Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India located in state of Andhra Pradesh 15 kilometers away from the city of Eluru. Kolleru is located between Krishna and Godavari deltas. Kolleru spans into two districts - Krishna and West Godavari. The lake is fed directly by water from the seasonal Budameru and Tammileru streams, and is connected to the Krishna and Godavari irrigation systems by over 67 major and minor irrigation canals.
This lake is a major tourist attraction. Many birds migrate here in winter, such as Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks. The lake was an important habitat for an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds, including the grey or spot-billed pelican (Pelecanus philippensis). The lake was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in November 1999 under India's Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, and designated a wetland of international importance in November 2002 under the international Ramsar Convention. The wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 308 km2.
The sanctuary has the following watch towers for sighting the birds.
Atapaka: 1.5 km from Kaikaluru to see varieties of waterfowl. Murthyraju tank 8 km from Nidamarru East Chodavaram: 25 km from Eluru where openbill storks nest in colonies from July to December.
Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) in Kolleru
The sanctuary is approachable from all four sides of the lake by road, directly to the following places.
- Atapaka - 2.5 km from Kaikaluru town
- Bhujabalapatnam - 6 km from Kaikaluru
- pallevada - 9 km from kaikaluru town
- Kovvada Lanka - 7 km from Kaikaluru town Murthiraju Tanks - 8 km from Nidamarru
- Gudivakalanka - 3 km from Gudivakalanka or 15 km from Eluru.
- Prathikola Lanaka or 19 km from Eluru. The nearest city is Eluru, which is 35 km by road.
- Kolletikota - 18 km from Kaikalur.
The climate of the region is characterized by dry, hot, and humid weather. Maximum temperature shoots up to 45 degree celsius in summer and the minimum temperature dips down to 14 degree celsius in winter during the period between December and January.
The period between November to March is considered the best time to observe these itinerant birds in the sanctuary.