Birder's paradise, they said.
Mangalajodi is a village located on the banks of the Chilika Lake, about 70 km outside Bhubaneswar city, on the highway that goes to Berhampur. The waters are marshy and brackish. The area basically consists of water with marshy vegetation, spread over a large area- basically as far as one can see.
The 'tourist' crowd here is very less, compared to Lake Chilika. The road is not tarred; it is a rough mud road that leads you into the area. The focus is to conserve and promote ecotourism, with least disturbance to the feathered beings.
When I had planned to visit Bhubaneswar, though I had heard of Manglajodi, I didn't think I would actually visit it, owing to little information available about the place. So how did we end up here?
Like normal tourists who visit Odisha, we set off to Chilika early morning. However, on reaching there and realising that you have to take a ride of a few kilometers on the water, I chickened out. Try as I might, my morbid fear of boating and the water, made us cut short the visit to Chilika.
On the way back, a small board off the National Highway 16 hinted towards 'Mangalajodi'. And the Ola Cab driver was kind enough to oblige to what might have seemed an unreasonable demand to him.
We drove through tiny villages, where children came out to wave at us. This made it obvious that the area saw very few vehicles. We were welcomed by these two blokes fooling around.
The best time to visit would be early morning. Despite being the beginning of Winter, it was quite hot, at the odd hour that we reached there- 12 o'clock. Lotuses grow in abundance. We also spotted a big group of water buffaloes, that looked quite pretty in the distance.
|Water buffaloes lounging around|
Again, we didn't take the boat, which is the best way to explore the place. I just walked along the mud road for a considerably long distance, and then walked back. And these are a few shots I got.
(I'm no birding expert and will NOT pretend to be one. That's the reason some pictures may not be named, and those that are- all thanks to Wikipedia. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.)
|Grey headed Lapwing - post bath session|
*Best time to visit: Early morning, October-March (for the migratory birds)
*Carry a hat and shades
*Carry water and something to eat. Except for an odd snack or two, NOTHING is available
*Carry a fully charged camera- there will be SO many things to click!