After exploring Puri, we scheduled a trip to Chilika lake the very next day – which is the Asia largest brackish water lake covering Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha. Starting from the Daya River and parted from Bay of Bengal merely by 60 kms, the lagoon holds enormous area. The lake is well-known for being the host of various migratory birds in the winter season ranging from November till January and draws huge amount of tourists because it is also an habitat for the Irrawaddy Dolphins .
Started out from our hotel around 10h00 and planned to reach the lake around 12h00 as it was 1.5 hrs road journey from Puri. En route to Chilika we witnessed beautiful country side every few kilometres.
It was around 32 degrees when we reached the lake with sun shining at it full peak. At first, we were surprised at see the place as a deserted location and we being the only tourists there(we did find some tourists on boats later). Still, we went ahead, purchased the tickets for the boat ride at 450 Rupees/person (~7 USD/person) and headed towards the dock yard.
As you can see in the images, the boats looks like from historic times, but had an electronic motor on the facade with deafening noise affecting our conversations. After deep analysis on the boats, we stepped onto one and as it is the Asia’s largest lake, I observed how gigantic it was and indeed was a pleasing sight.
Within first 10 mins of our boat journey we landed onto the first island where some local fishermen/vendors exhibited the red crabs from the lake. I was really scared to hold one, so he himself took one out from the basket and held the crab with his bare hands. He also flaunted his information about the crabs and told us that the poison from the red crabs is used to make medicine for cancer ~well, not sure how accurate the information is.
Next, he demonstrated some shells from which real pearls are extracted and after much bargain we bought two pearls costing 500 Rupees(~8 USD for two). The vendor told us that there are 3 types of pearls – White, Pink & Black – dedicating three Gods of The Jagannath Temple. White is found most commonly, Pink can be found occasionally and Black is rare. He told us that very few people discover the black one purely based on luck or destiny – well, he did uncovered one for us at a whooping price of 2200 Rupees ~ 35 USD 😉 and obviously we didn’t buy that one 😀
Moving forward he also presented some stones imported from Lakshadweep Islands revealing that some may even contain the gemstones like ruby, sapphire etc. My brother fell for a Dream-stone(for fulfilling dreams) and so we ended up buying one at 1000 Rupees(~14 USD) Sigh!!
Tip – Don’t fall for these pearls/gemstones, these are *FAKE*. They put the fake pearls inside the shells by first opening them using hot water and then again closing them by putting them into cold water. We did a mistake by buying them, as we were not aware & got to know this later on.
#The Dolphin Tour
After falling prey to these frauds, we moved onto the most exciting part of the trip – *The Dolphin tour*. It was an approx. 45-50 mins boat ride till we reached the Satpada Island where the dolphins reside. The boat owner finally switched off the boisterous engine – recommended as it may scare the dolphins away. We had to look at the dolphins from little far, so no pictures there, although clicked some pictures of the scenic beauty of the lake in between. After almost 3 hrs of the ride, we returned to dock yard and presenting some more pictures of that.
Have you heard about Chilika Lake in Odisha? Do share your thoughts with us!!
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– The Wanderer