Satkosia spreads along the magnificent gorge over river Mahanadi in Odisha. Established in 1976 as a wildlife sanctuary, Satkosia is a paradise of immense scenic beauty. One of the best ecosystems in the country, the tiger reserve represents a diverse floral and faunal extravaganza.
The name Satkosia originates from two words – ‘Sat’ and ‘Kosia’. Sat means seven and ‘Kos’ means length of around two miles. It indicates that the gorge spreads across 14 miles or 22 km.
The area was declared as Satkosia Tiger Reserve in 2007, comprising two adjoining wildlife sanctuaries; the Satkosia gorge sanctuary and Baisipalli sanctuary. The reserve is spread over four districts – Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh.
The reserve has an area of 963.87sq km with 523.61sq km as core area. The area is also a part of the Mahanadi elephant reserve. Satkosia is the meeting point of two bio-geographic regions of India; the Deccan Peninsula and the Eastern Ghats, contributing immense biodiversity.
River Mahanadi divides the entire area into two parts which are accessible from two separate districts- Nayagarh and Boudh. On the south of the river is a high range of hills and on the north are the mountainous parts of Athamallik and Angul sub-divisions.
As the gorge sanctuary is filled with a wide range of faunal diversity, you can enjoy:
• Sighting of wild animals and birds on Mahanadi river bank
• Rare strolling of tigers
• Basking of crocodiles – gharial and mugger – inside the sanctuary
• Sighting of rare and endangered aquatic birds
• Sighting of amphibians and reptiles
However, just by walking into the tiger reserve doesn’t guarantee a sighting of the big cat. A long term visitor is only rewarded with the sight of the majestic animal while sauntering through the deeply vegetated trail to the banks of Mahanadi.
However, it is a natural habitat to two of the most endangered fresh water crocodiles – gharial and mugger – and home to elephants, leopards, bisons, Sambar, spotted deer, mouse deer, barking deer, Chousingha, wild pig, common langur, porcupine, hare, civet cat, wild dog, wolf, hyena and many others. There are around 38 species of mammals, 161 species of birds, 27 species of reptiles, four species of amphibians and 183 species of fishes. As per a recent census, there are around 190 elephants, 17 tigers, 30 leopards and 80 muggers in the reserve.
You can easily come across basking crocodiles and have a glimpse of leopards, herds of deer and roaming of elephant herds.
The reserve is a paradise for bird watchers. The avifauna consists of resident and migratory birds. The birds include Eurasian golden oriole, common hill myna, oriental pied hornbill, chestnut headed bee-eater, purple sunbird, black-headed munia, white-bellied drongo, babblers, Indian pitta, common sandpiper, common snipe, rosy sterling, ashy minivet, grey-backed shrike, Asian paradise flycatcher, olive-backed sunbird, Bramhiny duck, wagtails, scarlet minivet, Indian pipit, leaf bird, red jungle fowl, grey partridge, changeable hawk eagle, pea fowl, parakeet, dove and pigeons. The aquatic birds like lapwings, jacana, river tern and kingfisher are plentifully sighted.