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Published: January 29th 2016
There are many interesting tourist places in and around Bangalore worth visiting although not so publicised. Kokkare Bellur is one such spot which we decided to explore on the 26th January i.e last Tuesday.
Our destination was a village in Mandya District, around 90 Kms from Bangalore. The name was slightly difficult to remember for me.
Myself along with my wife and son started our journey at around 12 PM in the afternoon. Myself and my son were on the wheel alternatively. We selected Koramangala-Bannerghata route with a brief drive trhu Kanakpura Road. After around 24 Km we reached the Toll Gate (Rs. 32/-) of Nice Road.
It was a nice day with bright sunshine. After driving around 8 Km further, we took a left turn to Mysore Road. Mysore Road used to be very crowded these days, but luckily there was not much traffic that day, may be due to Republic Day. A few kilometres after Channapatna we took left turn to a small road going to the village. There was a small signboard for deviation which could be missed easily. Fortunately we had Google Map as our guide.
The village was around 12 Kms from
here. Road was well maintained, but there was a rider. Villagers spread straws at various places on the road. Some of the places the quantum was huge which might create problems for bikers. For car it was OK.
We reached the place at around 2.30 PM. Our first reaction was a bit disappointing. We thought there would be a large lake or a forest where the birds would have gathered. But there was nothing of that kind. It was a small village by the roadside. There were big trees all around the village. At first look, it was like any other village we see normally. Birds were sighted but not as imagined by us in the beginning. Also, we are not regular Bird watchers.
There was one Bird interpretation Centre of Government of Karnataka. Local village boys playing nearby said that the centre closed due to republic day. Then they requested for pens to donate, which unfortunately we did not carry.
Nevertheless we finished our late packed lunch, nicely brought. Luckily we met Lokesh, a local resident attached to the Bird Centre, whom we approached for guidance. He readily accepted. Only problem was language since our knowledge
of local Kannada language was elementary.
He escorted us to the trees where the birds nested. Pelican and Painted storks selected separate trees for their habitat.
Most of those trees were located in between the village huts. There was huge chattering sound from the nesting birds, but hardly any reaction from the villagers. Villagers were performing their day to day activities as usual.
Head of the adult Painted storks are bare and orange or reddish in colour. The long feathers are tipped in bright pink colour. Rest of thebody was whitish, whereas Pelicans are mainly white in colour. They nested in separate trees. Painted Storks were more in number, compared to the Pelicans. Both the species are of threatened category of birds.
Kokkare is the local name of the beautiful bird, the “Painted Stork.” Unlike the regular bird sanctuaries, this is not a place with a nature park dedicated to birds but is a small village which pelicans and Painted strokes have literally made their home.
Season for bird watching is from December to May, but March-April is the peak period.
This village is one of the selected breeding centre of those birds. The
village is also near to Shimsa River (a tributary of Kaveri River). Birds get their food supplies from nearby waterbodies. We came to know that villagers often feed the birds with fishes.
This place gained wide recognition particularly between conservationists and bird lovers due to the harmonious relationship existed amongst the villagers and the birds. The villagers adopted these birds as their heritage for decades.
It’s really exciting and pleasing to see numerous such birds roaming around, without restraint, in the heart of the rural community.
This little village is a wonderful example of co-existence between nature and humans. No word is enough to appreciate their contribution.
We thanked our guide Lokesh. He noted our whereabouts in a notebook. We spent there upto 4.30 PM and took a good number of snaps of the birds in their different moods.
On our way back, we decided to visit the nearby Shimsha river. We parked our vehicle after crossing the bridge. There were large sugarcane fields on the banks of the river. Overall it was a nice view to enjoy.
We noticed large size fishes swimming in the river. Also we met one of the Angling
enthusiasts from Bangalore trying his luck from the river bridge.
On the way we refreshed ourselves at Kamat Lokaruchi (near Ramanagaram) restaurant with Bhajjis and tea.
Overall it was an amazing experience.
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