People always remember the best. More often than not, the human psyche doesn’t remember or give significance to anything else. Ansupa Lake is one such unfortunate wetland jewel of the state that until recently was facing the danger of extinction. Shadowed under the presence of the world-famous Chilika Lake, this unique horseshoe-shaped water body is the largest natural freshwater lake in Odisha.
Situated near the bank of River Mahanadi, it is surrounded by Saranda hills on the western side and Bishnupur hills on its northern side, both being a part of the Eastern Ghats. The lake is of national importance due to its unique biodiverse flora and fauna. It is home to 9 species of submerged, 12 and 26 species of floating and emergent aquatic plants. It is also home to 33 species of fish, 3 species of prawns, 10 species of reptiles and 50 species of migrant and resident birds. It is linked directly with the Mahanadi by a channel (Kabula Nalla), which acts as both an inlet and outlet, through which flood water enters the lake and excess water goes out after the flood. The road to the wetland meanders through verdant paddy fields and isolated water bodies with the Saranda hills serving as an ideal backdrop. During monsoons when nature rejoices, the hills and the vast agricultural fields erupt into fluorescent green, making the drive all the more entrancing. At the western end of the lake in the foothills of the erstwhile Saranda Garh, a beautiful park has been set up with boating facilities. The sight of white water lilies, budding lotus flowers and exquisite migratory birds against the blue backdrop is a sobering experience.