Birdwatching at Mangalajodi is an opportunity to witness the wintering Migratory Birds up close. Millions of Birds, every year, visit Chilika lake during Winter season from December to February. A substantial number of these birds choose to spend winter at beautiful wetlands of Mangalajodi.
Mangalajodi is basically a small village situated at the northern edge of Chilika Lake in Odisha. It has a unique and inspirational story of it’s own. Back in the days, villagers of Mangalajodi were known for their bird hunting skills to make a living. But owing to the importance of Mangalajodi, conservation group of Odisha carried out several awareness programs and turned these villagers from hunters to protectors. Now, they use their knowledge about birds in facilitating Bird Watching trips to Bird Watchers and nature enthusiasts. Every year, officials from Natgeo and other recognized organizations come here to record and study the birds during the migration period.
What is very unique about this place is that one gets to witness varied species of birds at a very close proximity. We happened to visit here towards the end of February. By this time, many migratory birds had already left, but still there were more than hundreds of species for us to witness and photograph.
Boating at Mangalajodi
Boating arrangements are done as per govt. norms. The charges are fixed and per trip cost is Rs. 1200/-. Mostly, these charges are covered in the stay package. One can even plan for a day visit and enjoy Bird Watching.
Boating is the best way to watch and explore the wetlands of Mangalajodi and capture some stunning Bird Photos up close.
Birds seen at Mangalajodi
During migration period lakhs and lakhs of migratory birds visit this part of lake. This wetland is a heaven for water birds. More than 200 species of Birds can be spotted here.
Sharing few images that I have processed so far. Ended up capturing thousands of pictures, will be processing them as time permits and share here. Look out for this space for more images of varied species that I managed to capture during my stay of two days here.
How to reach Mangalajodi
Mangalajodi is just about an hr and half drive from Puri. 75 Kms from Bubaneshwar and about 65 Km from Puri. Roads are in excellent conditions. You can either drive or book a cab to reach here. Since, this trip was part of my Road trip from Bangalore to Patna, so while returning Bangalore, we drove to Odisha. Checkout my other blog on my travel “Bangalore to Patna by Road” if you need to travel that route.
Where to Stay
Very limited options are available here, however, they all specialize in Bird Watching activities.
During our visit to Mangalajodi, we chose to stay at Mangalajodi Bird View Resort. They have all the basic amenities to make the stay comfortable, plus they will make all the necessary arrangements for boating in the serene wetlands of Mangalajodi. Each tour will be accompanied by a Bird guide who will help you spot birds and actions. The tour usually lasts for 2 hrs, however, they give special consideration to Bird Photographers and allow them for an additional hour or two without any additional charges.
The boating charges are part of the package which covers for one complimentary boating.
You can reach out to Mr. Manas, who owns this property. Very passionate about Birds and Wildlife. It was fun talking to him about Birds and Wildlife of the nearby places. He can be reached at the number: +91-98612 28560.
Just a note: Do not expect a 5 star hotel experience at Mangalajodi. All resorts here are focused to provide you a comfortable stay while enjoying nature at the Wetlands of Mangalajodi.
Food is hygienic and tasty. You will get to taste authentic Odisha cuisine here. You can try local fish and prawn. Breakfast is part of the package. Lunch and dinner is available at a nominal charge of Rs. 500/- per head. Better to opt for food from the resort, as you don’t have to go out hunting for food losing your valuable time.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Mangalajodi and Chilika lake would be between December to mid of Feb.
Note: If you are a bird watcher / photographer, avoid visiting between Mid of December to Mid of January, as the place gets quite crowded owing to new year tourism.
Other Birding Spots at Chilika Lake
There are other Birding spots at Chilika lake where you get to see Flamingos and other Wildlife. Stay tuned for another blog on it soon.
A small clip of Flamingos from the trip:
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