5 things to know before you visit Chilika
You are probably aware of the fact that Chilika Lake is the Asia's largest brackish water lagoon and an impressive array of bird life, both native and migrant, makes it one of the best places in India for bird-watching, splashing around in the water and quiet relaxation. And you are planning for a trip to this famous lake listed in UNESCO World Heritage tentative list.
But are you aware that there are 3 entry points for this lake? Or do you know Satapada is home to the Irrawaddy dolphin? Or do you know you have to head towards Barkul in order to enjoy water sports? If not, please have a look at these 3 essential things you should know before embarking on a journey to this blue lagoon.
There are three entry points to this large lake - Satapada, Barkul and Rambha. All 3 places are well connected by road to Puri, Kolkata and Chennai through National Highway. Satapada is on the eastern bank of the lake is about 50 km by road southwest of Puri and at a distance of 100 km from Bhubaneswar, the nearest airport. A broad gauge railway line of the South Eastern Railway from Kolkata is present along the western bank of the lake passing through Balugaon, Chilika and Rambha stations.
In short, if you want to gain entry to Satapada, access it via Puri or Bhubaneswar. On the other hand, Barkul and Rambha are easily accessible through train. In the latter case, you have to get down at Balugaon station. Or if you prefer road access, you can access both the places by road via Puri or Bhubaneswar.
2. What to see & enjoy -
The atmosphere of Chilika is serene and undisturbed amidst the blue expanse of water on one side and an evergreen range of hills on the other. Dotted with a host of romantic islands, a cruise in Chilika will be a life-long memory. And if you are lucky, you can get a glimpse of playful Irrawaddy Dolphins. It will surely be the icing on the cake.
Do you have craving for water sports? If yes, you will be glad to know that Orissa Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. has formed a water sports complex at Barkul where sports like kayaking, canoeing and boating are available. Water scooters are also available in the complex.
3. Paradise for fish lovers -
If you are a fish lover, you will definitely enjoy your stay in Chilika. Different species of fishes are found in Chilika. And Chilika fishes taste good. What is more, a decade long survey undertaken by the Central Inland Fishery Research Institute [CIFRI] Barrackpore has found fish, crabs and prawn from Chilika Lake safest to eat as they are completely free from all toxicity.
4. Olive Ridley turtle sighting at Chilika -
Are you aware of the fact that Chilika is well known as a mass-nesting site for Olive Ridley Turtles? If you are visiting Chilika between Jan and March, do make a memorable trip to the sandy beach along the mouth of the Ruskhikulya River at a distance of 15 km from Rambha.
5) Where to stay -
Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), which operates the largest chain of hotel popularly known as “Panthanivas” in the state of Odisha, have one “Panthanivas” each at three different Chilika entry points mentioned above. Rooms can be booked online through https://www.panthanivas.com/. Several private hotels are also available.