As the COVID pandemic stretches into the winter, one thing is becoming clear: 2020 is turning into a lost year for long distance travel. No matter how you look at it, travel has taken a nosedive in 2020. The few people who dared to travel did so cautiously, if not fearfully. But destinations abound for those willing to take a chance on travelling via road. That leads to the inevitable question: Where can I actually travel to? The most viable and attractive option is also the most simple one: Go Local.

Travellers can eye a whole new experience of Odisha as the State Government is all set to roll out a string of campaigns to boost regional tourism in the post-Covid era. The launch of ‘Odisha By Road’ campaign will see promotion of some beautiful yet not so popular places of attraction such as the magnificent waterfalls of Odisha.

Since people are less likely to travel by air or train during the Covid times, its good opportunity to travel through the beautiful roads that our state has to offer. As the holiday season of Christmas and New Year approaches, go on a journey with us and explore which waterfall can be your destination for a memorable end to 2020.

Tucked into dense forested vegetation, cascading into rivers and lakes, gushing down a mountainside into the plains or valley below, there is a wonderful prevalence of majestic, forceful and breathtaking waterfalls all around Odisha. Some of the highest and most scenic waterfalls can be found here.

At an incredible height of over 1,300 feet, the Berehipani Falls can be found within the tiger sanctuary of Similipal National Park in Mayurbhanj District. This two-tiered waterfall is one of the highest in India, and the highest in Odisha. An added attraction of visiting these falls that are surrounded by dense vegetation is spotting wildlife indigenous to the National Park. A special experience would be to marvel at this natural creation at sunset or to catch it sparkling in the moonlight.

Barehipani Waterfall
Picture Courtesy : Wikipedia

Deep into the core area of the Similipal National Park, situated within the stunning forest, rise the Joranda Falls. At a more modest 150 metres height, they drop sharply in a seemingly single stream to the valley below. The Devkund and Uski falls can also be seen within the National Park.

Joranda Waterfall
Picture Courtesy: @_im_subhadeep

In the Koraput district, to the south of Odisha, is the approximately 570-foot high Duduma waterfall. The surroundings are home to local tribes. Formed by the Machkund River, this horsetail type waterfall, also known as Matsya Tirtha, straddles Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Duduma Waterfall
Picture Courtesy: @_vacationer_

Khandadhar rises to a height of 801 feet. Situated in Sundergarh district, the environs are rich in flora and fauna. Originating in the river Korapani Nala, the waterfall earns its name from its sword-like shape. Khanda means sword and dhara means waterfall. To reach the falls, one must travel the last stretch by foot, adding to the sense of adventure. As a bonus, just 60 kilometres from Khandadhar is the Gudguda waterfall.

Khandadhar Waterfall
Picture Courtesy: @manoj_panda

A roaring sound greets you as you approach the gorge within which the Bhimkund waterfall comes crashing down. Located between the districts of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar, the area is attached to mythology and the epic tale of the Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas made this their home during exile.

Bhimkund Waterfall
Picture Courtesy: @i.satyam5

If Badaghagara, originating in Machha Kandana River, is the bigger waterfall, then Sanaghagra is the much smaller of the twin set of falls. Set in the Keonjhar forest, both have their own appeal. Koilighugar Waterfall in Jharsuguda, Phurlijharan Waterfall in Bhawanipatna, Nrusinghanath Waterfall in Bargarh, Pradhanpat Waterfalls in Debagarh and Phurlijharan Falls in Kalahandi are some of the others that dot Odisha’s verdant landscape.

Badaghagara Waterfall
Picture Courtesy: @TRAVELLER_BABU

About the Author:
Udita is an entertainment and lifestyle writer, film critic, festival programmer and author. Her contributions and critiques can be read in Mint, Vogue, Firstpost.com, The Hindu, Scroll.in and Hindustan Times, among others. She has authored two monographs in a series titled Women In Indian Film and is one of the contributing authors to Bollywood’s Top 20 Stars. An avid traveller, her last two trips were to Rajasthan and Sri Lanka. She tweets @UditaJ, IG: @Udita_J