Did you know? Chilika Lake is Asia's largest and the world's second-largest lagoon! And the famous Nalbana Bird Sanctuary in Odisha is housed on Nalbana Island in Chilika Lake. The sanctuary draws bird and wildlife enthusiasts from far and wide. Also, nature lovers, families, and couples visit this spot for some quality time. The sanctuary is especially celebrated for migratory birds that start their arrival here in November. The reason is that this place provides hospitable habitat as compared to their freezing natural habitat in countries of the northern hemisphere such as Siberia, Japan, and China. It is noteworthy that the island submerges during monsoons and emerges after heavy downpours are over. Let’s grab some more information about this imperative bird sanctuary of Odisha in the account below.
The bird sanctuary stands on the Nalabana Island in the Chilika lagoon area, south-west of Puri.
About Nalbana Bird Sanctuary
Declared a bird sanctuary in 1987, this well-recognized avian sanctuary stretches across 15.53 km sq and is also rich in aquatic wildlife. It is home to over 225 fish species, prawns, limbless lizards, dolphins, crustaceans, and crabs. What makes this bird sanctuary establish itself as the mecca for birds in southeastern India is the fact that Chilika Lake is Asia's largest internal saltwater body. The lake hosts more than one million birds with more than 200 species during the peak migratory season. Additionally, it has rich ecosystem as Chilika Lake Sanctuary in the region is surrounded by varied flora and fauna.
Apart from these factors, Nalbana Bird Sanctuary is famous on account of the most spotted birds that are sought after by bird watchers. These birds include flamingo, white bellied sea eagle, brahminy kite, spotbilled pelican, barheaded goose, herons, black-tailed godwit, rare great knot, openbilled stork, spoonbill, wigeon, pintail, ibis, stilt, tern and kingfisher. Other wildlife that is spotted here includes blackbuck, spotted deer, golden jackals, and hyenas.
To revel in such versatility of wildlife and avifauna, Chilika Bird Festival is celebrated for 3 days in January. This year, it held in Mangalajodi in Khurda district from January 8 to 10, 2021.
- Type of Destination: Wildlife, Lake, Scenic
- Timings: 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, throughout the week
- Entry fee: Free
- Duration: 3-4 hours
- Best Time to Visit: October to March
- Tip: Carry a pair of binoculars to view the birds even at a distance.
How to Reach Nalbana Bird Sanctuary
By Air: The nearest airport to reach the bird sanctuary is in Bhubaneswar, which is 120 km away.
By Train: Balugaon, on the Howrah-Chennai track From Balugaon is the nearest railway station from this attraction.
By Road: It is just a two hour trip from Bhubaneswar and then further an hour boat ride takes tourists to this bird sanctuary.
By Water: There are motorized and speed boats that will cruise you to this bird sanctuary.
Nearby Tourist Places to Nalbana Bird Sanctuary
Tourist places near Nalabana Bird Sanctuary that command your visit are -
- Kalijai Temple - The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalijai and is highly revered as fishermen pray here before entering Chilika Lake for fishing.
- Satapada – This is a lake resort in the southeastern part of Chilka Lake. The term Satapada means a group of seven villages. From this place, Chilka Lake pours into the Bay of Bengal.
- Rambha Bay – The bay is blessed by abundant natural beauty with breathtaking landscapes around. Admire the scenic beauty of rare Olive Ridely sea turtles nesting in the Rusikulya Beach near Rambha.