Chilka Lake - Home of Bird Population
Chilka lake is the greatest endowment that nature has bestowed upon Orissa. Chilka Lake is the largest brackish water lake in Asia covering an area of around 1,100 sq. km. Although in dry seasons, the area of the lake comes down to 906 sq. km. Formed due to the silting action of River Mahanadi, the lake is separated from Bay of Bengal only by a small sandy ridge. There are 52 rivers and rivulets that drain into Chilka Lake. Chilka Lake is dotted with some wonderful small islands that make the lake more picturesque. Nalabana Island, Honeymoon, Island and Breakfast Island are the most famous of all. He Island of Kalijai is an important pilgrimage place as the Temple of Goddess Kalijai is situated here. The temple is the venue of a huge fair that attracts not only locales but tourists as well. The fair is held on the day of Makar Sakranti which falls in the month of January. The pear shaped lake has the richest and most unique range of flora and fauna. For this reason, Chilka Lake was recognized as a Ramsar Site, which means it has been designated as a wetland of international importance.
Flora and Fauna Attractions
Chilka Lake is one of the largest nesting grounds for migratory as
well as residential birds in India. It also has one of the richest
bio-diversity as well. The Nalabana Island has been classified as a
Bird Sanctuary under the wildlife protection act. It is named as
Chilka Bird Sanctuary. There are more than 150 species of migratory
and residential birds here. It is said that, around a million
migratory birds nestled here during the winter season. If you are an
enthusiastic bird watcher, then winter season is the best time for you
to visit Chilka Lake. Many rare and endangered birds are also in the
list of birds that regularly visit Chilka. Migratory avi-fauna come
here from as far as Siberia, Afghanistan, Iran and Himalayas. Few
species of birds that have been found here are Flamingos, Egrets, Gray
and Purple Herons, Storks and White Ibis, Spoonbills, Brahminy Ducks,
Shovellers and Pintails. Avifauna is not the only type of life form
that you are going to see here. Chilka lake is equally rich in aquatic
life as well. More than 225 species of fishes have been recorded here.
Irrawady Dolphins are also found here which are the most famous among
tourists and kids.
Chilka Lake is also home to numerous aquatic as well as non aquatic plants. In a recent survey, more than 710 species of plants are found in and around the Chilka 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 Chilka Lake as Ramsar site.
Tourist Information on Chilka Lake
To enjoy the beauty of Chilka, one needs to choose the best time to visit the lake. It is definitely during the months of October to June. It is during this period that the arrival of migratory birds is at its peak. The nearest airport to the lake is in Bhubaneswar around 120 km away and the nearest railway station is in Balugaon and Rambha. Cruising in the lake is the most indulged in activity by the tourists. Take a boat ride to all the islands which is definitely going to be a wonderful experience.