The Best Kept secret of India

School day’s General Knowledge was all about knowing, what was/is Largest, Longest, Highest, deepest etc. on similar lines, do we know or remember which is India’s Largest Salt water Lake? Yes, it is Odisha’s, “Oh! No” India’s best kept secret, why best? Because it is not only massive, but also magnificently beautiful, and so much to offer, yes, the answer is CHILKA….Chilka Lake. Chilka Lake, and Lagoon, in eastern part of Odisha state, in eastern India, It is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a narrow strip.

One of India’s largest saltwater lakes, it is 40 miles (65 km) long, 5 to 13 miles (8 to 20 km) wide, and about 6 feet (2 metres) deep. The Daya and Bhargavi rivers feed the lake except during the dry months from December to June, when saline ocean water enters through a small passage. Chilka was once a bay of the ocean until silted up by strong tides during the summer monsoon. Dotted with islands, it offers good hunting, boating, and fishing (crabs, Mackerel, and prawns). The lake is known as a sanctuary and winter stopover for migratory birds, some flying from as far away as Siberia. There are fisheries and salt pans around its shores.

Tourists throng the place in thousands, not only to get the glimpse of the migratory birds but also to watch Dolphins (a new addition to this scenic beauty), who keep popping up from the water, the lake is surrounded by mountains from three sides, it is a treat to the eyes, apart from being such a massive water body, it is also very clean, as there is no pollution in and around the water, one may hire a motor boat to travel across the lake, make sure you have enough time to travel across the lake as it takes close to three hours to reach the other end of the lake be rest assured that your cameras will have substantial content like the clean water, Dolphins, Mountains around you, Migratory birds, to captured for the memories.
One may enter the lake from Satpada (Puri side) or from Barkul (Berhampur Side), there are now good hotels to amplify your travel with local delicacies and stay, one can be rest assured of the scenic beauty around the hotel, the nearest Railway station is Balugaon, but the major railway station to reach Chilka would be Berhampur for people coming in from South or West India, and Bhubaneswar for people coming in from East and North. The nearest Airport is Bhubaneswar Airport, best time to visit this massive lake is from 15th November to 15th January.
The place is also a paradise for the food lovers, as it is home to huge range of Sea Food, one may expect all kinds of cuisine, like Chinese, Mughlai, South Indian and local Odia delicacies.
One may venture to nearby tourist attractions, like, Gopalpur at Sea, Konark, Puri and Bhubaneswar, all are just 60 to 90 minutes’ drive.
When travelling one may travel light as the place doesn’t need any winter clothes, but a pair of sunglasses and beach wear is a must, also ensure you carry an empty suitcase as you will be tempted to take back home so many local souvenirs, may that be, Applique work of Pipli, or handloom like, Sarees of various kinds, Berhampuri, Sambalpuri and Kotpad, Silver filigree works of Cuttack, Tribal Dhokra Art works, Patta Chitra, Palm leaves paintings, the list is endless so would be the memories.

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Please come with your family and friends and don’t wait, as people and the amazingly beautiful location of Odisha is waiting for you. 🙂

Rajesh Rout
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Rajesh Rout is a senior Corporate Trainer, Relationship Counsellor and Motivational Speaker. Having worked with a number of corporate houses, he is now a free lance trainer, providing trainings to various professionals and students.

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