Chilika Lake is the largest lake in India and the second largest lagoon in the world, located in the eastern part of Odisha, southwest of the delta of the mouth of the Mahanadi. This lake is a typical lagoon connected to the Bay of Bengal, with sand bars parallel to the coast.
The water depth of Gilka Lake is generally less than 10 meters, and it extends parallel to the sandbank in a narrow strip. In the inner coastal lowland, there are often salt marshes, and the inner side of the sand bank is a gentle tidal flat.
Chilika Lake covers an area of more than 1,100 square kilometers and is dotted with beautiful islands. It is also one of the largest migratory bird habitats in the Indian subcontinent and one of the world's bird-watching destinations. The best bird-watching season is from October to March, when various migratory birds fly here from Siberia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and the Himalayas. This post will introduce more interesting facts about Chilika Lake.
Chilika Lake Introduction
The formation of Chilika Lake is only 6,000 to 7,000 years old due to the Quaternary post-glacial transgression. A large number of glaciers melted due to the strong sunlight, and liquid salt water flowed into the seabed; the gradually rising depressions left the seawater on the land due to the lack of outflow, and large evaporation, and increased salt content. When salt water accumulates on the surface, Gilka Lake is formed.
Chilika Lake is a coastal lagoon. It is located in a special area where sea and land intersect, so it has a particularity in hydrological characteristics and sedimentation. The Daya and Bhargavi rivers feed the lake except during the dry months from December to June, when saline ocean water enters through a small passage.
Chilika Lake Size
As the largest internal saltwater lake in Asia, Chilika Lake is 65 km (40 miles) long and 8 to 20 km (5 to 13 miles) wide, and about 4.2 meters (13.8 feet) at the deepest point. As a temporary lake, its surface area varies from 1,165 sq km (449.8 sq mi) in the summer monsoon season to 906 sq km (349.8 sq mi) in the winter dry season. Its depth varies from 0.3 to 0.8 meters (0.9 to 2.6 ft) in the dry season to 1.8 to 4.2 meters (5.9 to 13.8 ft) in the rainy season.
In 1981, Chilika Lake was listed as a wetland of international importance in India. According to statistics, during the peak period of migratory waterfowl migration (October to March), there are more than 160 species of birds, of which 45% are terrestrial birds, 32% are water birds, and 23% are waders. In addition, there are 14 species of raptors and 152 short-nose dolphins. Chilika Lake is also one of the largest flamingo breeding grounds in the world, making it one of the ideal places to see flamingos. Every year, it attracts a large number of photographers and bird lovers. The lake and its vicinity hold a rich floral system with more than 710 species of plants, including an abundance of aquatic and nonaquatic plants.
Chilika Lake is the most popular destination for eco-tourism in Orissa and also provides good conditions for port construction and shipping along the coast. Due to its unique geographical environment and wave conditions, it can be developed as a tourist area and a water sports base. Boating at Chilika is one of the most popular activities. Chilika Lake can be visited year-round; however, the time from November to March is the best time to visit Chilika Lake. Especially it is the season for migratory birds, so exploring this lake during these months is even more exciting.