Location: 13 km from Bangalore – Mysore highway after Chanapatna if you are traveling from Bangalore
Distance: Around 75 km from Bangalore
Route: Bangalore – Mysore road – Kengeri – Bidadi – Ramnagaram – Chanapatna – left turn at Kokkere Bellur board (13 km from this turn) – Kokkere Bellur
How to Reach there: The best is private vehicle as public transport is not that frequent. However, you can come upto Maddur by KSRTC bus and then from Maddur to Kokkere Bellur by other bus.
Where to eat: There is no restaurant to eat in Kokkere Bellur. However, you can eat at Coffee Day on Bangalore – Mysore highway near Chanapatna or at Kamat Upahar or at any dhabas.
What to see: Beautiful migratory birds
Kokkere Bellur is a nondescript village located in Mandya district of Karnataka. Here every year in the month of January migratory birds particularly painted stork and Pelicans arrive here in huge numbers. They typically nest on Tamarind trees. The bird Painted Stork is known as Kokkere in Kannada, the local language and this is how the village got its name. The forest department compensates every villager on whose trees the birds nest so that they do not harm those trees. Indeed a good concept.
About our trip:
To the see the birds you must be in Kokkere Bellur by 7 am. Even better if you can reach earlier. We started around 4.45 am in the morning from Marathahalli. We decided to take NICE road so drove all the way to Hosur road to get on NICE road. From there to Mysore road via NICE road cost Rs 30 per bike. Apart from that the route was also longer. So I suggest you unless you are staying in the vicinity of NICE road junction on Bannerghatta road or Hosur road do not take NICE road. Go for Mysore road as it will be traffic free during dawn and wont cost you anything. During our ride through NICE road in the dark it was chilling cold. We were looking for every cover to avoid the cold wind.
By the time we crossed Bidadi the sky started to clear up. Just after crossing Ramnagaram there is a lake on the left hand side besides the highway. It also has a beautiful garden lawn with sitting arrangement. There we saw a beautiful sunrise – one of the best I have ever soon. On the other side of the lake there is a mosque with trees in the background. The sun was rising from behind the trees with its first light falling on the lake making beautiful colour effect. After a bit of photography there we were on the road again. I suggest you look for a Kokkere Bellur board on the left hand side after you cross Chanapatna which will ask you to take a left turn. Take left turn there and ride of another 13 km to reach Kokkere Bellur. On the country road you will first find Tailur lake on the left hand side. If you would like you can have short break here for photography. Continue further and you will come to a circle, take left and within few meters look for an open gate on the right hand side. These open gates are typical in Karnataka villages. Go through the gate little further and look for birds on the trees. If you are confused ask the villagers for the actual spot of bird nesting.
That was one of the best bird sighting I had ever done. Beautiful painted stork and pelicans were all over the trees. Painted stork has large sharp beck and long thin limbs. They are no wonder called Painted stork as they look like someone has painted them very carefully. Pelicans on the other hand are huge birds with a huge beck. Also, they make lots of noise. I was told by one villager that most bird arrives after January 15. So plan your trip after Jan 15. I suggest you walk through the village settings however make sure not to harm any paddy field or surroundings.
Kokkere Bellur is amazing for bird photography. However, note that to shoot birds you would need an advanced point and shoot camera or an DSLR with telephoto lens. For high zoom point and shoot cameras I suggest Cannon SX130, SX 20 and SX30 and Nikkon L110 or P100.
Note: River Shimsha is nearby. You can also visit there.
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