Nalabana Bird Sanctuary is a protected wildlife refuge located in the state of Orissa. Spanning an area of 1555 hectares of dense green forests, Nalabana Bird sanctuary is covered with water reeds. The Sanctuary is essentially one of the small islands inside Chilika Lake, which is connected to the Bay of Bengal towards its east. Chilika Lake is India’s largest brackish water wetland.
The Lake also gets heavy inflow of water from rivers Bhargavi and Daya. This mixing of fresh water and sea water helps the lake support large ecosystem of aquatic animals and birds. There are several bird species in Nalabana Bird Sanctuary that are resident species and many that are migratory birds. Some of the rarest migratory species found in the sanctuary are the Asiatic Dowitchers and Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The Island of Nalabana was declared a bird sanctuary in the year 1987 after observing the sheer number of diverse bird species found there. Chilika Lake experiences tidal fluctuations due to the changes in sea level. During monsoons, the entire Sanctuary is submerged under water with only few tree tops and watch tower above water level.
Nalabana Bird Sanctuary is situated in a region experiencing tropical type climate with ample rainfall. The South West monsoon brings an on-pour of rains between the months of July and October. The winter months between November and February are pleasant with minimum temperature around 6 degree centigrade. The summers are pleasant with temperature ranging between 20 and 25 degree centigrade.
Best Time to Visit
Ideally, the best time to visit Nalabana Bird Sanctuary would be between October and March. This is the time when the maximum number of migratory birds alt at the sanctuary. During the winters and peak summers, the island is above water level, making it approachable. Monsoons are generally not ideal for planning a trip to Nalabana as the rains are heavy and the sanctuary is submerged underwater.
Wildlife at Nalabana Bird Sanctuary
There are several species of birds and aquatic animals in the sanctuary that thrive due to the continuous water inflow to the lake. The lake officials also ensure regular de-weeding of the water to help in the sustenance of marine life. There are more than 150 species of fish and shrimps in the lake along with hundreds of bird species. Some of the important attractions of Nalabana Wildlife Sanctuary are enlisted below.
Lesser Flamingos, Flamingos, Grey herons, Egrets, Purple herons, Storks, Spoonbills, White Ibis, Shovellers, Brahminy Ducks, Pintails, Teals, River Terns, Gadwall, Pochards, white-bellied sea eagle, Geese Coots, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, osprey peregrine falcon, Goliath Heron, Asiatic Dowitchers, Long-legged waders, Pariah Kite, Brahminy Kites, ducks, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Marsh harriers, Peregrine Falcon and Kestrel.
Distance From Nearby And Major Cities
- Nayagarh – 120 km
- Bhubaneshwar – 127 km
- Kolkata – 568 km
- Nagpur – 870 km
- Patna – 958 km
- Chennai – 1144 km
- Pune – 1538 km
- Mumbai – 1685 km
- Delhi – 1705 km
- Chandigarh – 1954 km
- Jammu – 2297 km
The nearest airport to Nalabana Bird Sanctuary is located in Bhubaneshwar. The sanctuary is a two hour drive away from the airport.
Nearest Railway Station
Balugaon railway station is located at a distance of 12 kilometers from Nalabana Bird Sanctuary. Other nearby railway stations includes Kalupara Ghat and Khallikote railway stations both less than 25 kilometers from the sanctuary.
The nearest bus route to Chilika Lake ends at Satapada. NH 30 and 31 connect with the road along the banks of the lake.
There are a few guest rooms available in and around the lake which are made available by Orissa Tourism. These guest houses provide meals on demand and also offer facilities like swimming pools, water sports and tour guides. The rooms are exceptionally good and come in varying price ranges as per requirements. There are several other hotels available around the lake and in neighboring towns.