It is located 60-km away from Vijayawada near Eluru, West Godavari district. It is the largest fresh Water Lake in the country. This sanctuary extends over 673-sq-km (depending on water spread) of wetland and marshes surrounding the Kolleru Lake, between the Krishna and Godavari deltas. It is described as “Peerless Fisherman’s Paradise and Birds heaven” in the Imperial Gazetteer. It receives water from four rivers, namely Budameru, Ramileru, Tammileru and Errakalva and 18 drains. This lake empties its water into the Bay of Bengal, every 6 months through an outlet called ‘Upputera’.
The most famous bird of the lake was the Grey Pelican. Due to human disturbance and destruction of habitat, the Pelicans disappeared from the area. But it is a good feeding place for a variety of other aquatic and terrestrial birds like painted Storks, Egrets ,Grey Herons, Purple Herons, Night Herons, Open Bill Storks, Black Ibises, White Ibises, Moorhens, Cormorants, Water birds like Pintails, Teals, Shovellers, Black winged Stilts, Coots, Terns, etc. It is famous for the lake during winter as it offers a good feeding and breeding place.
The bed of Kolleru Lake has been used for ages to cultivate yerra vari, a native paddy variety. Since 1940 the cultivated area increased as the Britishgovernment granted pattas (title deeds) on payment of market value for the land. 1954 on, the government initiated cooperative farming and organised 93 farming societies on 2.1 million acres of the lake bed. By 1969, almost the entire lake came under cultivation with huge bunds (embankments) constructed to keep water out. The native paddy was replaced with shorter, high-yielding varieties requiring more fertilisers and pesticides. But floods threatened the cultivated areas every year. By 1980, people got disillusioned and abandoned agriculture. Fishing became the new fashion.
A Pelican Haven : This lake supports a rich biodiversity and high biomass of fish, plankton that forms the source of food for birds. Pelicans arrive here during the nesting season to raise their young. In winter great activity can be seen here. The babble of Pelicans can be heard a quarter of a mile away. Apart from pelicans, one can find grey herons, white ibis, pond herons, egrets and many migratory ducks and water birds.
Accommodation is not a problem as there are many hotels at Vijayawada and you can stay at the Forest Rest House at Eluru and Vijayawada.
Best season to visit November to March.
Rail: The nearest Railway station is Vijayawada, which is 60-km away from the Sanctuary.