TREKKING IN ORISSA
WHEN TO GO IN ORISSA
Obviously though trekking is possible all the year round, each season has its own charm, advantages or problems of various nature, but as a general rule, it is possible to say that the best months are from the end of September to June-July. Concerning the trekking from a technical point of view, during the summer monsoon, the rain, although inconstant or for only a few hours a day, can create problems with regard to paths, fords, etc. In some years with exceptionally intense monsoons, many treks can be impossible. However the monsoon has its positive side, as it provides an abundant supply of water almost everywhere, and a temperature much less scorching than in the previous months (April and May), and also it is during the monsoon that it is possible to be present at some great Hindu or tribal religious feasts.
The dry season from March to May-June, is certainly the best time to see the animals in the jungle because lacking rain, the forest is less luxuriant and so inside, there is better visibility. Many animals gather near the few streams, wells, lakes or ponds. All places where one can hide and lie in wait for them, with a good chance of observing them. The biggest problem in these months is from the scorching heat especially in some interior area of Orissa, but in our trekking, we often shall be only a short distance from rivers, so that with frequent drinking and…a refreshing swim, we shall mitigate the thirst.
A great advantage of the dry season is the almost total lack of mosquitoes in the jungle so there is much less risk of contracting malarial fever.
However, for all seasons of the year, it is always strongly advised to take anti-malarial precautions. Warning: In Orissa, malaria is endemic in many areas, and chloroquine-resistant!
The winter months, roughly from October to February, are ideal months for those accustomed to European weather. During the day it is not too hot, and the evenings and nights during December-January can be very cold in the jungle (sleeping bags or blankets are necessary). Orissa, especially during December and January is a true paradise for many species of birds that come here to spend the winter. Some come from places as far as Siberia and for some months, they settle on Chilika Lake, a place unique in the world.
The nature lovers absolutely cannot afford to miss the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Pacific Olive Ridley turtles that in January-February come along all the Orissa coastal area to lay their eggs. This is something truly wonderful, because there are still very few places in the world where it is possible to admire this mass migration of an animal now in danger of extinction.