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Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary: A Complete Travel Guide

7 mins. read

Kerala is one of the leading tourist destinations of India that is famous as God’s Own Country. Stretching along the south-west coast, this narrow strip of land is a more tranquil and tropical version of the country. With storybook landscapes, idyllic palm-lined beaches, emerald sparkling water, and lush green tea plantations, the region truly lives up to its title.

It is not just the traveller’s paradise for its beauty but also serves as a home to distinct species of flora and fauna. There are several famous bird sanctuaries in Kerala that attract birdwatchers from across the world. Among them is the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, a pearl of India’s ecological crown, that is visited by nature lovers for splendid birdwatching tours. This pictorial sanctuary is spread over 14 hectares of land where visitors can spot beautiful native and migratory birds from the Himalayas to Siberia.

About the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

Located on the banks of Vembanad lake in the Kumarakom village near Kottayam in Kerala, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is one of the favourite haunts of migratory birds in the state. Famed as one of the most captivating bird sanctuaries in India, it is home to a myriad of colourful and exotic birds from different corners of the world. Set on the southern banks of the Kavanar River amidst the silent backwaters and lush greenery, this densely thick forest also serves as an ideal source of food and habitat to thousands of native and migratory birds in Kerala.

The history of this pictorial bird sanctuary dates back to 1847. The place was earlier known as the Baker’s Estate by the name of Alfred George Baker who developed the wetlands of Vembanad Lake into fertile land, which is known as the Kumarakom village. Baker planted several mangrove trees in the area on the banks of River Kavanar, and soon several local and migratory birds adopted the place as their home. Owing to this, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary became the first scientifically formed and preserved bird sanctuary in India.

This was the starting of the formation of Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, locally known as Kumarakom Wildlife Sanctuary, which is now among the most famous places to visit in Kumarakom, Kerala.

Ecological System in The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary

The sanctuary is home to almost 25,000 birds that belong to 180 species. Some of these are permanent dwellers like own, woodpecker, water hen, heron, egret, waterfowl, crane, and parrot, among other commonly found birds. Besides, over 90 species that include birds like darters, bitterns, brahminy kite, Siberian crane, marsh harrier, flycatchers, and many more, migrate from far away regions like the Himalayas and Siberia.

The sanctuary also offers an enriched environment with many mangrove trees, coconut groves, and green paddy fields. Together, these provide a perfect home for birds and also enhances the beauty of the sanctuary.

Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary Timings and Entry Tickets

Open hours for visitors are from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm on all seven days of the week. The entry fee to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is given below.

  • Indian Nationals: Rs. 50
  • Foreign Nationals: Rs. 150

Please note that there is a special fee for visitors willing to take their cameras or along.

All the details about the timings and entry fee are available on Kerala tourism’s website.

How to Reach Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary?

By Air: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is at a distance of 76.5 km from the Cochin International Airport via NH 66. From there, it takes approximately 1 hour 40 minutes to reach the sanctuary by bus or taxi.

By Rail: Indian railway runs a fair share of trains to connect Kottayam from the rest of the country. The sanctuary is at a distance of 16.6 km from the Kottayam Railways station via Kottayam-Kumarakom road and can be reached within 30 minutes with a local bus or taxi.

By Road: The sanctuary is within an hour’s drive from nearby cities, including Kochi, Kottayam, Kakkanad, and Alappuzha. Besides, Kumarakom is well connected to other parts of the country via state and national highways.

Attractions of The Bird Sanctuary

Spot the Siberian Crane

One of the most prominent visitors and a major attraction of the sanctuary are the Siberian Cranes. Also known as the snow crane, these exquisitely beautiful migratory birds travel an unbelievable distance of over 4,000 km from western Siberia to reach the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala, India. They brave bad weather, loss of habitat, and shooting ranges to seek refuge and survive during the unforgiving climate in their native region.

Take the Boat Ride

If walking is not your thing, you can take a boat ride in the Vembanad Lake to enjoy picturesque views of the lush greenery dotted with colourful birds of the sanctuary. These boating trips are extremely relaxing and bring you closer to nature, thereby providing an awestruck experience. You get a variety of houseboats and motorboats to choose from and spectate the charm of the place.

Visit the Butterfly Garden

Apart from being an alluring bird-watching site, the sanctuary also has an excellent butterfly garden that makes your long walks wonderful and exciting. It is known to have as many as 45 species of butterflies as identified by the Kumarakom Heronry. You can also spot different species of dragonflies and damselflies while taking a stroll in the garden.

Climb the Observatory Tower

There is an exciting observatory tower in the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary that is at a distance of 2 km from the entrance. While the walk itself makes you feel wonderful with the sound of birds twittering in the trees, climbing the observatory tower acquaints you to a beautiful view of numerous colourful birds dwelling in bliss and peace. Most of the visitors miss this opportunity because of the long walk it takes to reach the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary observatory tower, but the view from atop is worth the effort.

Best Time to Visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary in Kerala

The place is open for visitors around the year. However, travellers should book Kumarakom tour packages from June to August and November to February for the best unforgettable experience. These months of the year are considered the best time to visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary along with other bird and wildlife sanctuaries in Kumarakom.

March 22, 2021


Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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