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.
At a distance of 95 Kms from Vijayawada & 349 Kms from Hyderabad, Kolleru Lake is a large freshwater lake spread over an area of 300 Sq. Miles between Krishna and Godavari delta. It is home to migratory birds between October and March every year.
Now declared as Bird Sanctuary, the lake is a great picnic spot and a paradise for birdwatchers. The lake was an important habitat for an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds. The visitors include Open Bill Storks, Painted Storks, Glossy Ibises, White Ibises, Teals, Pintails, Shovellers, Red-Crested Pochards, Blackwinged Stilts, Avocets, Common Redshanks, Wigeons, Gadwalls and Cormorants, etc.
The lake is approachable from all four sides of the lake by road: Atapaka - 2.5 Kms from Kaikaluru & 25 Kms from Eluru, Murthiraju Tank - 8 kms from Nidamarru & 45 Kms from Eluru, Gudivakalanka - 15 kms from Eluru. Watchtowers are available at these places for bird watching. Eluru is connected by frequent buses from Vijayawada.
Current state of the lake
Thousands of fish tanks were dug up effectively converting the lake into a mere drain. This had great impact in terms of pollution, leading to difficulty in getting drinking water for the local people. This is in addition to the loss of ecological diversity and intrusion of sea water into the land masses and its fallout in terms of adverse influence on the rainfall pattern in this region. This imbalance has an adverse effect on the thousands of acres of crop in the upper reaches of sanctuary in view of stoppages water flow into the sea because of obstruction by bunds of the fish tanks that appeared illegally.
Kolleru lake contains numerous fertile islets called lanka's, many of the small ones are submerged during floods. The origin of unusual depression which forms the bed of the lake is unknown, but it was possibly the results of an earthquake. Therefore, many ancient villages are precepted in the bed of the lake as a result of floods and earthquake.
Two copper plates of the early Pallava dynasty have been found in the lake, tracing its history to Langula Narasimha Deva (Langulya Gajapathi Raju) a Ganga Vanshi Odisha king, (Oddiya/Odia raju)Vaddiya Rajulu/Vaddi. According to legend, the Gajapathi fort was located at Kolleti Kota on one of the eastern islands of the lake. The enemy general "muhammadan" probably a Bahamany general encamped at "Chiguru kota" located on the shores. In some ways, the lake protected the Odia forces. The enemy finally tried to excavate a channel, the modern-day Upputeru, so that the water of the lake would empty into the sea and the level would fall so that they could attack the Gajapathi fort.
The royal Odia army general sacrificed his own daughter to propitiate Gods and ensure his success against Muhammadan and her name was "Perantala Kanama". Therefore, the channel was called Perantala Kanama. Sri Peddinti Ammavari Temple is one of the oldest and famous temples found in Kolleru. The Suryavanshi Gajapatis of Odisha, on the height of their power in the 15th century, ruled over a kingdom extending from the Ganges river in the north to the Kaveri in the south under Gajapati Kapilendra Deva. But by the early 16th century, the Gajapatis lost great portions of their southern dominion to Vijayanagar and Golconda.
The Gajapatis were a medieval Hindu Suryavamsi dynasty of Kalinga- Utkal Odisha who ruled large parts of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. During the glorious reign of Kapilendra deva, the first Suryavamsi Gajapati emperor, the boundary of the Kalinga empire (Ancient Odisha) stretched from river Ganges in North to Kaveri in South and from Amarkantak in West to Bay of Bengal(Kalinga Sagara) in east. This lake has a disaster story regarding a quotation many people use it when they lost everything "Na kompa kolleru aiyindi ". It meant that back in '50s, many of the people of Telaprolu village head family's had invested and bought lands near kolleru lake, but due to expansion of lake, they lost all their properties.