Chilika Lake

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2013

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Chilika Lake is about 40 kms from Puri. Very good and quick drive. Tourists have to pay for hiring of boats at a place in the village. In Dec 13 rates were Rs 1200, Rs 1800, Rs 2200/ depending on time spent. I opted for Rs 1,800/ - a three hour boat ride. I was amongst the first tourist to reach at 8 am. If you want a head shade, as in this boat, charge Rs 100 extra.

From where I paid money drive another 5 odd minutes to reach jetty. Boats run on diesel. U see boatman getting boat started. Chilika Lake is part salty, part fresh water. Also known as Honeymoon Island or Breakfast Island. It is said to be home to 160 varieties of fish and marine life.

View of boats and village. It was a lovely sunny morning, super weather. Excellent site on Chilika Click here

We had left the village. In front is boatman grandson who studies at a college nearby. Kept on speaking to me in English while I spoke Hindi. ''Flocks of migratory waterfowl arrive from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea, remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and South East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas, to feed and breed in its fertile waters.''

Chilika attracts birds from far and wide. U see some. ''The water spread area of Chilika varies between 1165 to 906 sq.km during the monsoon and summer respectively. A 32 km long, narrow, outer channel connects the main lagoon to the Bay of Bengal.''

U see me. Loved every minute of the boat ride. Water was cold and clean, weather super, gentle breeze blowing. I had never been to a lake as big as this so loved it. ''52 number of rivers and rivulets drain into Chilika Lagoon.''

In the centre of lake. ''Kalijai Island, Honeymoon Island, Breakfast Island, Birds Island, Nalabana (Island of Reeds), Parikud Island, etc. are some of the important and interesting spots inside the lake.'' I missed visiting these islands. Requires more time.

In centre is island. Nets that you see are placed to prevent weeds from growing in other parts of the lake. Saw these nets in many parts of the lake. ''Kalijai Temple is one of the famous attractions. The temple worships Goddess Kalijai.'' To know more Click here

This is the spot where dolphins are seen. U see tourists waiting. Advertisements show pics of dolphins jumping in and out of the water. Boatman said that dolphins were too heavy to do that, you see their head or face at best.

We now proceeded close to the point where the lake joins the beach. If you pay Rs 1,200/ boat does not bring you here.

Locals with their fishing nets. Orissa Tourism have two properties on either side of the lake - Panthanivas Barkul 06756 227488 and Pathanivas Rambha 278346. I did not see them though. Suspect taxi drivers take all tourists to the place where boats are booked.

Boat at the beach. There are a couple of restaurants here that sell sea food and beer. Walk for some 5 minutes to reach sea shore. Loved it. Wanted to go the point where the lake meets the sea but the boat guy said very strong current today, do not go.

Small crab found. All over the beach find them, they make small holes in the sand get in and out continuously.

This is a Red Crab on the beach. They get washed onshore continuously. Before I could click waves washed them away. Was lucky to get this one. These crabs are poisonous.

Pearl in Oyster. Man who sells sea food showed me this. Was willing to sell pearl for Rs 180/. To see good pictures of Chilika Lake Click here

On return there was a mid lake conference between these two friends. Man in lungi was taking a fish catch to the Puri fish market. I must confess that neither am I a bird or fish buff so enjoyed the lake from a boating perspective and spent 4-5 hours. Serious students could spend days there.

Back to village. By the time we returned there were large number of cars parked - virtually a traffic jam. Loved the 3.5 hours spent. Enjoyed every minute of it. To see pictures of fish etc Click here

10 kms from Puri is the heritage village of Raghurajpur i.e. famous for Pattachitra Paintings. To see pics Click here