Come winter Chilika, a Ramsar site, wears a different colour with lakhs of birds from home and abroad thronging the lagoon for their winter transit.
It is a spectacle of nature that attracts thousands of tourists to witness the beauty in the lake. The birds come from as far Siberia and down the years some of the birds have developed a homing instinct to perch here despite many odds.
The 2nd National Chilika Bird Festival kickstarted at Mangalajodi, (Chilika the largest brackish water lake of Odisha) today with the aim to promote eco-tourism and preservation of birds in the state.
Around 145 bird watchers from all over India were present in the two-day event organised jointly by the state tourism, forest and environment departments and Chilika Development Authority.
The two day festival which included photo exhibitions, seminars and visit to Nalabana Island was inaugurated by Odisha tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda.
Tourism secretary Vishal K Dev said, “We are glad to have everyone here at the festival. We want to promote and raise awareness about Chilika being the largest repository of migratory birds in Asia. Our focus is to make Odisha as one of the hotspots for Ecotourism. We plan to make this event bigger and better in future.”
Forest and environment secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said “We are extremely happy to have participants from all over the country. This year we have around 1 million migratory birds present in Chilika. We are recognising the efforts by the locals in preserving Chilika lake and want to empower them by helping them with livelihood in form of sustainable tourism’’.
The step at promoting eco-tourism through the birds is an initiative which was long overdue as regards tourism. Besides the birds of over 150 species what adds to the gravity of this rendezvous is the small transits like the Kalijai hill harboring the temple , the Breakfast Island and many more spots those produce the splendor of nature that combines culture and heritage.
(With UNI inputs)