Chilika Lake Tour
Like a beautiful pendant , Chilika adorns the necklace of Odisha coastline. On the east coast of India it is one of the largest brackish water wetland of Asia . It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds found anywhere in the India Sub continent . It is a hotspot of biodiversity that shelters a number of rare , vulnerable and endangered species that includes the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins and the limbless skinks ( Barkudia insularis ) . The Nalabana wildlife sanctuary is located within the lake .
The lake is a highly productive ecosystem . With rich fishery resources , it sustains the livelihood of more than 2 lakh fishermen who live in areas near the lake . The traditional methods of fishing in Chilika as been Janao , Bahano , Dian , Uthapani and Dhaudi.
Based on its rich biodiversity and socio-economic importance , especially as an important water- fowl habitat , Chilika Lake was declared as a Ramsar Site in 1981.There are a numerous set of islands spread across Chilika Lake which include Mahisa , Berhampura , Nalabana , Kalijai , Solomon , Honeymoon , Breakfast and Birds islands.
Why is Chilika a RAMSAR site ?
- More than one million migratory birds visit here during winter
- It is a hotspot of biodiversity with over more than 400 species
- It is an Estuarine lake which supports a balance of marine , brackish and freshwater species
- Several endangered species are found here like the Irrawady Dolphin
- Supports fisheries which is a lifeline to a community of over 2,00,000 fishermen which contribute significantly to India’s international trade
Chilika and Eco Tourism
The vast diversity of Chilika Lake offers ample of scope for carefully planned eco tourism . The inviting islands of southern sector with vast stretch of blue water , the endless unexplored stretch of empty beach across the sand bar separating the lake from the sea , millions of brilliant migratory birds during winter , the Irrawady dolphins are some of the unique features of the lake and hold immense potential for development of eco tourism .
Places in Chilika Lake , not to be missed !!
Kalijai Temple : The temple is located on an island considered to be the abode of Goddess Kalijai. There is alot of history behind this temple .
Birds Island : This island is situated in the Southern part of Chilika Lake . Some of the rocks are painted in white color , which is actually the dropping of the birds .During winter migratory birds are sighted here in large number .
Satapada : It is located in the eastern part of the lake and is a day excursion from Puri ( 50kms ) . The major attraction of the lake is the Irrawady Dolphin, once found in large numbers but now is considered an endangered species. You can enjoy a boat ride here to see the dolphins and have a snack in one of the islands near the sea mouth.
Mangalajodi : These are also known as the backwaters of Chilika Lake . It has become a paradise for Bird Watchers now . Enjoy a boat ride on a canoe to see the birds from a very close range. Boats can be hired for 800 rs and accommodates 4 people maximum . Day tours to Mangalajodi run everyday , and is highly recommended in the months of December and January.
How to reach Chilika ?
- By Air : Nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar
- By Railways : The nearest railway station is at Balugaon . The railway station at Puri is 50kms away from Chilika
- By Road : National Highway no. 5 touches Chilika at Balugaon , Barkul and Rambha
Best Season to Visit Chilika Lake
We recommend to visit during October to February , to see the migratory birds
Where to Stay ?
There are not many options at Chilika Lake . People interested staying near Barkul or Rambha can stay at the government run Panthanivas , which can be found in places like Rambha , Barkul and Satapada .
People can also opt to stay at the beautiful Mayfair Palm beach resort after visiting the lake.