Every year, from October to March, the sleepy town of Barkul and its neighboring areas like Manglajodi Rambha, Satapada and Balugaon become a buzz of activity as people from all over the state and country –tourist, photographers, bird watchers, ornithologist etc make a beeline for Chilika Lake- the world’s second largest lake and largest on Northern Hemisphere . A sight to behold for all, the lake, which also happens to be Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, gets covered in a myriad hue of colors as thousands of birds descend to make the lake their home for the winters.
Located on the eastern coast of India and connected to the Bay of Bengal through a narrow mouth, the lagoon also houses several islands like Nalaban island, Honeymoon island, Breakfast island etc. The inhabitants of these islands are only the migratory fowls who come here from countries as far as Europe and Russia. The sole exception is the Kalajai Island, where a temple dedicated to Goddess Kalijai is located.
How to reach Chilika:
- Air: The nearest airport is at Bhubaneshwar. The distance from Bhubaneshwar to Barkul (Chilika) is 105 km.
- Rail: The nearest railway station is Balugaon, six km away from Barkul.
- Road: The distance from Vizag to Barkul is 342 km (6 hours) while from Kolkata its 543.4 km (roughly 12 hours). However, from Bhubaneswar it’s a two and half hour journey (103.5km) and from Puri it is about 2 hr 46 min (106.6 km).
Irrespective of whether you are coming by air or rail, you will still need travel a bit by road to Chilika witnessing the green tall trees and mountains .Hence, it is recommended that you rent a car or taxi for your drive to Chilika, if you don’t have your own vehicle.
Swosti Travels, one of the leading destination management companies of Odisha is one such operator who operates their own cabs. Customer comfort is of utmost importance for the company who having been in the business for more than a decade and know what exactly a customer looks for when traveling. All their cars (both exterior and interior) are completely sanitized, the drivers fully vaccinated and knowledgeable about the routes and destinations.Swosti Travels puts special emphasis on the safety of their customers as well as their drivers.All vehicles are equipped with first aid kit. They make sure that all their cars undergo a through safety check and their drivers and customers insured. For families with small children, baby seat are also provided.
To travel with comfort and convenience contact Swosti travels to book a cab to Chilika.
Things to do at Chilika:
Once you have reached Chilika in your Swosti Travels rental car, there are many things you can do there.
- Go Bird watching- Bird watching is a must do if you are visiting Chilika during the winters. You will get to see more than a 100 species of birds like flamingos, Mallard, Purple moorhen, herons, egrets, northern pintail, common coot etc. The Nalaban Bird Sanctuary on the Nalaban Island is main area where you can sight all these birds and take some photos of our winged friends.
- Watch the Dolphins – Chilika Lake is one the few places where you will find the playful bottle nosed Irrawardy dolphins giving you company.
- Mouth of the Sea- You can take a jetty from Satpada to visit the sea mouth where the lake meets the sea and enjoy delicious fresh catch of the sea
- Go Boating – A visit to the lake is not complete unless you have gone boating. Both private and OTDC boats are available for hire at reasonable rates and you can hire them on a personal or sharing basis. A boat ride on the Chilika Lake will take around 2-3 hours and will cover most of the islands.
- Pay homage to Goddess Kalijai – A 20 minute boat ride from Barkul will take you to the temple dedicated to the Goddess Kalijai. The goddess is said to be a wish fulfilling deity, so if you have any wish make sure to pay a visit. A festive look
- Try the Local Cuisine- Several eateries abound near the lake where you can savor delicious fresh sea food captured form the lake. Jumbo Prawns and Crab Curry are a must try.
Best time to visit Chilika:
October to March is the best time to visit Chilika when migratory birds from Northern Eurasia, the Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Lake Baikal and remote areas of Russia make the wetlands their home for the winters.
Accommodation at Chilika:
Chilika can be done as a day trip from Puri or Bhubaneswar. However, if you are planning to watch the sunrise and sunset or planning a photography tour it is recommended that you should spend at least one night for the best possible experience. Getting a place to stay at Chilika won’t be any problem as there are many lodges and hotels –from budget to premium hotels- that one can choose from. If you are looking for a premium hotel that won’t make a dent in your budget then Swosti Chilika Resort is a good bet.
So, if you are planning a short trip with family, do consider a tour to Chilika Lake. Not only will your kids love it, you will also enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. You don’t have to worry about accommodation, food or transport. Swosti Travels with their very own premier hotel –Swosti Chilika Resort and Swosti Car Rental Services are there to take care of all your travel needs.