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A Trip to the Island of Chilika

by Madhav Srinivasan 1860 days ago

A visit to the Chilika islands is certainly a treat for nature lovers. The call of the birds, the beauty of the lagoon, the stunning visage of vast marshes and small islands make it a wonderful getaway.

The Chilika Lake is located to the south of Puri in Odisha. The lake, which measures around 1100 square kilometers, is the largest coastal lagoon in the country and the second largest in the world. The lake, which is a popular tourist destination, is home to a huge variety of birds, reptiles and aquatic animals. The lake is situated at the mouth of the Daya River and the sea water that flows into it makes the water brackish.

 


Chilika Lake has played an important role in India’s history. It was an important harbor and commercial centre during the reign of the Kalinga kings. Ships sailed out from the Chilika Lake to other parts of Asia including China and Java.


Things to See and Do at Chilika

The Chilika Lake is famous for its bird life and around 160 species of migratory birds wing their way to the islands during the winter season. These birds arrive from faraway lands like Siberia and Iran. During the winter months, the lake surface and its numerous islands are inundated with birds and the sight is truly memorable. This is among the best moneths tobook Orissa tour packages in India.


It’s not just birds that have shown an affinity for the lagoon. Its shallow waters teem with aquatic life. Fish, prawns, crabs, reptiles and mollusks love the brackish waters and the wetlands surrounding the Chilika Lake. One of the rare sightings at the Chilika Lake is the limbless skink. A part of the lizard family, its discovery in the sands surrounding the Chilika Lake brought much cheer to environmentalists. The Irawadi Dolphins playfully cavorting in the waters near Satpada islands present a wonderful sight.


The surface of the lake is dotted with several islands. The main islands include Nalabana, Malud, Honeymoon, Birds, Kalijai and Rijhansa. The Nalabana is 8 km in circumference and attracts the most number of migratory birds. The Kalijai Island is also an interesting place. The temple of the Goddess Kalijai, located in the island, is revered by the locals. A huge festival is organized at the temple on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. A visit during this time will familiarize you with the charming local customs and traditions. The Rijhansa Island is located close to the confluence of the lake and the sea and has a truly spectacular beach and is a popular place to take up honeymoon tours.


There is plenty to do at Chilika Lake including bird and wild-life spotting. You can hire a boat and go on a cruise around the islands. Most visitors also indulge in a bit of fishing.


Best Time to Visit Chilika

Chilika has a moderately warm climate. However, it’s best not to visit the islands during the monsoon season which lasts from June to September. Though the summer months are good to visit, the ideal time is winter when the maximum number of birds can be spotted. This is the time when the migratory birds arrive and thus the lake is truly busy at this time of the year. Another attraction is the Makar Sankranti festival held in January. A visit around this time will give you the chance to absorb the local flavor. In short, the best time to visit Chilika would be between October and March.


How to Reach Chilika

The nearest airport to Chilika is Bhubaneswar, which is at a distance of 120 kilometers. There are also good road links from Chilika to Puri and Cuttack. The nearest railway stations are Rambha and Balugaon.

 

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