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One of the largest lagoons in India, Chilika Lake is a rather large brackish water lake in Odisha. One of the most beautiful places to visit, it is a ground for migratory waterfowl. It is home to many kinds of animals that are vulnerable and endangered as well. This lagoon is not only a place to sightsee but also has its own legends that are intriguing. It is an old lake with signs that it was deeper than its current depth, which is 8 metres. The Chilika Lake is a place of great significance not only to the place’s history but its culture as well. It is a serene place to visit with your family. You can forget about all your worries and get lost amongst the many mysteries of Chilika Lake surrounded by your loved ones.

History Of The Chilika Lake

Bird watching in Chilika Lake

Image Credit: Government of Odisha for Wikimedia Commons

The lake of Chilika has a rich history in culture and literature. It is situated in the coastal regions of Odisha. Like other parts of India, Chilika was invaded by the British and thus captured by them. Fateh Muhammed secretly showed the way for the Britishers to reach Puri. In return for his services, he was granted freedom to rule over Malud and Parikud, now known as the Garh Krishnaparasad block.

The National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, found through a study they conducted that the Chilika Lake was once part of the Bay of Bengal. They believe that the Chilika started forming almost 20,000 years ago. The river Mahanadi had carried a lot of silt and dumped it on its delta. Once this rover met the Bay of Bengal, it formed sand bars near the mouth. This resulted in a backflow of the seawater, forming a salty lake. This lake has served people in many different ways. It acted as a safe harbour for cargo ships, setting sail to southeast Asia and other places. It has been a famous centre for maritime activities since before the commencement of the Common Era (CE). The port of Lakinga was situated outside the southern side of the lake, where many ships had sailed. The Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy often called the port ‘Paloura’. It is safe to say that Chilika Lake has more to offer than what meets the eye. A place with a rich history, it needs a visit on your trip to Odisha.

Must Read: Tourist Places In Odisha

Things To Do In Chilika Lake

Odisha is famous for its historical junctures and spectacular scenery. Odisha has a wide range of tourist attractions worldwide, from coastlines to pilgrimage sites. Nonetheless, the Puri Beach Festival and the Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath attract tons of crowds every year to this state

1. Savour Fresh Sea Food In Chilika

Fresh seafood in restaurants near chilika lake

Image Credit: Neha1209 for Wikimedia Commons

Multiple restaurants around the lake are well-equipped with the best foods for you to devour. If you ever visit Chilika Lake, trying their seafood is a must. There are a variety of things that you can try, such as jumbo prawns, different types of fish, and crabs. Some suggestions for you to try are Sagar Fast Food, Lake View Restaurant, OTDC Panthanivas, Chilika Dhaba, and many more places for lip-smacking food.

Key Attraction: jumbo prawns, different types of fish, and crabs

Timings: Usually from 11 Am – 10 Pm

2. Dolphin Watching At Satapada

 Satapada area in Chilika Lake

Image Credit: MKar for Wikimedia Commons

The Satapada is a famous spot for tourists wishing to see some dolphins, not just any but Irrawaddy dolphins. As time passed, the place grew famous for its dolphin sightings, attracting tourists from everywhere, eventually leading to the development of a Dolphin Sanctuary. It is one of the only two observatories dedicated to Irrawaddy Dolphins. You can also spot other dolphins like the Bottles-Nosed Dolphins, Common Dolphins, and White-Nosed Dolphins.

Best Time To Visit: All Time

Timings: From 6 Am in the morning

Suggested Read: Places To Visit Near Bhubaneshwar

3. Bird Watching At Nalabana Bird Sanctuary

Enjoy watching different migrated birds at Nalabana bird Sanctuary near chilika lake

Image Credit: Mike Prince for Wikimedia Commons

The Nalabana is an island on the Chilika Lake, home to many migratory birds like the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Black-tailed Godwit, and some regal flamingoes. These birds often flock to this island from colder regions such as the Himalayas, Iraq, Siberia, and Iran. The island is mainly submerged throughout the year, so the best time for you to visit to do birdwatching would be from October to April. This island was given the term sanctuary in 1987 in December. You can visit this place via a boat ride from Barkul, which can take up to a few hours.

Best Time To Visit: All time

Timings: From 5 Am in the morning

4. Boat Rides In Rambha Bay

 Enjoy boat rides in Rambha bay situated on Chilika lake

Image Credit: Mr. Debapriya Hore for Wikimedia Commons

Rambha is a collection of small islands with whimsical names that you would enjoy visiting like Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, and Bird’s Island. You can go for boating for hours without any interruptions. As you are boating, keep an eye open for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, which are extremely rare. It would be best if you occasionally visited Rushikulya Beach, where they nest and lay their eggs.

Best Time To Visit: Rainy season

Timings: 10 Am – 7 Pm

Suggested Read: Cafes In Bhubaneshwar

How To Reach Chilika Lake

You can reach this beautiful lagoon Chilika lake in multiple ways.

Image Credit: fir0002 for Wikimedia Commons

By Air

There are no airports near the lake, so visitors and tourists must travel to Bhubaneshwar first. Their Biju Patnaik International Airport is 130 km from the Rambha point, 105 km from Barkul, and 110 km from Satapada. Local buses or taxis can be hailed from the airport to reach the lake and enjoy some quality time with your friends and family.

By Rail

Again, like the airport, there are no direct trains to Chilika Lake and no train station nearby. You can take the route to the Balugaon Railways Station, the nearest junction from Chilika, about 50 km away. This railway line is located on the Kolkata-Chennai line of Southeastern Railways. Any train that travels on this line can reach Bulgaon and ultimately reach Chilika Lake. If you are coming from Bhubaneshwar, you can take the Berhampur-Vishakhapatnam-Chennai train route to Balugaon.

By Road

The roads are well-connected to Chilika Lake from various entry points, making a road trip a perfect getaway vacation for you. You can take a road trip from Bhubaneshwar or Cuttack to reach Balugain, which is a two-hour drive. People also take buses or taxis to view the magnificent lake. There is no one route for you to choose to travel on. You can take many routes to Chilika Lake, depending on where you are coming from.

Further Read: Wildlife Sanctuaries In Odisha

Now that you know much more about Chilika Lake before you start reading this article, you are equipped with everything you need to know to have a fantastic trip to Odisha. Please do not waste another minute and book your trip to Odisha to enjoy all that this gorgeous lake offers its guests.

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Cover Image credit : By Soumendra Kumar Sahoo for Wikimedia Commons.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chilika Lake

Why is Chilika Lake famous?

The Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest brackish lagoon located in Odisha, east coast of India. It has a rich biodiversity and a rich history that is culturally important. A beautiful place that is home to many species of birds and marine life.

What is the best time to visit Chilika Lake?

The months from October to March are the best time to visit this magnificent lake. It is host to many migratory birds, that often travel during the months of winter and take refuge in this lake.

What can tourists do in Chilika Lake?

There are several activities that tourists can enjoy during their visit to Chilika Lake such as Boat rides, bird watching, dolphin watching, exploring and enjoying local cuisine, and many more things.

Is there an entry fee to the lake?

Yes, there is an entry fee for all. There are multiple ways to pay, either you pay as you visit or you can pay for a package that includes multiple things for you to enjoy in Chilika Lake.

Are there any other tourist attractions that people must visit?

There are quite a few places that attract tourists in large numbers such as the Kalijai Temple, Satapada, and Nalabana Island which is a sanctuary for migratory birds during the winter.

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