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Nature lovers are invited by the Indian mission in New York to visit Chilika Lake in Odisha.


May 18 :
On Thursday, May 16, 2024, the Indian Consulate General in New York extended an invitation to visitors from all over the globe to come and experience the serene beauty of Chilika Lake in the Indian state of Odisha. Posting on X, the Indian embassy hailed Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lagoon in Asia, located in the heart of Odisha, as a "must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts." The consulate encouraged readers to "explore the tranquil charm of Chilika Lake." Sail over its glistening waves and you will find a haven for culture and biodiversity. An absolute must-see for ecotourists!

Chilika is a lagoon that is located on the eastern coast of India and is linked to the Bay of Bengal by a little opening of the sea. The lagoon's water is teeming with life, as is typical of coastal lagoons.

Spanning the length of the East Coast, it is the biggest estuarine lagoon containing brackish water. Nowhere else on the Indian subcontinent can you find such a vast wintering site for migrating birds. Several endangered, uncommon, and vulnerable species that are classified on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals live in or around the lagoon, making it one of the country's biodiversity hotspots, according to the official website of the Chilika Development Authority.

The Chilika lagoon was home to more than 800 species of animals during a 1985–1987 study by the Zoological Survey of India. Among the endangered, uncommon, and threatened species on this list is the Barakudia limbless skink. The first "Ramsar Site" in India was Chilika, chosen for its ecological importance and abundance of plant and animal life.

Under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, the lagoon's Nalaban Island has been designated as a bird sanctuary. The lagoon is a top priority for the National Wetlands, Mangroves, and Coral Reefs Committee, which is part of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in the Government of India. With its abundance of fish, the lagoon is an exceptionally productive ecology. Over fifteen thousand people rely on the lagoon's abundant fishing grounds for their livelihood.

During the summer, Chilika's waterspread area is around 900 sq. km, whereas during the monsoon it ranges between 1,165 sq. km. At Motto, close to the Bay of Bengal, there is a narrow outer canal that stretches 32 kilometres and links the main lagoon to it. Near the lagoon's northern edge is where the channel empties into the ocean.

Saltwater flows across the canal during the dry months of December to June due to high tides near the mouth of the inlet. The 52 rivers and rivulets that empty into the Chilika during the rainy season are in full spate, creating freshwater currents that slowly drain the saltwater out of the river. The inlet mouth is in a perpetual state of motion because to the east coast littoral drift.

There are four main ecological zones inside the lagoon, named by their respective locations in relation to salinity and depth: the outer channel, the middle zone, the southern zone, and the northern zone. Birds Island, Honeymoon, Krushnaprasad, Nalaban, Kalijai, Somolo, Breakfast, and the lagoon's other populated and deserted islands are also worth mentioning.