Go birdwatching or take a scenic boat ride at Kondakarla Ava in Anakapalli

Surprisingly, Kondakarla Ava was once a favourite picnic spot for the Vizianagaram kings and the British officers post-Independence. This lake also supports around 21 villages in the state through the Sarada river.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  7 Aug 2022 7:42 AM GMT
Go birdwatching or take a scenic boat ride at Kondakarla Ava in Anakapalli

Visakhapatnam: Isn't it a joy listening to birds chirping and watching a colourful lotus while on a boat ride? Now you too can experience this at Kondakarla Ava, a lake and bird sanctuary located in Atchutapuram and Munagapakka mandals of Anakapalli district, just 60 km from Visakhapatnam. This is the second largest freshwater wetland in Andhra Pradesh.

Surprisingly, Kondakarla Ava was once a favourite picnic spot for the Vizianagaram kings and the British officers post-Independence. This lake also supports around 21 villages in the state through the Sarada river.

Favourite spot for migratory birds

For the last 40 years, Kondakarla Ava has become a precious habitat for about 100 species of migratory birds and 25 kinds of fish species. The lake which covers an area of 1,832 acres from Munagapaka to Atchutapuram mandals. The blue waters covered on both sides with coconut trees and green hills are a favourite spot for migratory birds and exotic animals. The most common birds seen at the lake are Grey Herons, Bee-Eaters, Black Drongo, and Red Whiskered Bulbul.



Take a ride on a local boat

Like a shikari ride in the Dal Lake of Kashmir, a ride in Kondakarl Ava's local boats is a must. Around 8-10 families depend on the boat rides, and they stay near the lake from early morning to evening. The boatmen make sure that you get a bunch of lotus flowers from the middle of the lake. They narrate stories from their childhood spent near the lake. The sanctuary is also known for its ancient temples of Lord Venkateshwara and Sri Dakshina Kasi Visweswara Swamy which houses the largest crystal lingam in the world.

Recent developments

While the Ava has never been a development site, over the last few years, it has gotten the attention of the tourism department. The lake now has a water bed for tourists to stand on and watch the view.

After a hectic effort by the district forest officer, the government of Andhra Pradesh has formed the Kondakarla Ava Wetland Management Committee. The 16-member committee will be headed by the district collector of Anakapalli who will be the chairperson. The district forest officer of Visakhapatnam will be the co-chairperson and convenor. Other members include district officers from irrigation, agriculture, PR, tourism, education, industries, fisheries, and horticulture departments; APPCB; and four experts and a representative from East Coast Conservation Team, an NGO.

"In order to manage the wetland and to conserve it as a habitat for birds and other wetland flora and fauna, the formation of the committee was necessary. The committee will meet once every quarter to discuss and take decisions on issues and activities related to management and conservation," said DFO Anant Shankar.

Prior to the formation of the committee, the Andhra Pradesh forest department was monitoring the wetland for the last few decades.

When to visit?

While it is a weekend getaway spot for locals, tourists coming to Kondakarla Ava lake can visit between November and February, especially to spot migratory birds.

PHOTO CREDITS:

-Srikanth Mannepuri (Wildlife Conservationist, Photographer and Filmmaker)

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