After exploring the Hirakud Dam properly, it was time to move on towards our next destination which was the Chilkha Lake close to Puri. We were feeling a bit sad that our journey was coming to an end and we would have to get back to our monotonous lives the next day.
But these feelings weren’t strong enough to demoralize me during the vacation. With a heavy heart, I was standing right in front of what is considered to be the biggest water lagoon having a water spread of 1165 sq. m during the rainy season and 960 sq. km during the summers.
There are many sand flats and marshy lands located in the 60 km long land that separates the lake from Bay of Bengal. The Chilkha Lake comprises of numerous islands in the form of Birds and Rajahansa, Breakfast, Honeymoon, Somolo, Kalijal and Nalabana. We could see that these islands act as homes for many fishermen in this part of the world. The islands are great spots for boat riding trips. In 1981, Chilkha got the status of being a Ramsar site so that its socio-economic status and bio-diversity can get better protection.
Chilkha Lake is regarded to be in the list of most famous wetlands across the globe. It acts as a home to a wide range of exclusive birds. One of the locals informed us that the time period from November to February is considered to be the peak season during which you can have a glimpse of 160 different species of birds. Birds like shovellers, flamingos, sand pipers, ospreys, sea eagles, gulls, pelicans, golden plovers and many migratory birds from Siberia, Central Asia and Iran can be easily spotted here.
We also visited the Kalijai Temple which is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in this part of the world. It is dedicated to Goddess Kalijai who is extremely famous amongst the locals and finds a mention their fables and folklores. We spotted many families and groups picnicking on the banks at various spots. We were extremely lucky that we could catch a glimpse of Irrawady dolphins dancing near the Satpada Island.