BBC World Service - Outlook, India's amazing sand artist | | PRESS RELEASE

Nalabana (Chilika) Sanctuary

Chilka Lakes, Tourism in Orissa, waterfalls, boating, dolphins, Honeymoon Island

Chilika
Just south of Puri, the sea mixes with the 1100 sq.km inland Chilika Lake to create the largest brackish water lake in Asia. These shallow waters enclose an immense area of marshes, lowlands, and islands. It abounds with a variety of fish, crabs, prawns throughout the year and migratory birds make it their home in Winter (November through March).

This brackish water lake attracts around 150 species of migratory birds every year during winter and hence is a bird-watcher's paradise. It is an interesting world of around 158 different species aquatic & wild life including insects, mollusks, fishes, prawns, amphibians, reptiles, birds and animals. Limbless skink, a rare reptile which was discovered for the first time from loose soil, attaches much significance to this place.

The Lake is dotted with a number of islands. The Island of Nalabana, 8 km in circumference occupies a unique place in the vast expanse of Chilika Lake as it happens to be a sanctuary and the central refuge point for the migratory birds. Kalijai Island is the abode of Goddess Kalijai, venerated by the local fisher folks. This island plays host to a huge fair on 'Makar Sankranti' held annually in the month of January. The large fishing community adds flavor to the lake. Rajhansa Island near the confluence of the lake and sea (New Mouth) offers a fantastic beach. The Irawady Dolphins can be seen palyfully cavorting in the channels approching the sea mouth near Satapada. Some of the Islands bears romantic names like Honeymoon Island and Breakfast Island.

Chilika is worth visiting round the year.However, the winter months, when the air reverberates with the din of the birds, are the nicest times. Barkul, Rambha, Balugaon and Satpada are the bases for visiting Chilika, where boats can be hired.

Cruise on Chilka Lake:
To cruise on Chilka Lake as well as to visit islands, motorized and speed boats are available with OTDC and other private operators at above places.

Best time to visit Chilka Lake-Round the year