Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Ripples In The Water: Odisha's Bright Horizon

Concentrated efforts by the Odisha government have ensured the state’s bright future in the water-based tourism front

Water-based tourism is growing in Odisha
Water-based tourism is growing in Odisha Somnath C / Shutterstock.com

Beaches, forests, temples - Odisha has an enviable combination of destinations that shine as beacons on the eastern state’s mainland. The highlight? A striking 480km long coastline, that does not need us to wax eloquent but speaks for its own myriad wonders. The beauty of uninterrupted sunsets that even the most honest representations fail to capture, the rush of adrenaline as one dives deeper into the pristine waters of Mahanadi, and the sheer calm of seeing thousands of birds mid flight - the surreal beauty of this state will leave you spellbound.

Beach Vibes

Puri Beach is a favourite among travellers
Puri Beach is a favourite among travellers

Crimson red, peachy orange or clear blue - the skies on Odisha’s beaches have many hues. What remains constant are the varied delights that each beach offers. Puri’s Golden beach, a surfer’s delight, is a benchmark in itself, being the first of India’s beaches with the Blue Flag certification. The Government of Odisha has taken up five more beach stretches for the coveted flag – Pir Jahania, Niladri and Muhan in Puri District, and Haripur and Pati Sonapur in Ganjam District. Chandrabhaga Beach, overlooking the iconic Konark Sun Temple, is famous for beautiful sunrises and sunsets while in the thick of watersports. 

What’s more, Eco Retreat, Odisha’s glamping extravaganza, will also feature three beach destinations, namely Pati-Sonapur beach, Sonepur beach and Pentha beach. Ramchandi Beach will also host Eco Retreat Konark. Enthralling views of fishermen in search of their catch will greet you on Bhitarkanika and Paradeep beachfronts, both of which have a quiet eclectic surf and sand life bubbling around. Popular or pristine, the golden beaches of the state offer an unmatched sense of tranquility. 

Boat Clubs Open Their Sail

The mighty Mahanadi, in addition to being the lifeline of the state, is also a driver of adventure tourism business in the arena of water sports. The Silver City Boat Club in Cuttack, revamped with an investment of approximately 2 crore rupees to promote water-based recreation in river Mahanadi, hopes to make Odisha a tourism hub in the coming years. The boat club, which had borne the brunt of Cyclone Fani, now has a floating jetty, booking counter and complex for lifeguards, toilet complex, a restaurant, adequate parking space and a park with children’s play area.  

Sunset at Mahanadi
Sunset at Mahanadi

A four-seater ‘floating restaurant’ is now the cynosure at the boat club, where nature lovers can relish delicious local fare under a crimson sky. Jet skis, water scooters, speed boats, day cruises, banana boats and inflatable boats, kayaking, canoeing and scuba diving also make sure there is no dearth of adrenaline fuelled activities for adventure enthusiasts. 

250 kms from Cuttack, Sambalpur is also being hailed as the gateway to Western Odisha’s tourism prowess. A boat club, cruises and floating restaurants are on the agenda to make Hirakud reservoir’s sparkling waters a coveted destination, not to forget waterfront hotels that provide visitors an unfettered view of the pristine blue. Visitors can also partake in water sports at the reservoir, adjacent to which, the Debrigarh Sanctuary is favourite among travellers. Stay at Eco Retreat in Hirakud for a vacation packed with adventure, wildlife, entertainment and culture in a luxurious glam camp setting.

A Sight For Sore Eyes

Once in Odisha, there is little that keeps visitors from experiencing Nature in its purest form. A way of life linked inextricably with the flora and fauna of the region, the biodiverse wetlands are a major draw for birds and people alike. Chilika lake — the most precious jewel in Odisha’s reserve —  is the biggest waterfowl habitat in the country, where millions of migratory birds rest their weary wings after a marathon flight. Around 1.2 million birds make Chilika their home every winter, offering a unique window to view them in splendour before they start their homeward journey as summer sets in. It is here in Odisha that bird watchers can flex their wings and put their cameras to use. 

Chilika Lake in Odisa
Chilika lake — the most precious jewel in Odisha’s reserve —  is the biggest waterfowl habitat in the country

A guided jungle safari and personalised treks also make Debrigarh Sanctuary, which is poised perfectly between the Hirakud Dam and Reservoir, rank high on wildlife enthusiasts’ agendas. Migratory birds and varied animals that find shade in the lush lands of Debrigarh, roam about at ease, making the area a great birding destination.

Mangroves spread as far as the eye can see! Enriched from the salts of the Bay of Bengal, Odisha’s Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India, with its deep backwaters making the best breeding grounds for salt water crocodiles. The eastern boundary of the sanctuary has the Gahirmatha Beach, where an Olive Ridley sea turtle colony nests away from prying eyes. An immersive tour of the sanctuary is often the best introduction to Odisha’s rich biodiversity. 

Stay here:

The Ecotour Nature Camps in the state offer unmatched experiences that won’t be heavy on your pocket. For more, head to https://www.ecotourodisha.com/
Find the sweet spot between luxury and leisure with  Eco Retreat Odisha – the state’s glamping festival. Read more at https://ecoretreat.odishatourism.gov.in