Mangalajodi, with its fair share of migratory and resident birds lies near the NH16. It is located 80 kms away from Bhubaneshwar. Nearest airport is the Bhubhaneshwar airport. Adjacent railheads are Mukteshwar(Puri) and Balugaon. There are ample road signs all along the way so that it's very easy to spot. Staying options are limited to Mangalajodi Ecotourism Cottage and Godwit Eco Cottage. Both of them can be booked online. It's best to book atleast a month in advance during the peak season.
From the Mangalajodi Eco Tourism Cottage, a reddish gravel road runs for 2.5 km to the Jetty. The shrill voices of almost a million birds can be heard even before you have reached the jetty. Their sharp yet pleasant calls against a tranquil village background track offer a stark but a welcoming contrast. The only way to explore the vast stretches of the swamp is the locally made wooden boats that are propelled by the muscle power of the boatmen. The depth of water varies from 1-1.5 feet in most places and as the boat ambles peacefully along the channels, the birds come into focus. For the first timers, it appears as if there is atleast one bird for every square inch ! And each and every bird is deeply engrossed in one of the two main activities of life : searching for food and delving deep into philosophical thoughts with a full tummy.
And while you're busy straining your eyes to differentiate between a Godwit and a Ruff, you suddenly hear a flap of wings and turn around. A Purple Heron has just started its flight and you can't help but stare in awe at the sheer beauty of such a majestic creature with a wingspan that almost makes the Airbus A380 look tiny!