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According to a study by the National Institute of Oceanography(NIO), Chilika lake was once a part of the Bay of Bengal.
About Chilika Lake:
- Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lake located in the State of Odisha. A narrow spit separates it from the Bay of Bengal.
Evidence that Chilika Lake was once a part of Bay of Bengal:
- Archeological Studies: The marine archaeological studies clearly show that the Chilika once was a safe harbour for cargo ships going to Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.
- Palur Port: Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy(150 CE) described Palur as an important port of Kalinga and referred to it as ‘Paloura’. This port was situated close to Chilika lake from where ships used to sail directly to Southeast Asia.
- Stone anchors and hero stones (memorial stones commemorating ancient heroes) from Manikapatna, Palur and the adjoining onshore regions of the Chilika lake also suggest the same.
- Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (7th century CE) recorded ‘Che-li-ta-lo-Ching’ as a flourishing port. This port was located at Chhatargarh on the banks of the Chilika.
- The Brahmanda Purana (10th century CE approximately) says the Chilika was an important centre of trade and commerce with ships sailing to Java, Malaya and Ceylon.
Then how did Chilika Lake get separated from the Bay of Bengal?
- The process of the formation of the Chilika began around 20,000 years ago.
- India’s peninsular river Mahanadi carried a heavy load of silt and dumped part of it at its delta. As the sediment-laden river met the Bay of Bengal, sandbars were formed near its mouth.
- It created a backflow of the seawater into the sluggish fresh water at the estuary. It resulted in the huge brackish water Chilika Lake.
Note: Some studies also reveal that some tectonic movements saperated Chilika lake from the Bay of Bengal. It was due to the creation of a barrier split near Palur around 4,000 years ago.
Source: Down To Earth