The Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary located in Puri, Odisha, is considered as one of the most charming and blessed wildlife sanctuaries of the state owing to the grandeur of its diverse and rich variety of flora and fauna. The wildlife sanctuary is also known as Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary as the area is blessed to have numerous local and migratory avifauna which attracts tourists from all over the country to the banks of Chilika Lake which is expanded from Bhusandpur town in Puri district to Rambha-Malud town of Ganjam district in the south. It is here that people find themselves at peace and become one with the exquisite surroundings that nature has prospered them with.
Spread over in an area of 1100 square kilometers, the Chilika Lake is India’s largest and the world’s second-largest saltwater lake. The area comprises many big and small islands that reside on this lake out of which Snack Island and Honeymoon Island are the major appealing spots. Several exotic migratory and local birds call this sanctuary their home, some of which include the flamingo, white-bellied sea eagle, spot-Bellied pelican, stilt, shoveler, ibis, heron, and much more. Apart from the birds, the sanctuary has an abundance of aquatic life which consists of dolphins, prawns, crabs, limbless, etc., along with 225 species of fish. On the ground, the sanctuary also delights the visitors with numerous wildlife species such as blackbucks, spotted deer, jackals, hyenas, etc. With all these assorted and beautiful flora and fauna that the wildlife sanctuary is endowed with, it is no surprise that it is considered blessed.
Chilika Lake was notified as India’s first wetland area under the Ramsar Convention held in 1981. The flora of the wildlife sanctuary comprises forests covered completely with reeds which play a vital role in enticing a diverse species of migrant birds. The flora here also comprises 726 flowering plants that belong mainly to the aquatic and sub-aquatic categories. The lake is surrounded by over 132 villages and the livelihood of these villagers is totally dependent on this lake. Boating is one of the major activities that is conducted here and visitors can take the pleasure of exploring the lake and its vibrant avifauna and aquatic life through a boat ride. The lake is one of the largest breeding places for stunning migratory birds like flamingos and the sanctuary becomes no less than a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts or bird lovers, particularly during the winters, with colorful birds gracing the lake as well as the bright blue sky. Don’t miss the chance to go to Satpada, the famous spot where Dolphins are spotted frequently.
The sanctuary has over 726 species of flowering plants that belong to 120 families. The dominant flora are Fabaceae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Leguminosae, Cassipourea, species of seagrass, mangroves, etc.
Mammals: Black Bucks, Hyenas, Spotted Deer, Golden Jackals, Fishing Cat,
Birds: Lesser Flamingos, White-Bellied Sea Eagles, Greylag Geese, Purple Moorhen, Jacana, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Spoonbills, Storks, Egrets, Spot-Bellied Pelican, Stilt, Shoveler, Ibis, Asiatic Dowitchers, Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, Plovers, Snipes, Larks, Wagtails, Brahminy Ducks, Teals, Pochards, etc.
Aquafauna: Dolphins, Crabs, Prawns, Limbless, Green Sea Turtle,
The Chilika Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the region that experiences heavy rainfall in the monsoons averaging to 1238mm annually. The maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius during peak summers and a minimum temperature of 14 degrees Celsius at night have been recorded in the area.
The best time to visit the Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is from October to March, when the weather remains pleasant and not too hot to explore the area. During this time the rainfall is very minimum and the visitors can see numerous migratory birds in all their glory.
Nearest Train Station: Chilika Lake is 38km from Puri railway station which is connected to all the major cities of the country and from where buss and cabs are easily available. Apart from Puri, Balugaon railway station is just 5km away from the lake but it is not connected to all of the cities.
Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar airport is the nearest airport from Chilika Lake at about 113km away. From the airport several buses and taxis are available to reach the sanctuary.
Road Accessibility : Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is connected to NH5 of India. Various public and private means of transport are available from different cities to reach the state of Odisha and to Puri.