More tourists visiting Orissa’s Chilika Lake

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - Inflow of tourists to Orissa’s world famous Chilika Lake is on the rise, a tourism official here said Tuesday.

In 2009, at least 550,000 domestic and foreign tourists visited the lake, the largest brackish water lake in Asia, against 490,000 tourists the previous year, he told IANS.

Spread across the districts of Puri, Khurdha and Ganjam along the east coast and about 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, Chilika is considered a tourists’ paradise because of its scenic beauty and rich biodiversity.

It was declared one of the six wetlands of international importance for Arctic and Central Asian waterfowl by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Although tourists throng the site round the year, maximum tourist inflow is seen between October to March when large numbers of migratory birds make the lake their home for winter.

About a million migratory birds come to the lake in October every year and return in March. The most attractive birds sighted in the lake are flamingos, grey and purple herons, egrets, spoonbills, storks and white ibis.

Last year, over 8 lakh birds belonging to 168 species were counted in the lake.

The increase in the number of domestic and foreign tourists is evident from the fact that in 2006 the figure was 436,000. It rose to 478,000 in 2007 and to 490,250 in 2008, he said.

The lake, which covers an area of over 1,100 sq km, is a great attraction for the tourists mainly for fishing, bird and dolphin watching and boating, he said.

A large number of people also visit the Kalijai island on the lake that houses a temple.

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