Chilika Lake

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    In News 

    • Thousands of migratory birds have been spotted in Chilika lake a little early this time. 

    About Chilika Lake

    • It is Asia’s largest and world’s second-largest brackish water lagoon after The New Caledonian barrier reef.
      • A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, such as reefs, barrier islands, barrier peninsulas, or isthmuses.
      • It has been listed as Ramsar Site as well as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site.
      • In 1981, Chilika Lake has designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
      • Physical Features:
        • Chilika is 64 kilometres long in the north-south direction and 13.5 km wide in the east-west direction.
        • It is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha.
        • It is located at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km2.
      • Significance:
        • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent and is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
    • Major attraction at Chilika is
      • Irrawaddy dolphins are often spotted off Satapada Island.
      • Kalijai Temple – Located on an island in Chilika Lake.
      • Nalabana Island (Forest of Reeds) covering about 16 sq km in the lagoon area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1987.

    Process of Formation

    • The process of the formation of the Chilika might have begun in the latter part of the Pleistocene epoch, around 20,000 years ago.
    • India’s peninsular river Mahanadi carried a heavy load of silt and dumped part of it at its delta.
    • As the sediment-laden river met the Bay of Bengal, sand bars were formed near its mouth.
    • These created a backflow of the seawater into the sluggish fresh water at the estuary, resulting in the huge brackish water lake.

            Source: DTE