(click on the image for a larger view)
Mangalajodi, a village in Tangi in the state of Odisha (India), is the northern edge of Chilka Lake, one of the largest wintering grounds for migratory birds in the Indian subcontinent, hosting more than a million birds from 230 species annually! Mangalajodi is also a unique conservation success story, where the efforts of a few committed locals helped transform a village that depended on bird poaching for subsistence, into protectors of those very birds. Today, Mangalajodi hosts a large number of birdwatchers, photographers and tourists every winter, earning the place a prominent spot on India's ecotourism map.
I was recently commissioned by 'Song of the Wild' to visit Mangalajodi and create an illustration of the place. The illustration will be a part of an art exhibition 'The Magic of Mangalajodi', being held in Bhuwaneshwar's Lalit Kala Akademi from the 7th to the 13th of December. Thanks to Mr. Avinash Khemka, a wildlife photographer and the brain behind the display, for hosting me at Mangalajodi, and to my friends Panchami Manoo Ukil and Bikram Grewal for making me a part of the show. Thanks also to my friend and scientist Tiasa Adhya, who is studying the Fishing Cat in the wetland, for helping me generously with information about the area, and to Mr. Madhu Behera, a poacher-turned-protector and tour guide, for showing me around.
Recommended reading on Mangalajodi: Panchami Manoo Ukil's article for Sanctuary Asia here.