Chilika

Kalijai Temple, Chilika, Odisha
chilka-lake
Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon with water spread ranging from 1165 sq km m the rainy season to 906 sq km in the dry season is nestled in the heart of the coastal Odisha (Orissa). It extends from Bhusandpur in Puri district in the North to Rambha-Malud in Ganjan district in the South, separated from the Bay of Bengal by a 60 km long narrow strip of marshy islands and sand-flats.

Some of the prominent islands like Nalabana, Kalijal, Somolo, Honeymoon, Break-fast, Birds and Rajahansa inhabited by small subsistence fishermen families, are popular destinations for daily boat trips. Because of its rich bio-diversity and socio-economic importance, Chilika was designated as a Ramsar site in 1981 to afford better protection.

Chilika is recognized as one of the most important wetlands in the world because it is home to a phenomenal variety of birds. Chilika Lake offers visitors a spectacular display of its colorful avian charms in a thousand different hues presented by over 160 species in the peak season between November and February. The lake and its reed islands teem with nesting birds-white bellied sea eagles, ospreys, golden plovers, sand pipers, flamingos, pelicans, shovellers, gulls, include migratory ones flying great distances from Iran, Central Asia and Siberia.

Kalijai Temple is located on an island in Chilika Lake. It is considered to be the abode of the Goddess Kalijai. Highly revered by the local populace, the deity has been venerated in the local folklores and legends. The island provides an excellent destination for pilgrims as well as tourists. Every year in January, a huge gala fair is held during the festival of Makar Sankranti.

Legend

A girl was newly married and was going to her husband in a boat.As her in-law’s house was inside an island in Chilika Lake it took a lot of time to reach.Orissa coast is much prone to Cyclones and suddenly such a cyclone came and the boat drowned inside the lake.All the Boatmen with her father were alive except that Girl Jaai undiscovered.After the accidental death of that newly wed girl whose name was Jaai she became goddess of people residing nearby area.And till now she is worshipped as an Amsa of Kali,hence the name of the place.