Bhubaneswar: If you are done with Mussoorie, Ooty, Coorg, Nainital and want to add an equally scenic, serene and sublime destination to your bucket list of hill stations, Daringbadi, known as the Kashmir of Odisha, should be your next holiday stop. Nestled in the lush greenery of hills, pine forests, plantations and waterfalls, this tiny underrated hill station at an altitude of 3000 feet in Kandhamal district of Odisha, has everything that makes it an ideal vacation destination.
Unexplored and untouched by commercial aspects of tourism, Daringbadi is the only place in Odisha where dew freezes to ice during chilly winters and gives the illusion of the valley being covered in a layer of snow. In summers, the cool temperature provides a soothing respite from the scorching heat, prevalent in rest of the coastal state.
This tribal-dominated area boasts of picture-perfect waterfalls such as striking Dasingbadi, Ludu, Putudi and Badangia, which are attractive picnic spots and photographers’ paradise, as well. Since, the picturesque places are located in dense forests, it is advisable to avail the service of a guide or localite.
Kotagarh wildlife sanctuary with its dense deciduous forests, replete with a diversified flora and fauna, Belghar sanctuary with herds of long-tusked wild elephants and emu bird firm are ideal for nature addicts and animal lovers, who want to immerse themselves in the wilderness.
Pine forests with towering trees, contrast of light and shadow, not only make for amazing backdrops for great pictures, but also have an ambience of stillness and quietude.
Daringbadi is also flanked by acres of panoramic plantations of turmeric, coffee and pepper, that are maintained by the forest department. Hill View is a park that offers glorious spectacle of sunrise and sunset and has a regular stream of visitors strolling along the pavements in the park.
Similarly, herbal garden, botanical garden, spice garden, are a few places to take a stroll and soak in nature. A butterfly park with a vivid diversity of flowering plants is also an attraction for plant lovers, though travel bloggers write that the best time to see colourful butterflies here is before 7 am.
Mostly, inhabited by tribes of Dongria and Kutia Kondhs, this area has over 200 churches dotting its picturesque landscape. A village of Dongria Kondhs in Belghar has been declared as an eco-village for promotion of eco-tourism in the area. These tribes are known to whip up a strong concoction of intoxicating Salap, made from juice extracts of Salap tree, also known as sago palm tree.
Apart from peaceful and breathtaking picnic spots at Doluri and Rushikulya river banks and tribal village excursions, Daringbadi is also a haven for hikers and road trips along the roads enveloped in luxuriant frondescence. Away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, with patchy coverage of telecom network and the electricity playing hide and seek, this beautiful valley sprinkled with icy white frosting is ultimate for vacationing during winters.