This village holds a brief for pelicans

This village holds a brief for pelicans

My first brush with the place was when I visited it with my uncle, E Hanumantha Rao, who was a wildlife photographer. Watching birds at such close proximity had made an impression on me. I longed to go back, but managed it only recently, a good 25 years later. There were so many of them: spot-billed pelicans and painted storks. They looked so huge from such close quarters.

Kokkare Bellur gets its name from the birds - village of storks. The village didn’t seem to have many people, and even if it did, not many of them came out or disturbed the birds. There were hardly any buildings around, except for a katte (platform).

We travelled about 75 km on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, past Channapatna towards Maddur. Before Maddur, we had to turn left into Rudrakshipura village. The signboard indicates Kokkare Bellur rather than the village name. From here, it is a 12-km drive on the village road.

We reached the village finally, but for a while we were wondering where the trees had gone. Then we realised that all that open space had now been filled up with houses and shops. It looked like the entire village had concentrated around the trees. Brick houses were built a few feet away from the trees.

Obviously everyone wanted a piece of action. Once Kokkare Bellur got on the tourism map, the villages must have realised the importance of the place and decided to move in closer. The season to visit is December to January when the birds are in large numbers.

You can drive up to the village in a private vehicle or take the bus till Maddur. From there you can take autos or other vehicles.

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