Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kavanattinkara Saktheeswaram Temple Road, Kavanattinkara, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563, India
About Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Home for native and migratory birds from the Himalayas and Siberia.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary) is located on the banks of Kavanar River and Vembanad Lake. It is spread over an area of 14 acres, home to native as well as migratory birds.
The sanctuary was developed in a rubber plantation by Alfred George Baker who laid the foundation of Kumarakom Town by reclaiming 500 acres of wetlands from Vembanad Lake during the 1840’s. The sanctuary was formerly known as Baker’s Estate. Currently the sanctuary is managed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).
Bird life at the Sanctuary
The main attraction are the local birds such as waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron, cormorant, moorhen, darter and brahmini kite. Migratory birds such as Siberian crane, parrots, teal, lark, flycatcher are seen here during their migratory seasons between November and May. The migratory birds come from the Himalayas and Siberia.
Exploring the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The sanctuary is set within a lush wooded land with water from Vembanad Lake and Kavanar River surrounding it in two of its sides. A hotel run by KTDC operates inside the sanctuary and visitors have to pass through its gates to enter the sanctuary. The hotel and the premises are well maintained, but the sanctuary is kept without any developments so that the nature is undisturbed. The main gate has parking spaces, small coffee shops, and offices. There is also an interpretation centre offering videos and photos of various birds visiting the sanctuary at different months every year.
The trail starts from the interpretation centre near the main entrance. There is a small butterfly garden at the start of the trail. The trail has a length of 2 km (in either direction) and there is no exit gate at the end. Visitors should walk back through the same trails to the entrance gate after seeing the birds. In the midway of the trail is an abandoned boat jetty. There is a sign board showing the distance to the sanctuary from various places like Alappuzha, Kochi, and Kottayam. The sign board was in use when the boat service used to exist in past.
The trail takes the visitor further inside the sanctuary where all the birds are located. It is very unusual to see the birds on the trail and that makes many visitors return back halfway without realising that the birds are concentrated at the end of the 2 km trail. There are three watch towers in total and the first two offers good view of the area - the woods and the lake but rarely the view of any birds.
The last watch tower is from where all the birds and their nests can be viewed. Hundreds of white and black birds which include cranes and Indian cormorants stand on top of the trees in the area. There are plenty of birds as well as their nests. Many of the birds fly randomly and its rather surprising to see almost all the birds in the sanctuary located in the 500 meters radius at the end of the 2 km trail.
There are multiple kinds of cranes, and hundreds of Indian cormorants on top of the trees. Cormorants are the most commonly found birds around the water bodies of Kerala. Inexperienced bird-watchers will not spot too many varieties of birds in a single visit, but if you dedicate time to bird watching for a few weeks you will be able to see more than 30 species of birds.
How to reach the sanctuary by public transportation
The sanctuary is situated at a walkable distance from nearby Kumarakom Town which is located in Kottayam District of Kerala State in Southern India. The nearest city is Kottayam (16 km) from where there are direct buses to Kumarakom. Kottayam houses the nearest major railway station and connects the city to most other parts of the country.
Best time to visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The best times to be at the sanctuary are between June and August. It is the breeding season of the native wetland birds. Between the months of November and May the bushes and the woods of the sanctuary hosts migratory birds. In anytime of the year, visit the sanctuary as early as possible in the morning. It is the best time to spot the birds.
Attractions near Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Largest lake in Kerala where visitors can cruise through in houseboats.
A lush green island in the middle of a lake, home to many species of birds.
One of the oldest and biggest temple in Kerala, rich in its historical backgrounds and architecture.
Rated as one of the worlds top five HAMMOCK BEACH by National Geographic Survey. Peaceful place, good climate, away from the city crowd.
One of the major pilgrim centers of Christians in Kerala, and an architectural marvel.
Built in 1862, Alleppey Lighthouse(Alappuzha Lighthouse) is the first of its kind on the Arabian coast of Kerala. Alappuzha, where the lighthouse stands was one of the busiest ports and centers of Kerala during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Where is Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Discover more attractions in Kottayam, where Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located
The land of panoramic paddy fields, highlands, hills, hillocks, rubber plantations.
What visitors say about Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
The hike through the sanctuary was very nice, took two hours to complete. There were some viewpoints in between where you can see the houseboats cruising through the lake, and there were two watch towers from where you will be able to look at the canopy. Unfortunately we did not spot any birds during our visit, may be since we were there afternoon.
What we saw was some monitor lizards and a small snake, and the water channels looks very beautiful with different watermosses floating on top of them