Odisha

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37. EX­PLOR­ING THE EERIE MAN­GROVES OF BHITARKANIKA

About three-and-a-half hours from Bhubaneswar, Chand­bali is the last land des­ti­na­tion be­fore you en­ter the marshy ter­rain of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary ( bhi­tarkanika­na­tion­al­park.com) by boat.

It’s an eerie, dark world in­side Bhitarkanika, the sec­ond-largest man­grove ecosys­tem in the coun­try, with the wa­ters full of rep­tiles and the weird and haunt­ing pneu­matophores, bet­ter known as breath­ing roots. A tour of the man­groves is un­for­get­table – but be­ware, the salt­wa­ter crocs in­side are one of the most threat­en­ing species in the world.

38. BOAT­ING ON CHI­LIKA LAKE

About two hours from Bhubaneswar, a soft ad­ven­ture awaits you and your fam­ily. The largest brack­ish-wa­ter lake in Asia, and a site favoured by bird watch­ers around the world, Chi­lika Lake ( oris­sa­tourism.org/

chilka-lake) is vis­ited by hun­dreds of mi­gra­tory birds in the win­ter and makes for a great day trip. Take a boat out to Sat­a­pada Is­land or Nal­a­bana Is­land for the best look at lo­cal birds as well as the chance to spot the en­dan­gered Ir­rawaddy dol­phins.

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