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.
On your tour to the marine sanctuary at Gahirmatha, watch these marvelous creatures thrive while taking care to avoid disturbing the carefully reassembled natural habitat with your inquisitiveness.
Close to Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park that is the second largest Mangrove ecosystem in India and is known for its crocodiles, creeks and canals, and kingfishers.
On your tour to Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary, with Tourism of Orissa tour packages, you can also visit the nearby tourist attractions. The 9th century Lord Shiva Temple in Dangmal; Temple of Nahak Babu built in sandstone; Ratnagiri, Lailtgiri and Udaygiri Buddhist complex; or Chandipur Beach are the other prominent tourist attractions near Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary.
Easily accessible by air (Bhubaneswar, Kolkata), waterways (Chandabali, Ragnagar and Gupti) and rail (Bhadrak, Balsore, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar); you can stay at the many hotels and lodges around Gahirmatha Turtle (Marine) Sanctuary on your tour, arranged by Tourism of Orissa.