A small state in the geographical map of India, Odisha, is widely known for its natural beauty, cultural heritage and is no less important for a tourist from many aspects. Every nook and corner of the state is specific from different angles with splendid historical monuments, ethereal sacred temples, art, and artistic treasures. Some of the beautiful destinations present in different parts of the state are of paramount importance. The famous Black Pagoda or the Konark Sun Temple, placed in the seven wonders of the world, is situated in this very state. The Eastern Dham, known for the famous Temple of Lord Jagannath, considered the identity of the people of Odisha, is another attraction of this magical state.
Odisha is known to house a variety of ecosystems, since it is surrounded by different water bodies such as the Bay of Bengal, Chilika and the Mangroves of Bhitarkanika. Located at the mouth of River Daya, situated near Satapada, the Chilika Lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India. The Chilika Lake also recorded as Asia’s largest inland saltwater lake and the second-largest saltwater lagoon in the world was officially regarded as India’s first wetland of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention, in 1981. This amazing Lake spreads for about 1100 square kilometers and is an extension from Bhusandpur in Puri district in the North to the Rambha-Malud in Ganjam district in the South. The land between Chilika and the sea is fractured, allowing the Bay of Bengal to mingle with the water making it brackish. The 60-kilometer long fracture allows some unique fish to enter the lake making it an ecosystem, sustaining over 150000 fishermen and about 132 villages on the shore. The Chilika Lake Sanctuary, famous for the existence of amazing aquatic wildlife, also houses the Irrawaddy dolphins which are quite different from the other species of dolphins in terms of their color and the shape of their dorsal fin is less prominent.
Human beings travel to see new places, experience different cultures, and also taste great food new to their palate. In this course, we often forget that humans are not the only travelers in the world. Every year during winters, sheer exigency and yearly instinct, drive birds from the cold climatic areas such as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, the Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and South-east Asia Ladakh and Himalayas to the warm tropical regions of India. One of the best places to spot these migratory birds is the Chilika Lake Sanctuary. From among the many species, White-bellied sea eagles, Greylag geese, purple, Purple Moorhen, Jacana, Herons, and Flamingos make the lake a delightful place for the birders. Apart from the aquatic and avifaunal species, one can also spot a variety of wild animals such as the Golden Jackals, Hyenas, Spotted Deer and Blackbuck to name a few. The Chilika is much popular for its dynamic sunset and sunrise views. The vicinity of Chilika also has several attractive places such as Nalabana Island(the heart of Chilika, a prime spot for the migratory birds), Kalijai Temple, Satapada(ultimate place for boat rides and to watch dolphins), Mangalajodi, beacon Island and many other places.
Scores of tourists throng the world-famous Chilika Lake in Odisha to witness the wondrous views and the spellbound beauty. The tourists also get to enjoy boating and other recreational activities. The best time of the year to visit Chilika is from November to February. Odisha had been registering nearly 1.5 crore domestic tourists and about 1 lakh foreign tourists. Tourists domestic and foreign can reach this lovely place via flights to Bhubaneswar or trains to both Bhubaneswar and Puri and from here the road transport vehicles such as the cab and buses are readily available which safely helps them with the route to Chilika. To boost the water-based tourism, the Odisha government has decided to start houseboat operation in the Chilika Lake.
Describing the beauty of Chilika is beyond the poet’s poetry in an artist’s painting. Chilika Lake’s aesthetic surroundings create a feeling of heaven on earth in a person’s soul and mind. There are many places in Odisha which have not been marked in the list of world records but have a splendid attraction of their own. If a person is a nature lover and has the zeal to behold the beauty of nature, buildings, and temples, then Odisha has pretty much to offer to satisfy the person’s cravings.