Kokkare Bellur – Of Pelicans and painted storks

Most of the times, getting to the destination is more interesting than the destination itself. I had one such experience while on the way to Kokkare Bellur.

I had been wanting to visit this place for a long time now. Every time I pass the sign-board on the highway , i vowed to make it the next time. The “next time” did not happen for a long time until a few days back  when I had made up my mind to visit this place.

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A brief about this place

Kokkare bellur is a small village , around 70 odd kms from Bangalore on Bangalore-Mysore highway. This village is well known for Pelicans and painted storks.

There goes a pelican

There goes a pelican

Getting there

Kokkare Bellur is 12kms off the Bangalore-Mysore highway. A nice and short drive of about an hour.

The signboard is very easy to miss. Here’s a tip as to when to look out for the signboard. After crossing the town of Chennapatna, and just before (5kms) the town of Maddur , a road branches towards the left and at the entrance of the road , you would see a small signboard mentioning this place.

The roads are decently motor-able with a few patches. I had a different kind of experience driving.

During the harvest season the “Raagi” straws are tied in bundles and they are laid down on the road. The reason is simple. The straws get thrashed under the wheels of the vehicles passing by. Thee bundles are removed and the fine particles are collected , refined and sent to the factory for further processing.

Carpet of straws on the road

Carpet of straws on the road

Driving on the “Raagi” bundles is a different experience,.General tendency is to speed up once you get on the bundle of ragi sticks. Might not be a good idea as there is not enough friction between the tyres and the bundle of sticks.

After what looked a eternity, I finally reached the village of Kokkare bellur. If you are expecting to see a signboard which will point you to a “bird sanctuary” or similar, you would be disappointed. It took a while for me to realise that there is no designated place where you need to head to. I did see many cars go up and down the village trying to look for a “Park” where they would get to see pelicans. Finding none, all headed back. Not wanting to go back without seeing a few birds, I wandered into the village and parked in an open field.

As i stood wondering where to go, company came calling in the form of an 13 yr old boy who volunteered to guide me around :-) . Thanks to him , I did get to see quite a number of Pelicans perched on a couple of tree tops. Did manage to get some close shots of the birds. As I was leaving, he asked me for a “blue pen”. Luckily I found one in the car and gave it to him. The smile he had on seeing that was awesome. I left the place with a sense of fulfillment :-) .

mah local guide :-)

mah local guide :-)

The best time to visit here is between Jan and March, when the painted storks arrive here as well. The Simha river which flows through this village is also a nice place to have some time off :-)If you pack enough eatables, you could spend the entire day in peace and tranquility here watching the birds or on the banks of the river. After spending some time here, I headed back again through the barrage of Raagi sticks on the road and by the time I hit the main road, I had collected enough of raagi sticks in the undercarriage of the car to make a meal for two :-)

Raagi straws collection

Raagi straws collection

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