This small but extremely picturesque lake holds a prominent position
in the tourist map of Orissa for its beauty, proximity to Cuttack
and the fact that till the recent past, it used to play host to
migratory birds during winter.
Originating near Thuamul-Rampur, the river Indravati makes its winding
course through dense forests and sunkissed valleys till she halts
at Khatiguda, 20 km from Nowrangpur, to form a reservoir in the
hands of modern sculptors. The vast blue expanse guarded by green
capped soaring hills makes this lake a delightful sight - a lifetime
Just south of Puri, the sea mixes in with the 1100 sq.km inland
Chilika Lake to create the largest brackish water lake in Asia.
These shallow waters enclose an immense area of marshes, lowlands,
and islands. There are more than 160 varieties of fish, and, in
the winter season (from November through March), the area is home
to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds as well.
surrounding hills and sandy stretches abound in cheetals, blackbucks,
monkeys, fishing cats, mongoose, and porcupines. At the channel
meeting the sea, dolphins can be seen cavorting playfully. Snakes,
turtles and lizards inhabit the surrounding beach area and wooded
number of islands dot the expanse of the lake. Nalbana Island, because
of its varied flora and fauna, forms the core of the Chilika sanctuary.
Kalijai Island is home to the Goddess Kalijai, venerated by the
local fisher folk. This island plays host to a huge fair on 'Makar
Sankranti' held annually in the month of January. The large fishing
community adds flavour to the lake with their traditional colourful
sail boats bobbing expertly across the water, reminiscent of the
ancient maritime heritage of Orissa. In fact, the fisher folk can
be persuaded to take visitors on their boats.
is worth visiting the year round, however, the winter months, when
the air reverberates with the din of the birds, are the nicest times.
Barkul, Rambha, Balugaon and Satpada are the bases for visiting
Chilika, where boats can be hired.
Only 15 km from Koraput, the river Kolab makes a spectacular jump
at Bagra to form a reservoir called the "Upper Kolab Irrigation
Project". An ideal place for an outing, it is also a panacea
for city dwellers.
A mere 16 km north of Sambalpur town stands the Hirakud Dam on the
river Mahanadi - the longest dam in the world and the largest dam
made of earth. Hirakud is an engineering marvel as well as a stunning
site. From horizon to horizon, the reservoir forms the largest artificial
lake in Asia with an area of 746 sq km and a shore line of over
640 km. A twenty-one km drive on the dyke offers a unique experience
of calm serenity. One can comfortably enjoy the sight of the mighty
Hirakud Dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the top of the
revolving minaret called Gandhi Minar on the north, or from the
Nehru Minar on the other end of the dam. A considerable number of
migratory birds also come here during winter.
About 80 km from Berhampur, Sorada holds in its bosom a reservoir
amidst uncommon scenic charm. Popularly known as Sorada Ghai, it
blends itself beautifully into an enchanting picnic spot.