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Chilka

The Chilka Lake in Orissa is Asia’s largest inland salt-water lagoon studded with small islands, separated from the Bay of Bengal by a sandy ridge. Located to the south west of Puri, covering a widespread area of 1100 sq kms, Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most visited wildlife sanctuaries in Orissa.

This wildlife sanctuary is home to various migratory and local birds such as flamingo, white-bellied sea eagle, brahminy kite, spot-billed pelican, bar-headed goose, open-billed stork, spoonbill, brahimny duck, wigeon, pintail, shoveller, ibis, stilt, heron, egret, avocet, gull, tern, kingfisher etc. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here.

Nalbana Island is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands of Chilika Lake. It is a major island in the center of the lake. During winter lake levels decrease and the island is gradually exposed, birds flock to the island in large numbers to feed on its extensive mudflats.

Chilka has a unique ecosystem with a large number of aquatic flora and fauna found in and around its brackish waters one of the rarest being the Irrawady dolphins. More than 225 species of fishes are also found here. Plus, the lagoon supports about 37 species of reptiles and amphibians.

Barkul and Rambha are two places on the lake which serve as the base.