Chilika lake is a natural wealth of Odisha, a state in India that enhances its richness by attracting beautiful foreign guests form of birds.
It attracts numerous varieties of tiny little birds to its ground.
The beautiful lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon globally.
The lake is also known for the most significant wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
Calm and Blissful
Looking at the blue water and listening to its sound puts our overloaded minds into a relaxed and hypnotic-like state, which helps our brain wrap up the overflowing thoughts into a calm and creative state.
Chilika lake can serve this purpose.
Watching the beautiful, colourful birds in their natural habitat is a treat to the eyes. I floated in this pristine lake this January 2020 to celebrate the new year with our tiny foreign guests who flew from long distances to greet us.
They taught me a few photography lessons as well; to capture them in my camera, I need to have a lot of patience and set my camera with fast shutter speed. Well, somehow, I managed to freeze some of them in my camera for a lifetime memory.
Islands To Visit In Chilika
- Birds Island
- Kalijai Island
- Brahmaputra Island
- Breakfast Island
This is a perfect destination for ornithologists to watch birds in their natural habitat and bliss for the bird watchers.
For me, the excitement about birds is year-round. Few things pull me out of a funk, like the sudden appearance of a flock of flamingos feeding in the water. As the boat stops a little far from the Island, I scramble for my binoculars to get a closer look, and as I turn the focus wheel, my cloudy, scattered mind refocused too. The Flamingos rewarded us by setting off a flight just like a glorious dream.
The Flamingos that migrate here are believed to come from the Rann of Kutch and Iran. It was a spectacular view to cherish.
This place is listed among the few designated bird sanctuaries under the Wildlife Protection Act. Nalabana is a big island in the centre of the lake where during the winters, a large plush of residents and migratory avians is a treat for the bird-watchers. It is the main Island where the migratory birds arrive. We spotted other resident and migratory species like Sea Gulls and Spot-billed Ducks here.
It is not advisable to visit the Island in the monsoon season as this Island gets completely submerged during the monsoon season.
Formerly, Manglajodi was known to be the poachers’ village since the village residents were utterly involved in the poaching activities. Still, later, in awareness, the village is today considered as a community which is owned by wildlife venture.
The community is supported by Mangalajodi ecotourism. Several waterfowls are sighted in Mangalajodi, especially the Northern Pintail, which is found bountifully there. The Northern Shoveler is another common type of waddling duck, which is often spotted floating on the salty water lake.
Pilgrims flock here to pay respect to the Goddess. It took us around 20 minutes of the boat journey to reach the Temple. As we were heading from the island, scores of seagulls accompanied us, pecking on the food thrown by travellers on the boat.
The ancient belief of the locals describes that a girl named Kali and her sister were drowned on the island, and the local folks used to hear their cries in the Kalijai Island area. But when the Temple has constructed, the sisters’ cries were no more being heard at night that proved some auspicious and sacred reasons for it.
The great part of this area is that a flock of peacocks roam here, mingling with the devotees. It’s a popular tourist destination and a famous picnic spot for nature lovers.
This island is ideally being treated as the residence of Goddess Kalijai. This location is close to Dolphin’s point, where the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and bottle-nosed dolphins can be seen. Chilka is one of the only two lagoons in the world where Irrawaddy dolphins can be seen. By taking an hour’s boat journey, you can spot dolphins swimming around the boat.
It is located 55 Km from Puri, and 120 Km from Bhubaneswar, this part of the Chilika lake is famous for the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins. These magnificent creatures make the adrenaline pump a bit harder with their breathtaking presence.
The sea mouth where the Chilika lake merges with the Bay of Bengal is a must-visit.
The ideal time to see the Dolphins is during the early morning hours when the hustle-bustle is a little slow compared to other times.
I will recommend not to stay here for a long time in the evening. The roads are lonely, and there are no hotels available in Satapada for a stay. You have to travel either to Puri or Bhubaneswar for your stay.
This place is known for its scenic beauty and serves as a great picnic spot for tourists. Sunrise and sunset are the best time to visit the Island. The picturesque scenic views are perfect for seizing in-camera. When the blue sky turns into a golden orange stretch in the evening, the lake appears like a beautiful painting as if a painter mixing the colour in his pallet to create beautiful scenery on the canvas.
Twenty minutes boat ride from Rambha will take the tourists to this unique island at Chilka Lake zone. The island is being named so since the tourists pack breakfast from the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation PanthaNivas at Rambha and have it here in the pristine surroundings.
Rambha is an ideal place to discover the famous Chilka Lake, and the location also brings frequent boat trips to visit the islands and watch thousands of birds.
We saw a large flock of flamingos, Sanderling, Black Kite, Sea eagle, and Falcon roaming in the Lake.
Best Time To Visit
One can visit Chilka Lake any time during the year except the monsoon. The period from October to March is the best time to see the migratory birds. India is a winter home for most Siberian birds, such as Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingo, and Demoiselle Crane, also numerous species of birds from other regions of the world. These beautiful birds migrate to India every year during the winter and summer seasons for food, breeding, and nesting.
Lip-smacking Sea Food
Chilika is famous for its pristine lake and bird watching and is well known for its lip-smacking seafood. Try out the famous crab curry. The flavour of the curry is simply mind-boggling.
Air: The nearest airport is at Bhubaneshwar. The distance from Bhubaneshwar to Barkul (Chilika) is 105 km. From Bhubaneswar, taxis, buses, trains are readily available to the lake.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Balugaon, 6 km away from Barkul.
Road: You can hire a taxi from Bhubaneswar to Chilika, it will take around 2 hours to reach the lake.
You don’t have to be an avid birdwatching enthusiast to appreciate the diverse bunch of feathered friends in Chilika. These little guys are a gateway to your happiness, so visit this place for a change and seize the stunning birds in your camera.