One of the undisputed favorites of Odisha and its people, Chilika Lake lives up to its reputation as the most picturesque spot and being Asia’s largest salt-water lagoon. While the lake is a beauty in itself, there are several places around its vicinity which are worthwhile to visit as well. Whether exploring few islands that have been untouched by time or spotting rare species in a particular location, the places around Chilika has a bit of paradise to offer every kind of visitor.
Listed below are certain destinations that are located in close proximity of Chilika, each offering a different kind of experience!
1) Kalijai Temple
This temple is situated right on an island where the presiding deity is Goddess Kalijai. If any day you are visiting Chilika and feel like having a religious connect with its surroundings, then we best advise you to visit this temple. What more, the localites strongly believe in this Goddess and every fisherman in Chilika bows down to her before setting out for their fishing activities. Besides regular days, it is during Makar Sankranti time, when the temple witnesses the maximum influx of visitors!
2) Nalabana Island | Nalabana Bird Sanctuary
Situated in the heart of Chilika, Nalabana Island deserves a special mention since it is a prime refuge point for thousands of resident and migratory birds. It got the status of a sanctuary in 1987 and sepcially acts as a treat for the bird-watchers during winter season. One can look out for birds like Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, White Bellied Sea Eagle and get delighted by watching them hopping on the water. The ideal time to visit the sanctuary is from October-March since during monsoons, the sanctuary mostly gets submerged under water!
Picture this. You are on a boat amidst a tranquil setting, calmly watching the sun getting reflected on the cool blue waters. And all of a sudden you spot one of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, making its way. How amazing the whole scene would seem! Now this is exactly the kind of moment which the lucky ones get to experience in Satapada. Positioned on the south-eastern part of Chilika lagoon, Satapada is also well known for the Sea Mouth Island where Chilika Lake meets the Bay of Bengal!
4) Rambha Bay
Rambha is an abode of natural beauty and is well known for the incredible landscapes around it. With many islands in its vicinity which goes with the names of Honeymoon Island, Sanakuda Island, Breakfast Island, Ghantasila Island, Beacon Island, Birds’ Island, the place and its surroundings truly add to the charm of Chilika. Then there are times when you can also get to admire the scenic beauty of rare Olive Ridely sea turtles nesting in the Rusikulya Beach near Rambha. Just in case you wish to stop by somehwere for a doze of relaxalation before or after the trip, then Rambha Panthanivas will serve you well!
5) Breakfast Island
As its name, the Breakfast Island is a unique place in itself. It is basically shaped as a pear and lies between Badakuda and Somolo islands near Rambha, as mentioned earlier. It was the King of Khalikote who constructed a bungalow right on the island, which is although in a dilapidated situation now but somehow mirrors the rich beauty of its yesteryear!
6) Honeymoon Island
One of the chief islands of Chilika situated along the Rambha bay, Honeymoon Island is surrounded by clear waters with natural habitats all around. Also known as Barkuda Island, the view of the water from here is breathtaking and one can also find a luxuriant bed of red and green macro algae growing in the place. Being well preserved, its key attraction resides in the limbless lizard, an epidemic species found especially on this island!
7) Birds’ Island
A perfect destination for ornithologists, Birds’ Island is yet another attractive spot for tourists. It offers a great opportunity for birdwatchers as they can spectate varieties of birds nesting in their natural habitat, that flock during the migratory season. A rare thing to be noticed are the huge white rocks nestled here, which are mainly due to the folic acid droppings by the avian species who halt in the island!
8) Rajhans Island
If you are seeking a quieter getaway on any weekend with the amazing sight of swaying casuarina trees and some relishing sea food, then Rajhans Island is definitely your best bet! Almost a virgin destination, you can stand and stare at its confluence of Chilika Lake and Bay of Bengal, for hours without getting disturbed. There’s much more than just this enchanting feeling; starting from dolphin spotting to taking a happy dip in the sea and thereafter gorging on the freshly cooked sea food offered in shacks, Rajhans makes up for an enticing spot!
Last but not the least, this one is another birds’ paradise which has been attracting a lot of tourists over the years. If you are a photographer who loves clicking varied wildlife in pristine locations, then do spend some time in Mangalajodi where you can get some wonderful pictures of birds. Every year during winters, the place is inhabited by nearly hundreds of species of migratory birds along with the residential ones, and the sight of them together is truly captivating!
After reading this, if you are all set to plan a vacation to Odisha, then make sure to include these scenic destinations in your itinerary. The places will certainly give you memories that can be cherished for long!