Kokkare Bellur / Kokrebellur
Bangalore in Karnataka is blessed with several natural beauties around it. Most of them are less known, and yet a visit to these places can pleasantly surprise you in many ways. One such place is a small village called Kokkare Bellur/Kokrebellur, which is located in Mandya district of Karnataka. A visit to this village can keep you wondering about the amazing relationship of birds and humans. The village is named so due to high presence of storks (called Kokkare in Kannada). While there are numerous storks that have made this village their home, you can also spot several other birds like pelicans, parakeets, herons among many others.
Painted Stork at Kokkare Bellur
Kokkare Bellur is not a bird sanctuary. This is a village inhibited as usual by humans. The locals do farming for their living. The birds co-exist and mingle freely with the villagers. You can spot the birds everywhere in the village, on tree tops, on top of houses, on roads, on fields and just everywhere. The locals treat the high presence of birds as a blessing in disguise, as the droppings from these birds are rich in potassium and forms rich manure that is needed for cultivation. It is this wonderful bonding between the humans and the birds that makes this village so special.
It is during early October when the winged visitors start making the trees in this village as their home. Their population grows gradually during the next few months. The tamarind trees in the village are a favourite among the birds. Each tamarind tree is home to about 30-40 birds. Towards late winter season, the birds start laying eggs. The season of late February or early March is the time of heavy activity. It is during this time that the eggs hatch, and the birds are busy fetching food for their fledglings. The nearby River Shimsha provides and endless supply of fish. The birds hunt the fish and carry them to the nest to feed the new born. During the summer season, the locals have also observed the birds carrying water from the river, to sprinkle it on the nest. If there is a high rise of temperature during summer, the birds migrate to some other location, only to return after monsoon!
The locals of the village are so connected that the birds are treated as one of their family members. Some villagers go on to say that these birds are like daughters. They come to their home for delivery, take care of their new born, before going elsewhere!! The villagers also observed that the same birds come year after year. Surprisingly, they also occupy the same tree when they are back in October!
Kokkare Bellur is located at around 85 km from Bangalore, slightly off Bangalore-Mysore Highway near Maddur. It takes about two hours drive/ride from Bangalore. The deviation to Kokkare Bellur is very easy to miss, and hence keep your eyes towards the Karnataka Tourism board as you approach near Maddur. The route from the highway to Kokkare Bellur runs almost on the banks of River Shimsa (a tributary of River Cauvery).
Every cloud has a silver lining!
To visit Kokkare Bellur, you can take public transport/bus and get down at Maddur. From there, you can hire local vehicles to visit the village. The best option is to hire a car/bike and drive down. If you are planning for a full day trip, you can also visit the nearby Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and spend a beautiful evening watching the musical fountains at Brundavan Gardens before heading back to Bangalore.
Where to stay?
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