Once the preferred picnicking destination of the Vizianagaram Maharajas and the British officials in the pre-Independence era; Kondakarla Ava is a large freshwater picturesque lake cradled in the foothills of the Eastern Ghats. Just about a 60 km drive from the city, this is a favoured spot for migratory birds and innumerable exotic Indian species. The tranquil waters of the lake surrounded by coconut trees on one side and green hills all around provide a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. This is an area of rich aquatic biodiversity with lotus, fish and hundreds of species of resident avifauna and migratory birds.
In a world of its own, even the boats plied by the fishermen and local boatmen are unique – the catamarans are prepared by joining two logs of palm trees and fashioning a seat across by placing a wooden plank or wooden bed over it. There are also canoes built from hollowed out palm trees logs. Being a natural habitat of numerous species of marine life, the lake attracts many migratory birds between November and February. Apart from the migratory birds of Siberia, the pristine freshwater lake is a habitat for more than 100 species of birds and 25 fish varieties. In fact, the main attraction to this tourist spot is the plethora of birds including storks, herons, cormorants and egrets that flock here in season. Besides fishing, boat rides, catamaran sailing and kayaking are the prominent activities carried out in the lake.
The lake, spread over 1,832 acres between Munagapaka and Atchutapuram mandals, provide a lifeline to 21 villages. It is fed by river Sarada, which flows through the eastern part of Visakhapatnam and empties into the Bay of Bengal. Unfortunately however, rapid urbanisation is endangering the ecosystem and bio-diversity of the lake. Surrounded by lush green fields and hills, the Kondakarla Ava is dotted with green coconut trees. This picturesque locale can be approached from Vadrapalli or from Kondakarla village. There are no tourism facilities here, except for a recently developed private guest house.
Photography : B Sri Ram Murty