Signing of this marvelous year with an eco friendly tour to the largest brackish water lake in Asia i.e Chilika. Every season of the previous year i.e 2018 did force me to explore this marvelous state and I was even more happy on the last day of the year. I preferred to stay in a resort inside Chilika lake, belonging to Odisha Eco tourism. A three hour drive from Bhubaneshwar took me to Satpada,which is a small village situated near the Sea mouth Of Chilika. Then in one and a half hour boat drive,I reached a small island called Rajhans island where the Odisha tourism has built beautiful Swiss Tents for tourist accomodation. Eco tourism Odisha has arranged some excellent tourist facilities in some major destinations in the state , and Chilka being one of the primary of them.
As we proceeded towards the boating point in Satpada,we crossed the rural countryside of the village covered with rice plantations on both sides. Besides such greenery we saw marshy wetlands in the fields on either side of the road, perhaps created by the backwaters of the huge volume of water flowing back towards the village from the lagoon. Due to such phenomena these wetlands have also become a natural habitat for numerous species of birds which can easily be encountered while driving along the road to Satpada. Since it was late in the afternoon so I decided to explore this area on my return journey.
Odisha tourism has progressed a lot and thanks to the efforts put up by the Eco tourism department of the state.This initiative by the state government has become the primary attraction for all the nature lovers visiting the important cultural and geographical diverse area of the state.They have built Eco friendly cottages and tents in three destinations surrounding the Chilika lake ,and Rajhans Nature camp being one of them.
In Rajhans nature camp Eco toursism Odisha has built Swiss luxurious Tents perfectly located in this serene island just on the banks of the Chilika lake.Well if you book with Odisha ecotourism then they will manage everything from Satpada till they drop you off on the same place. On the way to the island enjoy the pristine water of the lake where the sightings of the Irrawady dolphins are also frequent. At the rear side of the resort one can take a 5 minute walk to the sea beach through the casuarina forests. Infront of the tents the large vacant space has been well equipped with volleyball and badminton courts,along with a small playground for the kids.The workers of the resort are also perfect guides to explore the island.
Worth to mention I enjoyed one of the best sea food in my life as the cooks provided some delicious fishes and lobsters from the lake.The kitchen offers delectable sea food for lunch ,dinner and breakfast which are included in the booking amount for one tent. The campus is perfect for any nature lover as one can watch the Irrawady dolphins which are frequently visible on the shores of the island.The package when booking a single day stay in the island also includes a boat cruise to the sea mouth of the lake in Bay of Bengal. Travelers seeking to watch the numerous migratory birds can take the the help of the local boatmen at an extra cost of Rs 1500 and sail for an extra 2 to 3 hours in the lake in early morning hours.
Don’t forget to watch a memorable sunset on the shores of the nature camp with the fishing nets and the wooden boats catalyzing the scenery. It was a perfect conclusion for the last day for this new year to provide me the same zeal to explore the world as a wanderer in the coming years. I am grateful to Odisha tourism for inspiring me to increase my urge in exploring the versatile landscape of this state. Sunset in Rajhans Island.
Just a 5 minute walk from the Eco camp site of Rajhans island in Chilka lake ,one may reach a pristine sea beach on the shores of Bay of Bengal. Owing to the tough accessibility to the beach due to it’s remote location in an island ,this beach remains lonely ,so travelers will find the golden sands very clean and devoid of any crowd. This is a perfect place to watch the sunrise and sunset ,providing an ideal moment for all photographers. The beach is controlled by the Forest rangers of Odisha ,so in order to visit them one has to take entry tickets by showing government identity cards from the offices in Satpada. Well if one is booking accommodation in Rajhans island from Odisha Eco tourism site then the entry ticket is already included.Sunset on the Sea Beach in Rajhans Island.
The beach mainly had casuarina forest trees where wild cats and foxes are frequent animals. A walk through the casuarina avenues on the way to the beach from the camp is must thing to do to enjoy a serene moment. Sunset in Chilka is no doubt scenic with the fishing nets and boats adding to the scenery. But here on this beach you only get the vast sea beach with the rhythmic waves in the background. So choose your spot perfectly ,while both can be visited at the same time as this place is a geographical wonder having the lake and sea beach in the same place.
What a delight it is to encounter such mesmerising experience with crystal blue water and numerous species of birds in the middle of the largest brackish water lake in Asia. Chilika is no doubt precisely documented by all the epic channels like Discovery and the National Geographic ,but I think this place holds its significance everytime in a new way for any bird watcher in any part of this planet. Though there are many experts in the field of bird watchers but none can replace the natural instincts of the local fishermen who also act as guides for the travelers coming here to see the birds. Common Shell Ducks in flocks.
The largest lagoon in Asia also holds the rare Irrawady dolphins which can easily be seen all throughout the year.But in order to see the numerous migratory birds flying thousands of kilometres into this place,winter is the only time to study them. I was lucky enough to spot different types of ducks like Common Shelduck,Indian spot-billed duck,Fulvous whistling duck,Lesser whistling duck and different types of Sea gulls and Cormorants. Black Headed Sea Gull
In my three hour cruise in the Chilka lake on my return to Satpada I mostly saw the birds in flocks near the marshy area of the lake where there were signs of grasslands. Indian Spot Billed Ducks in Flocks
Throughout the lake the fishermen has built local breeding place with the nets ,where the Indian cranes and sea gulls can be seen in flocks. Due to the shallow water of the Chilka near the small grasslands within the lake it is difficult for the person driving the motor boats to go near the birds so one needs a relevant zoom lens to capture the colourful birds in flocks.Indian Egret
Indian Cormorants in Flocks Black headed Sea Gull in Flocks.
Also due to the poaching and hunting and birds in past ,the birds are afraid of the trawler boats ,so they mostly fly away as we come near to them.But after declaring Chilka lake as a major Ramsar site in India,the government of Odisha has taken an award winning step in shaping this wonderland into a paradise for birdwatchers.
Marbled Godwits in Flocks.
While I was returning I was gifted for my patience as I was able to capture photographs of some rare species of birds. Infact the sight was even more delightful for a birdwatcher as the flocks of birds were much near to me. Marbled Godwits,Black winged Stilt,Indian Egrets,Common Cormorants were the few species of birds that I was able to see in flocks in the marshy irrigation fields near Satpada. While in Chilika lake I had to be cautious as the sound of the boat made the birds to fly away,but here the birds were freely feeding on the fishes and the algae in the ponds spread across the acres of fertile fields.I stopped my car and captured the best moments of the playful birds dancing on the water and enjoying their natural habitat. Black winged Stilt in Flocks.
It was a true delight for any birdwatcher to encounter such
beautiful creatures at such a close distance. Satpada not only serves as the gateaway to the largest lagoon in India,but it is also a picturesque village and a natural habitat for the numerous migratory birds flying down and are able to find this village as their true home.