Around Chilika

Meeting point of Rushilukya river and Bay of Bengal just behind Potagarh- Pic by Sajal Sheth

Around Chilika

Located approximately 25 KM from Rambha, Potagarh literally means “buried fort”. Potagarh was an important landmark of Ganjam and its earliest township, but the dilapidated site and lack of a guide make this place unworthy of a visit.Recently Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of Odisha and the state tourism department has also extended support to add up amenities at the spot. But it’s still a long way before it becomes a tourist stop over.
The history of Potagarh encompasses the history of Ganjam from the medieval period. The star shaped fort is located at the mouth of the Rushikulya River. The complex houses three forts which served as administrative offices during the Qutab Shahi (Rulers of Golconda), French and British era respectively.
What remains today are the ruins of what was once a very important seat of administration. One cant help but feel the absence of guide at this venue, which is otherwise just a stone and brick ancient ruin.
The confluence of Rushikulya with the Bay of Bengal however makes for a beautiful sight.

Meeting point of Rushilukya river and Bay of Bengal just behind Potagarh- Pic by Sajal Sheth

Meeting point of Rushilukya river and Bay of Bengal just behind Potagarh- Pic by Sajal Sheth

Located in Chatrapur- 24 KM from Rambha- this beautiful freshwater lake is a must visit for nature lovers. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the state. Recently the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of Odisha and the state tourism department have announced grand plans to develop the site into an ecotourism hot spot. One can enjoy boating and water sports at the lake.
Odisha TOurism recently announced big plans to develop the region as a eco tour destination, so lets keep our fingers crossed.

The traditional boat expedition on the lake costs – Rs 30/person.
The water bike costs – Rs.300 for a round.
The motorboat for 4-6 persons costs Rs.750 for a 30 min ride.

 

Boats at Tampara lake

Located around 25KM from Barkul; this very scenic dam makes for an interesting sojourn. As you head from Barkul towards Behrampur, there is a signboard of Salia Dam on the right hand side, take the underpass towards Chilika dhaba and head straight for 17KM for Salia Dam. However the roads are bad but motorable.

Salia dam-pic by Taufique Raza

The normally sleepy 5KM stretch from Purunabandha to Gokharakuda along the confluence of Rushikulya river and Bay of Bengal sees a flurry of nature’s activities from mid February to first week of March every year, when the critically endangered Olive Ridley Turtles come for nesting. The normally secluded village hamlets see’s tourists flocking at late night and early morning to catch a glimpse of nature’s miracle. Rushikulya stretch is touted as the second largest hatchery for these turtles after Gahirmatha located in Kendrapara district of Odisha.

Important Information

The nearest town is Khallikote and it’s advisable to book your own taxi or take your own vehicle to witness this natural phenomenon.
If you are planning to watch the nesting of Olive Ridley's and plan a night stay take your own tent’s for the purpose or one can stay at Rambha or Barkul.
Best time for photography is early morning around 6 am.
During the nesting of Olive Ridley's be sensitive to the animals- remember the egg laying process is a stressful time for the turtles akin to a human delivery and being on land they are most vulnerable, so please don’t cause them discomfort.

Olive-Ridley-waiting-to-get-back-to-sea-after-nesting-at-Padampeta-Beach

Olive-Ridley-waiting-to-get-back-to-sea-after-nesting-at-Padampeta-Beach

Nesting Olive Ridley at Padampeta Beach

Olive-Ridleys-heading-back-to-sea-at-Padampeta

Olive-Ridleys-heading-back-to-sea-at-Padampeta

 

Offbeat Places Links

In And Around Chilika

The resplendent lagoon encompasses many a beautiful spots within the lake and also around it. From beautiful architecture of the temples to the spectacular migrant avian species which make the lagoon their home during the winters, Chilika has a bit of everything. the joy of visiting the lagoon during the monsoons has a altogether different charm.



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