Commonly known as a cluster of small islands, Chhilka is the lifeline of the Asia’s biggest brackish water lake i.e. the Chhilka Lake. Witnessing the opulence and natural beauty of this lake is indeed a one of its kind experience. If you’re a nature lover and want to escape the chaos of the concrete jungles, then Chhilka is a great offbeat destination for you. You can enjoy nature walks and witness the most surreal sunrise and sunset at the lake. Bird watchers and the wildlife photographers are most welcomed here as it has much to offer for them too. The lake becomes home to millions of migratory birds that fly here from Siberia and Iran during the wintertime every year. It is a delight to watch pink flamingos, herons, cranes and various other species of birds making this region- a hotspot for ecotourism enabling you to see some of the rare birds and fishes’ species.
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Huge dream-like Chilika Lake is in coastal Odisha, on the eastern coast of India. It’s the biggest brackish water lake with prominent estuarine environ sprawling along the coast and serves as the largest wintering ground for migratory birds, primarily waterfowls. This hotspot of biodiversity in the country, is the home to some rare, and endangered species as per the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals. This lagoon swells from 600 sq. km in summers to 1100 sq. km in the monsoon. A 60km long narrow strip of sand-flats and marshy islands called Rajhansa separates this lagoon from the Bay of Bengal. Chilika Lake is popular for the millions of migratory birds like herons, grey-legged geese, cranes and pink flamingos, which come here every winter from Siberia and Iran. These birds settle themselves in a 3-sq-km area on Nalabana Island. Along with those migratory birds, Chilika is also visited for nearby areas such as Satapada that has rare Irrawaddy dolphins, Rajhansa for pristine beach, and Kalijai Island temple.
Chilika is a pear-shaped lake dotted with a handful of small islands and the lake has many fisheries and salt pans on its shoreline. The lake also has the most adaptable ecosystems in the world and this accounts for a wide array of flora and fauna here. Flamboyant display avian charms is the USP of this lake. One can find them in all hues and colours, from the white-bellied sea eagles to flamingos, from golden plovers to sand pipers and much more The dynamic variety of birds here makes this place a paradise for any birdwatcher.
The enthralling views of sunrise and sunset adds to the beauty of Chilika. An array of migratory birds from far off lands like Iran, Siberia and Central Asia fly here as their winter stopover. One can spot graylag geese, purple moorhen, flamingo, Brahminy Kite, spot-billed pelican, bar-headed goose, open-billed stork, pintail, king fisher, Egret, Avocet, gulls, tern, herons and white-bellied sea eagles here in large numbers. Not to forget, the Chilika Bird Sanctuary is the abode to one of the largest breeding colonies of flamingos in the world. Wild animals like golden jackals, spotted deer, black buck and hyenas are sighted here. The aquatic basin here has more than 225 species of fishes, including Chilika dolphin. Chilika Lake is the most popular Eco-Tourism destination in Orissa.
The places to explore in and around Chilika are Chilika Bird Island – to witness birds in their natural habitat; Nalabana - a huge island in the center full of resident birds and migratory visitors; Kalijai Island - the abode of Goddess Kalijai, with her temple; Satapada - Island bounded by the lagoon on three sides, a home to the rare species Irrawaddy dolphins; Other islands, including the Breakfast Island, Beacon Island and Honeymoon Island are also popular attractions that tourist love to visit.
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