Gahirmatha Beach is a beach in the Indian state of Odisha. The beach separates the Bhitarkanika mangroves from the Bay of Bengal and is the world's most important nesting beach for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The beach is part of Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, which also includes the adjacent portion of the Bay of Bengal. Odisha coast has the world's largest known rookery of Olive Ridley sea turtle. Apart from Gahirmatha rookery, two other mass nesting beaches have been located which are on the mouth of rivers Rushikulya and Devi. The spectacular site of mass congregation of Olive Ridley sea turtles for mating and nesting enthrals both the scientists and the nature lovers throughout the world. An event that took place in April 2017 validates this phenomenon. In this month, it was reported by forest officials that at least 2 lakh baby Olive Ridley turtles have come out of their pits within a span of 24 hours.
Gahirmatha is the only marine wildlife sanctuary of Odisha. This was notified as such in Government of Odisha, Forest & Environment Department Notification No. 18805/ F&E dated 27 September 1997 and published in the Odisha Gazette, extraordinary No. 1268 dated 17 October 1997.The total area of the sanctuary is 1435.0 km sq. which includes 1408.0 km sq. of water body and 27.0 km sq. of land mass including reserve forests, mud flats and accreted sand bars. Core area of the sanctuary consists of 725.50 km sq. and the buffer zone accounts for 709.50 km sq. The entire sanctuary area comes within the revenue district of Kendrapara. Olive Ridley sea turtles migrate in huge numbers from the beginning of November, every year, for mating and nesting along the coast of Odisha. Gahirmatha coast has the annual nesting figure between one hundred to five hundred thousand, each year.
Best time to visit: Oct-Feb
Open Time: 7Am-5Pm
Popular Cuisine: Local Food
Attractions: Olive Ridley sea turtles, Gahirmatha beach, Terminenalia, Zizphus Bija, Salaia, Sal, Babul, Teak
Nearest Bus Stop: Kendrapara
Nearest Railway Station: Bhadrak
Travel Options: Taxi, Bus, Train
Nearest town: Kendrapara
Distance from Bhubaneswar: 132 km