Kumarakom
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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

"I am the eagle, I live in high country,
in rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky;
I am the hawk and there`s blood on my feathers,
but time is still turning they soon will be dry;
All those who see me, and all who believe in me,
share in the freedom I feel when I fly."

-- John Denver (American Singer and Song Writer)

The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 16 kms west of Kottayam in Kumarakom. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is spread across 14 acres on the eastern banks of Vembanad Lake, known for its varied avian population. Also known as the ornithologist`s paradise, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the most favorite hubs of migratory birds. The region was once the site for the rubber plantation and is a haunt for a variety of domestic and migratory birds. Some of the birds flock here from the Himalayas, and even some birds come from the snow-kissed hills of Siberia. During the rainy season some of the India`s most spectacular avians gather in their optimum haunts to court their mates and nest in huge colonies in the trees that line the paths of the sanctuary.

October to February is the time for traveling birds, such as the garganey teal, osprey, marsh harrier and steppey eagle, while May to July is the breeding season for local species, such as the Indian shag, pond herons, egrets and darters. Early morning is the best viewing time. The best option to visit the sanctuary is by foot by a one and half km long walking track. Most of the species of the birds are spotted on the track. One can also opt to take a boat ride, which brings you, closer to waders like waterfowl and ducks and some fliers like parrots, larks and flycatchers.

The sanctuary turns into a transit point during the months of November to February for the migratory birds. The main attractions are local birds like the water fowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. The sanctuary contentedly hosts more than a few hundred varieties of local birds. Apart from the local birds every year, over 60 species of migratory birds flock here in large numbers. A large variety of fish, mussels and crabs is also found in the Sanctuary. One can also see a variety of species of butterflies and moths quiver by. There is also a variety of species of mudskippers, crabs, and turtles found on the shoreline. One can also find fish and even crocodiles deeper in the water.

Along with the birds, the animals which are found in the sanctuary include Bears, Elephants, civet cats, lion-tailed macaque, Deer, monkeys, Tigers, Neelgai Tahr, Wild Pigs, Leopards, deer, squirrels including the Malabar giant squirrel. A wide variety of snakes like Python, Cobra, Cipher, Rat Snake, and Iguana are also seen in the park. One should plan a visit to Kumarakom, to enjoy the incalculable show of avian acrobats.

Timing: 6 am to 6.30 pm

Entry fee: For Indian - Rs 5 and for foreigners - Rs 45

Best Time to Visit: Between November and March

Updated on November 2008