Chilika – Jewel Of Odisha

Shekar Dattatri

Asia’s largest brackish water lake and lagoon, Chilika, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), was considered a dying wetland until the late 1990s. But thanks to scientific restoration by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), it is once again a vibrant refuge for wildlife and a reliable source of livelihood for local communities.

In 2013, wildlife and conservation filmmaker, Shekar Dattatri, produced two films on the lake for CDA: ‘Chilika – Jewel of Odisha’, a 21-minute documentary on the lake’s biodiversity and conservation challenges, and ‘Managing Chilika’, a 15-minute film that looks at the lagoon’s restoration in more detail and showcases the work of CDA.

The 1165 sq km Chilika Lake is the largest wintering ground for waterfowl on the Indian subcontinent, attracting migrants from Europe, Central Asia and Siberia. It is home to the highly endangered Irrawaddy dolphin, and is a treasure trove of other biodiversity. In 1981, it was designated as India’s first Ramsar Site.

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