Chilka Lake spreads across an area of 1,100 sq. km and lies at the mouth of River Daya. This salt water lake is classified as a wetland. The lake becomes the home to many migratory birds in the winter which come from places like Caspian Sea, Iran, Russia and far off Siberia.
It is estimated that 205 species of birds visit this lake in the migratory season. Out of these, 97 species of the avian creatures are intercontinental migrants.
There are many small islands that the Chilka Lake holds in. A visit to these islands will cherish one all through life. The Birds Island, Honeymoon Island, Parikud Island, Breakfast Island, Malud Island, Nirmaljhara Island, Kalijai Island and Nalabana which can be translated to Island of Reeds are some of the important ones.
The Kalijai Island houses a temple dedicated to Goddess Kalijai hence it stands as a place of Hindu pilgrimage and remains crowded all through the year. The festival of Makar Sankarnti is celebrated in this temple.
In the vicinity of the confluence of the lake and the sea, lies the Rijhansa Island. This island boasts of having a panoramic beach. The essence of the Chilka Lake can be felt by a boat ride form Satpada, Balugaon, Rambha and Barkul.