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Chilika Lake Tourism And Travel Guide
19.8° C / 67.6° F
October to March
1 to 2 Days
Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar (62 kms)
Balugaon Railway Station (53 kms)
Spread over an area of 1100 sq. km, Chilika Lake is the largest salt-water lagoon in Asia and is located south of the Puri district in the eastern coastal state Orissa. With a number of small islands present in the vicinity of the lake that are responsible for sustaining over 25000 fishermen, along with a significant influx of migratory birds and the resident wildlife population that calls this region home, this rich and diverse area was declared a Ramsar site under the International Ramsar Convention in 1981.
While the influx of nature lovers and bird-watchers is what truly drives tourism in Chilika Lake, visitors from all walks of life can enjoy the splendid ambience of this region and go back home with everlasting memories. Here is a brief travel guide to help you plan out a trip to Chilika Lake.
How to Reach
The closest airport where tourists fly in to reach the nearest town from Chilika Lake is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in the capital city Bhubaneswar. There is both public and private transportation available from the airport to reach any of the entry points to Chilika Lake.
The nearest junction that is accessible to and from Chilika Lake is the Balugaon Railway Station, which is located 53 km away. The station is situated on the Kolkata-Chennai line of the Southeastern Railways; any train passing through this line can be used to reach Balugaon.
Road travel to Chilika Lake is accessible through National Highway 5 for travelers coming in from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The visitors reach Balugaon first through buses or private taxis and can then take an auto rickshaw or another taxi to Barkul or Rambha. Satapada is accessible from Puri via buses; from Bhubaneswar, Satapada can only be reached via taxis.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Winter (October – February):
The most ideal time to be in Chilika is during the winter season. The maximum temperature ranges around 22ᴼC, with minimum rarely going below 7ᴼC. The migratory birds also visit during these months and make this region their temporary home. For bird lovers, there is no better time to take a trip to Chilika Lake.
Summer (March – September):
The summer season is not one of the best times to visit Chilika Lake, which lasts considerably long and can get quite hot during the peak months. The maximum temperature averages around 45ᴼC, which cools down to quite an extent when the South West monsoons arrive in the month of July. The annual rainfall received in this region is around 135 cm, with cool winds that blow in from the sea during the monsoon season.
Things to Do
The migration of winter birds from different parts of the world like Siberia, Iran, Iraq etc to this part of the state is truly the main attraction of Chilika Lake. Bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts flock to this region to witness the thriving population of hundreds of bird varieties and many other resident animal species.
Chilika Lake is accessible from a number of neighboring towns like Barkul, Rambha, Satapada and Balugaon. All these towns have boats available for hire – both private and OTDC – that can be used to reach the lake and the many islands around it. The boats are available in the 7-seater or 34-seater type, with visitors having the option to hire the boat on a personal or sharing basis. On a good weather day, drifting along on these boats is a brilliantly refreshing experience.
Watch the Dolphins:
The region of Chilika Lake is one of the only two locations in the world where Irrawady Dolphins can be observed. The town of Satapada is where most tours begin from; visitors can take boats from here to the dolphin spotting locations and enjoy views of the different dolphin species like the Bottle Nosed Dolphin and the White Nosed Dolphin apart from the Irrawady species.
What To Eat
People coming in to Chilika Lake are offered the luxury of enjoying the delicious sea food captured fresh from the lake and served in hotels and eateries in the area. A variety of fish, jumbo prawns and scrumptious crab are available across restaurants and shacks along the beach where visitors can enjoy a taste of the local cuisine. Do check out Chilika Dhaba, Narayani Restaurant and Sagar Fast Food for some amazing delicacies.