Nestled on Khurdha uplands of' North -Eastern Ghats' biotic region, Chandaka forest, is a relic of wildland that once extended all over Bhubaneswar. Spread over 193.39 sq.km of rolling table land and small sprawling hillocks of Khurdha and Cuttack Districts, it is a wildlife sanctuary since August 1982. The sanctuary, literally abutting on the capital city of Orissa, is the pachyderm country. Originally established to provide inviolate refuge for elephants with a view to minimize their depredation, the sanctuary is now a treasure trove of biodiversity. It is now a popular destination for solitude seekers, hunt for eco-tourists, laboratory for researchers and temple of learning for all.
Floral diversity is distributed in 6 types, viz., secondary moist miscellaneous semi- evergreen forests, moist Kangada (Xylia xylocarpa) forests, Coastal Sal forests, thorny bamboo brakes (Bambusa bambos), planted Teak and Eupatorium scrub. Main tree species are Kochila, Kalicha, Belo, Kangada, Giringa, Sunari, Sal, Kumbhi, Jamu, Karanja, Teak and Sidha. Male bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) has a very restricted distribution. Common medicinal plants of the sanctuary are Duramari, Baidanka, Brudhadaraka, Bhuinlimbo, Guluchi lata, Salparni, Satabari, Bhuin-kakharu, Indrajaba, Thalkudi, Apamaranga, Kurchi, Patalgaruda etc. A few species of ground Orchids, Ferns, Club mosses, Bryophytes and Lichens are distributed in shady wet pockets and rock escarpments.
Elephant is the flagship species and indicative of the potential productivity of the habitat. Leopard is in the apex of biological pyramid. Chital, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Wild pig, Common langur, Rhesus monkey, small Indian civet, Common Indian mongoose, Small Indian mongoose, Ruddy mongoose, Pangolin, Sloth bear, Ratel, Indian wolf and Hyena are other mammals of the area. Wild dogs are occasionally seen. Prominent birds of the sanctuary are Peafowl, Red jungle fowl, Crested serpent eagle, Great horned owl, Black headed oriole, Paradise fly catcher, Coucal and stone curlew. Among reptiles, Rock python and Bengal Monitor lizard are quite common. Chameleon, Common skink, Indian flap shell turtle, Russel's viper, Bamboo pit viper, Common krait, Common vine snake, Kukri snake, Indian bronze back are indicative reptiles. Mugger crocodiles have remarkably adapted to large water bodies after their release.
Viewing anirnals unnoticed
While Kochilaberana, Pitagadia and Charichhak watch towers are excellent for observation of birds and animals, the ones at Kumarkhunti and Amblio have the comfort of rest houses where one can make a night halt and have a date with wild animals and birds without disturbing them.