Queen of natural beauty, Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia covering an area of over 1,100 sq. km is a great attraction for the tourists for fishing, bird watching and boating. In winter Chilika aflutters with thousands of indigenous and migratory birds of many varieties from far and near - even from the distant Siberia. The fabulous beauty of Chilika which has inspired poets to sing its glory and which can be best enjoyed from Balugaon, Barkul, Rambha and Satpada must be seen to be believed. One can also have a glimpse of the lake from the moving trains and vehicles on the road near these places. The atmosphere is just serene and undisturbed amidst the blue expanse of water on one side and an evergreen range of hills on the other. Dotted with a host of islands with romantic names, a cruise in Chilika will be a life-long memory.
Places of tourist interest in Chilika :
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.
The Island of Kalijai is famous as a center of religious worship due to the temple of Goddess Kalijai where a big fair is held on the occasion of Makara Sankranti that falls in January every year. The Island of Nalabana, 8 km in circumference occupies a unique place in the vast expanse of Chilika Lake as it happens to be the central point for the migratory birds. One can view the dolphins at Chilika mouth near Satpara.
Best time to visit :
October to June.
Places around Chilika :
Narayani(22 km)* :
Goddess Narayani adorns the valley hill-top which is girdled by a stream. It is an ideal picnic spot.
Nirmaljhara (11 km)* :
Nirmaljhara has earned its name as an ideal place for picnic as well as pilgrimage. A stream that emerges out from the feet of a Vishnu image enhances the importance and sanctity of the place.
Banpur (42 km)* :
Famous for the time honoured temple of Goddess Bhagabati, Banpur has earned celebrity as a center of religious activities. Once it was the capital of Sailodvaba dynasty, responsible for the construction of the early group of temples in Bhubaneswar. The large number of Buddhist images discovered at Banpur relate the place to the Vajrayan cult of Buddhism. The temple of "Dakshya Prajapati" is a fine specimen of extraordinary artistic excellence of Orissan art. Banpur is 8 km from Balugaon, 42 km from Rambha and 104 km from Bhubaneswar.