Chilka Lake, is Asia’s biggest internal salt-water pond. Chilika lake Bird Sanctuary situated south-west of Puri a distance of 100km from Bhubaneshwar in Orissa. It covers an area of 1100 sq. km. is the largest salt & fresh water lake in Asia. Chilika is also known as ‘Honeymoon Island’ and ‘Breakfast Island’. It is a good picnic spot. In winter thousands of migratory birds of many varieties arrive here from the distant Siberia. One can visit Chilka Lake any time during the year except monsoon. The period from October to March is best time to see the migratory birds.
The Chilka Lake stretches across a length of 75 kms and a width of 15 kms. The area covered by the Lake is 1100 sq. kms. The stretch shrinks to 906 sq. kms during the summer. The lake is dotted with several beautiful islands. Some of them are Phulbari, Nuapara, Berahpura and Parikud. Among them, the Nalban Island is the biggest and most beautiful in terms of scenic beauty. The Chilka Lake is fed by one of the largest rivers of South India, the Mahanadi.
Chilka Lake is a paradise for bird watchers. The major birds of Chilka Lake are White bellied sea eagles, purple moorhen, Graylag geese, jacana, flamingos and herons. Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary is a habitant of one of biggest breeding places of flamingos in the world. It attracts a large number of migratory birds, like the flamingo, teal, bar headed goose, shoveller and white – bellied sea eagle. One can enjoy boating, fishing with 150 variety of fishes. Bird lovers can enjoy by visiting here in winter because migratory populations wing in from places as far as Siberia.
Apart from birds, Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary is a home of various wild animals as blackbuck, golden jackals, spotted deer and hyenas. Chilka Lake is very prosperous in aquatic species as its waters has about 160 various species of crustaceans, fish and many more marine life including the well-known Chilka dolphin. For the local people prawn, mackerel and crab fishing is vital source to run their livelihood and numerous fishing boats are seen in the lake to bring the day’s catch. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve has second biggest pachyderm numbers in India and the opportunities to see the elephants are very nice especially in the dry season.
other attractions around chilka lake
Kalijai Temple :
The temple is dedicated to Kalijai who is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Kali. The temple is located on one of those emerald green islands, that dot the lagoon. Interestingly, the depth of lake around the island is not yet known.
Nalabana : Another island in the cluster, Nalabana, boasts of a superb beach with golden sand and blue water. One can enjoy boating and fishing at leisure. A nice place to hang around, this island also has patches of green forests holding hidden ecological treasures in its pockets. Every year, the migratory birds compensate their stay by providing stupefying photographic safaris.
Cruise on Chilka Lake : To cruise on Chilka Lake as well as to visit discrete islands, motorised yatch and speed boat services are available at fixed rates from OTDC. You can also hire a sea kayak from Orrisa Tourism’s Water Sports Complex (WSC) to explore the Nalaban island.
Sea Sizzlers : Enjoy delicious sea food preparations in patta (leaf plates), here in Chilka. Satiate your taste buds with fresh Tiger Prawns, Red Crabs and other fish delicacies in food stalls set up by the locals.
Chilka Lake Accommodation
Numerous hotels, rest houses, villas and huts are dotted in and around the lake. Some places of accommodation are owned and managed by OTDC, while others are maintained privately. Moreover, at the southern end of the lake, there are tourist bungalows at Rambha and Barkul which is 6 km north of Balugaon railway station.
How to reach Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary
By Air: Bhubaneshwar airport is about 120 KMS away from Chilka Lake.
By Rail: Bhubaneshwar and Puri stations are ideal to take the trains from various cities of India.
By Road: One can arrive by road to Chilka Lake from various parts of Orissa.
Chilka Lake map[mappress mapid=”73″]