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Chilika Lake: 7 Things to Do and See, Dolphins, Kalijai Temple, and Garuda Chilika

Located 108 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar and 50 kilometers away from Puri, Chilika Lake is commonly known as a lagoon due to its shallow water that is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land, also known as a sandbar or barrier beach.

Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake

In this article, we will look at the best things to do and see at Chilika Lake, including the History of Chilika, How to reach, Kalijai Temple, Mangaljodi Village, Boating, the Chilika Garuda Cruise, and Water sports at Chilika Lake.

Chilika Lake is a saltwater lake, also known as a brackish water lake. A brackish water lake is a type of lake that has a higher salt content than freshwater lakes but is not as salty as seawater. Chilika Lake is a stunning natural wonder.

The lake is the largest coastal lagoon in the country, with a total area of over 1,100 square kilometers.

Chilika Lake is located in the district of Puri and is easily accessible from the capital city of Bhubaneswar.

The lake is a beautiful expanse of blue water, surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills. The lake is a haven for birds, with a wide variety of migratory and resident species.

Consider reading: 20 Must Visit Best Tourist Places in Odisha

7 Things to Do and See at Chilika Lake

There are several things to do at Chilika Lake, here are some of the best ones:

  1. Visit the Kalijai Temple: The Kalijai Temple is a popular attraction at Chilika Lake and is located on an island in the middle of the lake. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Kalijai, who is believed to be the guardian of the lake. Visitors can visit the temple and offer their prayers to the goddess.
  2. Explore the Mangalajodi village: The Mangalajodi village is a popular destination at Chilika Lake, and is known for its rich culture and traditions. Visitors can explore the village and learn about the local art and craft traditions, such as the famous Pattachitra paintings and the silver filigree work.
  3. Go birdwatching: Chilika Lake is home to a large number of migratory birds, with over 160 species of birds being recorded in the lake. Visitors can go birdwatching and spot a variety of birds, such as the Black-headed Ibis, the Bar-headed Goose, and the Greater Flamingo, among others.
  4. Visit Honeymoon Island (Barkuda Island): Honeymoon Island, also known as Barkuda Island, is a beautiful and scenic island located in Chilika Lake. The island is a popular destination for tourists and nature lovers and offers a unique and memorable experience.
  5. Visit the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary: The Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary is located on the banks of Chilika Lake and is home to a large number of Irrawaddy dolphins. Visitors can visit the sanctuary and watch the dolphins in their natural habitat.
  6. Water Sports at Chilika Lake: Swosti resorts have water sports facilities at Chilika lake such as Speed Boating and Jet Skiing for the rush, Kayaking for the sweat or going on the 40-seater boat rides for the views.
  7. Take Garuda Chilika Cruise: Take the Garuda Chilika luxury cruise run by Vikas resorts.

1. Visit the Kalijai Temple at The Chilika Lake

The Kalijai Temple, steeped in mythology and local lore, stands as a testament to the cultural and spiritual fabric of the region. Although its exact construction date remains shrouded in mystery, with no concrete historical records to pinpoint its origins, the temple is widely recognized as a centuries-old beacon of faith. Rooted deeply in community beliefs, it has been a pivotal place of worship across generations.

Kalijai Chilika
Kalijai Chilika

Perched on an island amidst the tranquil expanse of Chilika Lake, the temple is accessible only by boat, adding to its mystical allure. This serene locale, enveloped by verdant forests and offering panoramic lake views, presents a harmonious blend of spirituality and natural beauty. The temple’s architecture and setting not only provide a picturesque backdrop but also embody a sense of peace and sanctity.

The deity at the heart of this sacred site is Goddess Kalijai, revered as the guardian and protector of the lake. She embodies a potent force, and devotees hold a strong belief in her power to fulfill wishes. This faith is the driving force behind the temple’s popularity, drawing pilgrims from far and wide. They flock here, immersed in devotion, to offer prayers and seek the goddess’s divine intervention and blessings.

In summary, the Kalijai Temple is more than just a religious landmark; it’s a symbol of enduring faith and a sanctuary that intertwines the spiritual with the scenic splendor of its surroundings. Its significance extends beyond the architectural to the deeply spiritual, resonating with the devotees’ hearts and souls.

2. Explore Mangalajodi Village

Mangalajodi, nestled on the shores of the majestic Chilika Lake, epitomizes tranquility and natural splendor. This quaint village is embraced by lush forests and offers stunning views of the lake, making it a picturesque and serene retreat.

Mangalajodi Village
Mangalajodi Village

Renowned for its vibrant cultural tapestry, Mangalajodi is a hub for traditional arts and crafts. Visitors are welcomed into local workshops, where they can immerse themselves in the rich heritage of the region’s artistry. These workshops not only showcase skilled craftsmanship but also offer an insightful glimpse into the village’s artistic legacy.

A crowning jewel of Mangalajodi’s artistic heritage is the Pattachitra paintings. These traditional artworks, painted on cloth using natural dyes, are a testament to the village’s commitment to preserving ancient art forms. Each stroke of color and intricate pattern tells a story, rooted deeply in the local culture.

Another remarkable facet of Mangalajodi’s art scene is its exquisite silver filigree work. This intricate craft involves weaving delicate silver wires into elaborate designs, demonstrating extraordinary precision and creativity. These silver masterpieces reflect the dexterity and artistic flair of local artisans.

Beyond its artistic allure, Mangalajodi is a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. The surrounding areas of Chilika Lake serve as a sanctuary for myriad migratory birds. Visitors can embark on birdwatching expeditions to observe these feathered visitors in their natural habitat, enhancing the village’s appeal as a destination harmonizing culture, art, and nature.

3. Go Birdwatching At Chilika Lake

Birdwatching at Chilika Lake stands out as an unparalleled adventure for nature enthusiasts and bird lovers alike. This sprawling water body is a haven for over 160 species of migratory birds, turning it into a vibrant mosaic of avian life. The lake serves as a crucial stopover for these birds during their annual migration, drawing species from across the globe.

The experience of birdwatching here is nothing short of spectacular. Visitors have the opportunity to observe an array of birds in their natural setting, including the graceful black-headed ibis, the majestic bar-headed goose, and the striking greater flamingo, among others.

Winter months emerge as the ideal time for this activity, with the lake becoming a bustling hub for migratory birds. This period offers the most diverse and abundant sightings, making it a peak season for birdwatchers.

Exploring Chilika Lake by boat enhances the birdwatching experience, allowing visitors to navigate through different areas of the lake and witness birds thriving in their habitats. This journey not only provides close encounters with various bird species but also showcases the lake’s natural beauty.

Adding to the allure are the Nalaban and Mangalajodi Bird Sanctuaries, located within the lake’s vicinity. These sanctuaries are crucial for bird conservation and offer prime spots for observing a wide range of avian species.

4. Visit Honeymoon Island (Barkuda Island)

It is situated in Rambha Bay near Sankuda Island and is 5 kilometers away from Rambha Jetty. This land is also called Barkuda Island. Britishers used this land for picnic purposes. It is surrounded by clear waters with natural habitats all around.

Honeymoon Island Chilika
Honeymoon Island Chilika

The view of the water from here is breathtaking, and one can also find a luxuriant bed of seagrass. Dr. Anandale & Kemp recorded the limbless lizard, an endemic species from this island, in 1917, which was named Barkudia insular.

The lizard looks like a large earthworm, lives in the subsoil, and probably feeds on small arthropods.

5. Visit the Satapada Sanctuary – Chilika Lake Dolphins

Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary at Chilika Lake, located in Odisha, India, is a pristine wildlife haven and a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Renowned for its significant population of Irrawaddy dolphins, this sanctuary offers an unforgettable experience in the lap of nature.

Spread across approximately 160 square kilometers on Chilika Lake’s eastern coast, the sanctuary provides a safe haven for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. These dolphins, known for their playful demeanor and unique appearance, thrive in the sanctuary’s shallow waters, making them easily observable by visitors.

A highlight of the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary experience is the boat ride on Chilika Lake. This excursion not only allows visitors to witness the dolphins in their natural habitat but also offers breathtaking views of the lake’s expansive and serene landscape. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature and observe these fascinating creatures up close.

In addition to dolphin watching, the sanctuary is a hotspot for birdwatching. It attracts a diverse array of migratory birds, including species like the black-headed ibis, the bar-headed goose, and the greater flamingo. This rich avian diversity adds to the sanctuary’s allure, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

Overall, visiting the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary is a highlight of any trip to Chilika Lake. The chance to see Chilika Lake dolphins in their natural setting is an experience that resonates deeply with visitors, leaving them with memories of a lifetime.

6. Water Sports at Chilika Lake

For adventure enthusiasts; Swosti resorts have water sports facilities at Chilika Lake. You can enjoy speed Boating and Jet Skiing for the rush, Kayaking for the sweat, or going on the 40-seater boat rides for the views.

We recommend you inquire about water sports availability if you are traveling to Chilika Lake just for a water sports adventure.

7. Garuda Chilika: Take Vishal Eco Resorts Cruise at Chilika Lake

Vishal Eco Resorts Cruise at Chilika Lake offers a luxury cruise ride. You can book the cruise and enjoy it.

Chilika Vishal Eco resort
Chilika Vishal Eco resort

Garuda Chilika Online Booking

To book the Garuda Chilika cruise, please visit the Vikas Resorts website.

  • On the website, select the date for the booking and click on Book Now.
  • You will be shown the option to select the room type for your booking.
  • Confirm your booking after room selection.

Garuda Chilika Price

The cost of the Garuda Chilika cruise depends on the room type.

Room TypePrice in Rs
Garuda Chilika Price

The price of Garuda Chilika depends on the season and demand. In the off-peak season, you may get rooms at a cheaper price.

History of Chilika Lake

According to the Chilika development authority: it is believed that the pirate King Raktabahhu came to ransack Puri with a huge fleet of ships.

He anchored out of sight to avoid detection, but the sea washed up refuse from the ships on shore and warned the townspeople, who fled with all their possessions.

Raktabahu thus found a deserted city when he finally arrived. Furious, he insisted that the sea had betrayed him and ordered his army to attack it.

The sea entered the seabed in pursuit. Then it surged back, drowning the army and forming what is now Chilika Lagoon.

Many ancient texts mention the southern sector of Chilika as being a major harbor for maritime commerce, back in the days when the King of Kalinga was known as the Lord of the Sea.

Indeed, some rocks in the Southern sector are marked by a band of white formed by the remains of coral (which are exclusively marine).

This band is at a height of 8m above the current water level, a clear indication that the area was once marine, and the water much deeper than it is today.

How to Reach Chilika Lake

Chilika Lake is easily accessible by road, rail, and air.

By Road: Chilika Lake is well-connected by road and can be reached by car or bus from major cities and towns in Odisha. The lake is located about 100 kilometers from the capital city of Bhubaneswar and is easily accessible by road.

By Rail: Chilika Lake is also easily accessible by rail, and the nearest railway station is located in Bhubaneswar, which is about 100 kilometers from the lake. The Bhubaneswar railway station is well-connected to major cities and towns in India, and regular trains are available to Bhubaneswar.

By Air: The nearest airport to Chilika Lake is the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar, which is about 100 kilometers from the lake. The airport is well-connected to major cities and towns in India, and regular flights are available to Bhubaneswar.

Chilika Lake Distance from Major Locations

Let’s look at Chilika Lake’s distance from major locations:

Bhubaneswar108 KM
Puri50 KM
Konark90 KM
Berhampur100 KM
Gopalpur97 KM
Chilika Lake Distance from major locations

Best Time to Visit Chilika Lake

The best time to visit Chilika Lake is between November and February when the weather is cool and pleasant. The temperature during this time ranges from 10°C to 25°C, making it comfortable for visitors to explore the lake and its surroundings.

Thinking of staying at Chilika Lake? Consider reading: Chilika Lake Nature Camps

Chilika Lake to Kalijai Boating and Price details

One of the must-do things in Chilika is to go boating at the Chilika Lake to the Kalijai temple.

The moment you get down at Chilika, you will be surrounded by a lot of people forcing you to buy the Chilika boating tickets to Kalijai or dolphin watching. These people are agents who get commissions when they get customers.

Ignore these folks and head straight to the OTDC boating center. You will get the Chilika Boating ticket price at its true value.

For reference, the Chilika to Kalijai boating prices and Chilika dolphin-watching boating are as below:

Sr NoVisiting PlaceTimePriceBoat Capacity
1Dolphin watching1 hour9008 Adults 2 Children
2Dolphin watching, Sea Beach2.5 hours18008 Adults 2 Children
3Dolphin watching, heaven Islands, Mini Kalijai Temple, and Little birds2.5 hours18008 Adults 2 Children
Chilika Boating Price
Chilika Boating Price
Chilika Boating Price

Must Try Foods at Chilika Lake

Chilika is famous for its King Prawns and Big Crabs. The Chilika Dhaba, which is near Chilika Lake, is famous for its King Prawns and Big crab curry. If you are visiting Chilika, then make sure you try some local foods.

Consider reading 10 Famous Odisha Foods You Must Try

FAQs on Chilika Lake

  1. What is the total area of Chilika Lake?

    Chilika Lake has a total area of about 1,100 square kilometers, making it the largest coastal lagoon in India.

  2. What is the best season to visit Chilika Lake?

    The best season to visit Chilika Lake is during the winter months, from November to February.

  3. What is the type of water in Chilika Lake?

    Chilika Lake is a saltwater or brackish water lake, which is a mixture of fresh water and seawater.

  4. What are the popular activities at Chilika Lake?

    Popular activities at Chilika Lake include birdwatching, boat rides, visiting the Satapada Dolphin Sanctuary, and exploring the Kalijai Temple. Visitors can also enjoy the natural beauty of the lake and relax on the serene beaches of Honeymoon Island.

  5. Why Chilika lake is called a lagoon?

    Chilika Lake is called a lagoon because it is a shallow body of water that is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land, known as a sandbar or barrier beach. This sandbar acts as a natural barrier, preventing the lake’s water from mixing with the seawater. Lagoons are typically characterized by their calm and shallow waters, and they often have an opening to the sea, which allows for a limited exchange of water between the lagoon and the sea.

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