Chilika Lake & Sanctuary
Lake / Backwaters | Wildlife
At a distance of 44 km from Puri, Chilika Lake is Asia's biggest inland salt water lagoon situated near Satapada in Odisha. Located at the mouth of the Daya River, Chilika Lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and also the second largest salt water lagoon in the world after the New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia.
The lake is studded with small islands including the most charming Honeymoon Island and the Breakfast Island. Spreads across 1,100 sq. km, the pear shaped lake extends from Bhusandpur in Puri district in the North to Rambha-Malud in Ganjam district in the South, separated from the Bay of Bengal by a 60 km long narrow strip of marshy islands and sand-flats. The lake is an ecosystem with large fishery resources. It sustains more than 150,000 fisher-folk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands. In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The lake also acts as one of the most supportive ecosystems in the name of Chilika Lake Sanctuary. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. Birds from Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. White bellied sea eagles, graylag geese, purple moorhen, jacana, herons and flamingos are among the many species which make the lake a bird watcher's delight. Chilika, in fact, is home to one of the world's largest breeding colonies of flamingos.
Being richly famous for the presence of aquatic wildlife, Chilika Lake sanctuary also houses Irrawaddy dolphins which are different from the other dolphins as their color and dorsal fin being less prominent. Apart from the avi-faunal species, the region also highlights varied wild animals such as blackbuck, golden jackals, spotted deer and hyenas. Chilika Lake Sanctuary is favorably known for its dynamic sunrise and sunset views. One of the most famous tourist attractions near Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is Kalijai Temple, devoted to Goddess Kalijai. Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great pomp and cheer at the temple that attracts numerous travelers & devotees.
Chilika Lake is the most popular destination for eco-tourism in Orissa. Apart from having the presence of exotic wildlife in the area, the lake and its vicinity holds rich floral system with abundance of aquatic as well as non-aquatic plants. The recent environmental survey revealed the presence of more than 710 species of plants in and around the Chilika Lake. Such a huge variety of flora and fauna including numerous rare and endangered species of all forms has been the main reason for considering Chilika Lake as Ramsar site.
Boating at Chilika is one of the most popular activity. Chilika Lake can be visited year-round however the time from November to February is the best time to visit Chilika Lake. Especially, it is the season for migratory birds and hence it is even more exciting to explore this lake during these months.
Timings: 6 AM to 7 PM
Boat: Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3000 for 1. 30 Hr trip