other senior Forest officials led the two other groups.
Youngest participant during today’s trail, Pratham, with his parents Purnendu and Tandra covered the entire distance with the first group and found it very interesting. “I will tell my other friends to come to Chandaka with their parents,’’ he said.
“Participation of this little kid without any tiredness shows that the natural forests are really a rich source of plenty of oxygen and one can just inhale the quality air and feel it,’’ commented Bhabani Shankar Chayani, Member Enforcement BDA.
Participants from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and neighbouring region took part and interacted at the inaugural event. Hitesh Seth, a business man from Cuttack, came all the way to experience the nature trail and said “such exposures are like a breath of fresh air.”


Abinash Patnaik, another regular at all city-based walks and travel enthusiast, said “being a student of agriculture science I am always inclined towards the nature trails, but being so close to the city Chandaka and its type of ecosystem is different and I would love to come here more and explore it.’’
Before the trail started all the participants were shown a nice documentary by the DFO on Chandaka, its importance as a green corridor amidst concrete jungles and how to behave while inside the sanctuary as a walker/nature lover.
Official sources also added that in near future cycle tour/trails will be added in Chandaka and Nandankanan as part of the Bhubaneswar Nature Walk. During today’s walk people from all walks of life, i.e. nature lovers, students, housewives, government officials, academics, researchers, businessmen, consultants, professional photographers and forest officials participated.

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