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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mangalajodi Wetlands,Odisha

There are several places in India which are unique for reasons of their own. If you travel between cities India looks same whichever city you go, from Ahmedabad to Bangalore to Bhubaneswar cities in India have same colour, same brands of coffee, hotels, shopping complexes and cinema theatres and people in and out of these places also look similiar .But when you move out of cities into the other "india" you start noticing its richness, diversity and uniqueness of every place. These places are rich in their flora and fauna, diverse in their customs and culture and here lies the true India and its richness. The place which I am about to describe is a small village in the state of Odisha in eastern India. This village with a population of around 10,000 humans is situated n the district of Khurda , and about 75 Kms from the capital of Odisha ,Bhubaneswar. But not many people with whom i talked knew  about Mangalajodi even in the city of Bhubaneswar.Mangalajodi village is in the northern most part of Chilika lake ( Chilika Lagoon ). Chilika is the largest brackish water lagoon in India and the second largest in the world with an area of 1100 sq.Kms. This lagoon is connected to Bay of Bengal.(see on map). This lake is declared as a wetland of international importance . Chilika lake is one of the largest wintering place for nearly a million of migratory birds with more than 160 species of birds visiting the place for winter.
Mangalajodi is the winter home for nearly 200,000 birds in peak winter . The story of Mangalajodi is interesting . Till 2000, this place was considered as poachers paradise where people were engaged in poaching the birds and their eggs and meat transported to cities . In the year 2000 when bird census was held ,the population of birds was said to be around 5000 .This was when conservationists and environmentalists took up the challenge of motivating villagers who are largely fishermen, into conserving the population of migratory birds . Many organisations and people were involved but the efforts of Wild Orissa are significant and the results of their hard work can be now seen that the village which was once considered as poachers village now transformed into naturalists village and this year 2013 January census showed more than 150,000 birds population .The time I visited was at the fag end of winter ,March first week with many birds already left the place. But still I could see many birds and some of them I had seen for first time. There are thousand of Purple more hens, open billed storks, Grey headed lapwing, Wagtails , pipit, Pied starling, hope, Kingfisher, Myna, Redwattled lapwing, Sandpipers , Snipes, plenty of Black tailed Godwits, Blackwinged Stilts, stints, Bluethroat, Kite, Harrier, Black shouldered kite, Ruddy shelducks. There are little ringed plovers, Pacific plover, Ruffs, Black headed Ibis, grey heron purple heron, cormorants, and many many more. In the peak season many more species which are unique to this place can be seen. There are two ways of birding here one by walking on the 3.5 kms of nature trail and second most prefered is by boat. For both you need a guide .
This is not a holiday travel destination and hence there are no resorts or big hotels. You can get good accommodation at Mangalajodi ecotourism cottages at a reasonable cost . This place is a community owned venture started two years ago. They have made good improvement in their quality of stay and food going by what I have read from experience of previous travellers. They can be visited on web at . Mr Shashank and his team there do everything within their limits to make your stay memorable and your purpose of visit fulfilled. The boating is also arranged by them each boating is of 3 hours duration and accompanied by an eco guide. The other hotel  which I saw there though I have no idea and details is the Godwit cottage.
But Mangalajodi is a special place for birding , a village where its bird population is ten times more than  human population and a village where once poachers are now protectors, a place where you can have birding at ease , a place still not exploited by commercial tourism . Some of the winter migrants travel more than 12,000kms to reach these places
Best time to visit is between November-February. Even in month of March you will still be not disappointed. You can reach Mangalajodi from Bhubaneswar by road. about 75kms on BBSR-Chennai road on NH 5 .


  1. very nice photoes. Seems like one of the places to visit before it succumbs to human greed

  2. hi,
    i love your blog!fantastic photography.thanks for information!

    Odisha Property

  3. Lovely post and pics, I am visiting Manglajodi in Dec, hope to get some good shots.

  4. Sir I am happy about your achivement in medical & photography ( birds ) field..!

  5. Sir I am happy about your achivement in medical & photography ( birds ) field..!

  6. The photos and info provided here are really nice. I am looking forward to visiting Mangalajodi soon. Could you please share as to which lens did you use for the bird pics?