Why Indian Consulate in New York inviting people to Chilika Lake in Odisha, India

Written on 05/19/2024
Asia91 Team

The Indian Consulate General in New York is encouraging nature enthusiasts from around the world to visit the serene and picturesque Chilika Lake in Odisha, India. In a post on X, the consulate described Chilika as a "must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts," highlighting its unique charm and ecological significance.


Why Chilika Lake?

Chilika Lake, Asia's largest brackish water lagoon, is nestled on the east coast of India connecting to the Bay-of-Bengal through a narrow sea mouth. This coastal lagoon is teeming with life, making it a paradise for wildlife and nature lovers. The Indian consulate's message emphasized the opportunity to glide through the shimmering waters and discover a sanctuary rich in wildlife and culture.


A Haven for Biodiversity

Chilika Lake is a biodiversity hotspot in India that also serves as the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl in the Indian subcontinent and is home to several rare, vulnerable, and endangered species. According to the Chilika Development Authority, a survey by the Zoological Survey of India recorded over 800 species in and around the lagoon, including the rare Barakudia limbless skink.


A Ramsar Site

Due to its ecological importance and rich biodiversity, Chilika Lake was designated as India's first Ramsar Site. The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is a notified bird sanctuary, providing a safe haven for countless bird species. The Indian government has recognized Chilika as a priority site for conservation and management, ensuring its protection and sustainability.


A Thriving Ecosystem

Chilika Lake is a highly productive ecosystem with rich fishery resources. It supports the livelihood of more than 150,000 fisherfolk living in and around the lagoon. The lake's waterspread area varies with the seasons, covering between 900 and 1,165 square kilometers. A 32-kilometer-long narrow outer channel connects the main lagoon to the Bay of Bengal, facilitating the exchange of saltwater and freshwater, which is vital for maintaining the lagoon's unique estuarine character.


Ecological Sectors and Islands

This lagoon is divided into four ecological sectors based on salinity and depth: the southern zone, central zone, northern zone, and outer channel. Several islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, dot the lagoon, including Krushnaprasad, Nalaban, Kalijai, Somolo, Honeymoon, Breakfast, and Birds Island. Each island offers its own unique charm and is worth exploring.

Here are 7 mind-boggling facts about Chilika Lake, Asia's largest brackish water lagoon, that highlight its unique ecological and cultural significance:


  1. Vast Size: Chilika Lake spans an area of about 1,165 square kilometers during the monsoon season, making it one of the largest lagoons in Asia and the largest in India.
  2. Rich Biodiversity: The lake is home to over 800 species of fauna, including several rare and endangered species like the Barakudia limbless skink. This diversity makes it a hotspot for biodiversity in India.
  3. Birdwatcher's Paradise: Chilika Lake is a premier destination for birdwatching, especially during the winter months when it becomes the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent, hosting about 160 different species.
  4. Ramsar Site: Chilika Lake holds the distinction of being the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, emphasizing its global ecological significance.
  5. Lifeline for Locals: The lake supports the livelihoods of over 150,000 fisherfolk who live in and around the lagoon, relying on its rich fishery resources.
  6. Dynamic Ecosystem: The lake's ecosystem is highly dynamic. It is fed by a total of 52 rivers and streams, and its connection to the Bay of Bengal through a 32-kilometer-long channel helps maintain its salinity levels, which vary with the seasons.
  7. Cultural Hub: The lake is not just an ecological treasure but also a cultural one. It hosts several islands like Nalaban and Kalijai, which are significant for local folklore and religious gatherings.


Chilika Lake, with its unique blend of ecological diversity and cultural richness, offers a serene yet vibrant experience to its visitors. It's not just a natural habitat but a lifeline for many, making it a crucial area for conservation and a must-visit for nature lovers around the world.


For more information on planning your visit York'slika Lake, you can check out the official website of the Chilika Development Authority or contact the Indian Consulate in New York.