Nestled in the Khurdha uplands of the northeastern ghats' biotic region, the Chandaka forest is a relic of wild land that once extended all over Bhubaneswar. Spread over 193.39 sq. km. of rolling tableland and small sprawling hillocks in Khurdha and Cuttack districts, it has been a wildlife sanctuary since August 1982. The sanctuary is pachyderm country. Originally established to provide refuge for elephants to minimise their depredation, the sanctuary is now a treasure-trove of biodiversity. The forest comprises sal, bamboo, maha limbo, cane and an array of plant life including the medicinal variety. The return of the leopard in 1991, which seemed extinct for long, further reaffirms the revival of bio-diversity. Animals: Elephant is the main attraction. Leopard, chital, barking deer, mouse deer, wild pig, common langur, rhesus monkey, small Indian civet, mongoose, pangolin, sloth bear, wolf, hyena and wild dog. Reptiles: Rock python, Bengal monitor lizard, Indian flap shell turtle, Russel's viper, bamboo pit viper, common krait, kukri snake and mugger crocodiles. Birds: Several migratory duck species such as garganey and common teal, pintail, spot billed and bramhiny duck, white eyed pochard, lesser whistling teal, cotton teal, lesser cormorant, bronze winged jacana, white breasted waterhen, pied, white breasted and little blue kingfisher, red wattled lapwings, open billed stork, pond heron and egret. Butterflies: Mormon, blue mormon, common emigrant, common leopard, common hedge blue, Indian crow, double banded crow, common sailer, common bush brown, grey pansy and peacock pansy. Ideal time to visit: The best time is between October and May, but one can go there anytime.How to reachRoad: Chandaka is about 20 km from BhubaneswarRail: Nearest railhead is Bhubaneswar on East coast Railway Air: Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar (20 km). Accommodation: Accommodation in F.R.H. at Deras and Minchinpatna available on prior reservation. Watch Towers at Ambilo and Kumarkhunti (two double bedrooms) available on prior booking to small groups not exceeding five persons for overnight stay. Bhubaneswar has a number of hotels. Contact: Divisional Forest Officer, Chandaka Wildlife Division, S.F.T.R.I campus, Ghatika, Bhubaneswar 751003, ph: (0674) 2472040; Tourist Office, Government of Orissa Tourist Office, Bhubaneswar, ph: (0674) 2431299; Manager, India Tourism Office, B 21, BJB Nagar, Bhubaneswar, ph: (0674) 2432203; or Officer, Bhubaneswar, DFO, Chandaka (W.L), ph: (0674) 2472040.