Chilika is more than the dolphins! 

Tripoto
26th Jan 2020
Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra
Day 1

The cost estimate given earlier is based on spending for 2 individuals.

I started my journey from Puri. After a lot of research I decided to go with the tourist bus of OTDC (Odisha Tourist Development Corporation). I have read about mishaps happening with the boats travelling on Chilika lake. The absence of life-jackets in these boats have been highlighted many-a-times. Inspite of government making life-jackets compulsory for boats traversing over the Chilika lake, it is not being followed. I came to know that the OTDC boats provides life jackets(though I didn't get to see any in the boat but the tour guide(official from OTDC) confirmed on that) and the boatmen are professional. The tour-guide suggested that the water isn't that deep, so they don't take out the life-jackets, but I am not so sure!

The bus started from the Panthanivas hotel, Puri at 7 am. The tour-guide spoke in Hindi. Since, I had my mother with myself, she really enjoyed the feeling of travelling with fellow Bengali tourists. Our first stop was Alaranath temple in the Brahmagiri block of Puri. This temple is not a very famous one but it is of religious significance. One of the important stories is "Anavasara is the two weeks period when Lord Jagannatha take rest in isolation from the rest of the world after suffering from fever due to the annual bathing festival (Snana Yatra). Lord Chaitanya claimed that he visualized the appearance of Lord Jagannath in Alarnath and spent a long period in worshiping the deity here". Our Guide briefed us with some of these stories of religious significance and left us for the temple. Try taking a walk to the temple, it isn't much far from the main road (where the bus left us). Walking through the destination is one of the best ways to know the destination.

En route in Brahmagiri

Photo of Alaranath Temple, NH 203A, Alarapur, Brahmagiri, Odisha, India by Aparajita Patra

When we reached Satapada, the Guide again briefed and walked us through another important temple for the devotees of Lord Jagannath. Getting a Guide is yet another advantage of opting for the OTDC bus trip. We were shown the prawn culture/farming. Chilika prawns are famous!

Our next step was the Chilika Development Authority (CDA). The museum, the video show and the briefings by the Guide will help you understand the Chilika lake/lagoon better. CDA have been working since years to increase the fish availability in the lagoon and for the overall improvement of the quality of the lagoon. They work closely with the local villagers/fisher-men & women. Working with the community is the need of the hour.

Flowers inside the Yatri Nivas, Satapada, Krushnaprasad block, Puri

Photo of Satapada, Odisha, India by Aparajita Patra

Then comes the most important part of the trip, boating! We all agreed for taking a big boat which could accommodate all the tourists in the bus. You can also opt for private boats and you get to select your destination points. Based on our time availability our destination points were : Dolphin point, Sea-mouth, Rajhans island and beach.

Reached the Rajhans island ,finally!

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

First point of attraction was the Dolphin point. Yes, we did see many of them. The dolphins here jump a little lesser in height as compared to the ones you generally see in videos (from other countries). Our Guide says the water here is less deep and hence the dolphins jump to a lesser height because in that case they will need more depth also while coming down. Law of motion, dear :D! After seeing about 10-20 dolphins, we headed for our next destination the Sea-mouth. This is where the Chilika lagoon meets the Bay of Bengal. That's why Chilika isn't a lake but a lagoon because its not closed at all the sides. The Sea-mouth was artificially constructed to help the dolphins come inwards!

Our next stop was the Rajhans island. The width of the Rajhans island is about 0.5 Km. S0, you can obviously walk across it.

Walking across the Rajhans island

Photo of Chilika Sea Mouth, Anandapur, Odisha, India by Aparajita Patra

You will know when you are about to reach the end because there will be strong sound of the waves, of the giant ocean waves! There's something different about island beaches, right? More serene!

Rajhans island beach

Photo of Rajhans Island, Odisha by Aparajita Patra

On our way back we got to see the oyster pearls. Not sure about their realness but it was a good experience to witness the oysters being broken and pearls coming out a few of them. I have heard stories of fake gem stones being used to deceive people but certainly nothing like that happened with our boat. The guy who had shown us the pearls was appointed by the government only, for tourism purpose.

with the oyster pearl

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

If you are a nature lover, a vivid bird watcher or a simple boating-lover, Chilika is a must. It has natural scenery which is different and quite impressive. It also takes you nicely through the lifestyle of the fishermen. Hope the photographs below help you understand what I meant :D !

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra
Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra
Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

en route in Chilika

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

This boating journey was of about 3 hours and about 350 INR per person. You can opt for greater destination points with more time and money, of course! After the end of boating we proceeded for our lunch from the Yatri Nivas which we have ordered before taking the boat-ride.

The Satapada jetty

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

Th restaurant was a bit packed, so we decided to visit the nearby Eco Park before taking the lunch. The major attraction for the park is the skeleton of a blue whale.

The blue whale skeleton (please stretch your eyes a bit! Sorry for the photo quality! )

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

Do you see me here, yes right in between!

Photo of Chilika is more than the dolphins! by Aparajita Patra

Just had lunch and then returned. The bus dropped us back at the Panthanivas hotel, Puri.

Chilika is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world. It has been listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Just some important details!

Chilika will definitely soothe you, be prepared! :)

Insights drawn from the author's visit to Chilika lagoon with her mother.

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