User Image

It all began with a spontaneous decision to embark on a mini-solo trip to Chilika which is often regarded as the best-kept secret of Odisha. on the occasion of the 4th NATIONAL CHILIKA BIRD FESTIVAL 2024. As a birding enthusiast, I felt compelled to explore the brackish waters of Chilika, eager to immerse myself in its natural beauty and avian diversity. Setting out on this adventure, I found myself surrounded by both familiar and unfamiliar faces, fellow travelers sharing a common passion for nature and birdwatching. Despite the initial apprehension of venturing alone, the excitement of discovering new avian species and experiencing Chilika's serene ecosystem overshadowed any lingering doubts. I am delighted to share that I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the 4th National Chilika Birds Festival 2024, which took place from January 27th to 29th. The event kicked off with a registration session, followed by an inaugural ceremony graced by esteemed dignitaries.

The inaugural session included addresses by distinguished personalities such as Shri. Sachin Ramchandra Jadhav, IAS Director of Tourism, Dr. Lenin Mohanty, Chairman of OTDC, Shri. Susanta Nanda, Chief Wildlife Warden of Odisha, Shri. Surendra Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary of Tourism, Government of Odisha, Shri Satyabrata Sahu chief secretary to Govt. forest and environment dept. Shri Aswini Kumar Patra, honorable minister, Tourism and Odia language, literature and cultural dept. and Shri Pradip Kumar Amat, the Honorable Minister of the Forest and Environment Department.

The event further enriched our knowledge with insightful invited talks. Dr. Suresh Kumar, a scientist from the Wildlife Institute of India, shared his expertise and then It was graced by one of the closest and kindest personalities I've ever had the pleasure of encountering with none other than Mrs. Panchami Manoo Ukil an eminent birder and author from Odisha, Dr. Swetashree Purohit Assistant Professor in Zoology · C.V. Raman Global University. Mr. Dhritiman Mukherjee an Eminent photographer captivated the audience with his experiences, and Manoj Nair, the Director of Nandankanan and Chief Executive of Chilika Development Authority, provided valuable insights. 

After the inaugural session, we were warmly welcomed at Barkul Panthanivas by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) team, where our accommodations were arranged. The accommodation provided at OTDC Panthaniwas was welcoming and secure, ensuring a comfortable stay throughout the festival. The delicious meals, featuring Chilika's special seafood delicacies, added to the overall experience. Additionally, we were pleasantly surprised with a festival kit, comprising a shirt, coffee mug, sipper, notepad, and a flamingo badge, which enhanced the sense of belonging and excitement during the event.

 The following day, we embarked on an early morning birding expedition to Mangalajodi. Boarding a boat at 6 AM, we set out on the serene waters, witnessing a diverse array of avian species until 10 AM. Mangalajodi's rich ecosystem provided us with the opportunity to observe numerous bird species in their natural habitat. Subsequently, we journeyed to Nalabana, a restricted area sanctioned by the government. This exclusive access was granted solely to the birdwatchers participating in the festival. Nalabana is renowned for hosting flamingoes, along with several spot-billed pelicans and various other migratory birds during this period each year. This unique opportunity allowed us to witness the splendid congregation of avifauna in a protected sanctuary, further enhancing our experience at the festival.

On the subsequent morning, we embarked on another bird-watching expedition, this time exploring the nearby areas along the banks of Chilika Lake. Our efforts were rewarded as we spotted various terrestrial bird species amidst the picturesque surroundings.


Later, we visited the museum, where an impressive collection of fish and snake varieties were on display. The museum also offered fascinating insights into Chilika Lake and its ecosystem. Here are some intriguing facts I learned about Chilika It has been segmented into four sectors: Northern (freshwater), Central, Southern (brackish water), and Outer Channel (marine water). Each sector harbors different types of fish and prawns. The lake boasts an impressive biodiversity, hosting 344 species of fish, 29 species of prawns, 35 species of crabs, and 2 species of lobsters


With each passing moment, I found myself captivated by the tranquil ambiance and the myriad bird calls echoing across the water. Every sighting, whether familiar or rare, filled me with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the rich biodiversity that thrives in Chilika. As the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, I realized that this mini-solo trip had turned into an unforgettable journey of self-discovery and connection with nature. Chilika had woven its magic, leaving an indelible mark on my soul and igniting a desire to return and explore its hidden treasures further.

14 Feb 2024
User Image



Load More

Leave a Comment

Maximum 500 characters
Load More