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Debrigarh’s Bat Island Introduces “Island Café” , a Unique Culinary Experience in the Lap of Nature

Debrigarh Sanctuary and Hirakud Reservoir Transform into a Wildlife and Tourism Hub

Bhubaneswar: Debrigarh Sanctuary and Hirakud Reservoir have witnessed a surge in ecotourism this year, attracting nature enthusiasts and foreigners to explore the rich biodiversity of the region. One of the highlights of this eco-tourism hotspot is the eastern side of the 7 sq. km Bat Island inside Hirakud, which has been transformed into an enchanting destination without compromising its ecological integrity.

Under the supervision of the Wildlife Organization and the Hirakud wildlife division authorities, the development on Bat Island has taken a sustainable approach, fostering employment opportunities for the locals and creating a unique culinary experience – the “Island Café.”

The Island Café, nestled between the grasslands connecting Hirakud Lake and the Debrigarh forests, offers seating for 60 to 80 tourists at a time. Open from 6 AM to 6 PM daily, visitors can enjoy breakfast and evening high-tea surrounded by the pristine beauty of the island. All amenities, including seating arrangements, are crafted from locally sourced palm trees, bamboo, and natural stones by the communities neighboring Debrigarh.

The Café provides a panoramic view of the turquoise waters of Hirakud Lake, stretching out in front, while rugged forested mountains and cliffs form a picturesque backdrop. The setting becomes magical during summer and winter evenings, as the calm and shallow waters echo with the calls of animals from the Debrigarh Sanctuary.

What sets the Island Café apart is its commitment to sustainability and its vintage look, achieved without any permanent construction. The café is situated on a 7 sq. km forest patch inside Hirakud Lake, home to around 1200 Indian Fruit Bats, also known as Indian Flying Fox. Connected to Debrigarh Sanctuary by a narrow strip of land, the island features temporary fishermen settlements that have been repurposed into the Island Café.

The Island Café, managed by the local fishermen communities, serves as more than just a culinary stop. Visitors can also purchase fresh Hirakud fish directly from the fishermen, turning the café into a hub for local produce. The fishermen communities, who were once temporary settlers on the island, have been employed to run the café, contributing to the sustainable transformation of the region.

For tourists, the Island Café experience is part of a package that includes a 30-minute boat ride by luxury cruise from Debrigarh Nature Camp to Bat Island. The island is open to visitors from 6 AM to 6 PM, and the cruise package, which includes breakfast or evening high-tea, is priced at Rs. 2500.

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