Our world is full of wonders that new and amazing places are discovered every day. And that's how, away from the usual tourist attractions of Mysore, we went ahead to few places unknown to non-natives yet attractive places. If you are on a weekend holiday and want to relax and walk around with your dear ones here are three sites that I would urge you not to miss!
Known as the bird watchers paradise, Karanji lake nature park will soothe your mind after a hectic week's work. As the name rightly suggests, it brings together the serene beauty of nature with a lake by the side. You will get to see about 17 species of birds such as the great and little cormorants, purple and grey herons, egrets, rose-ringed parakeets, green bee-eaters, painted storks and a variety of butterflies in an open area.
It was a rare experience to be with the birds around, where we can enter into the open aviary, which me and my family loved. Even if you are not an avid bird watcher, you will be happy to feel the serene and calm atmosphere. There is a special bird watch tower in the park which might give a happy high to the bird watchers in town. The tower is about ten meters high and it provides a beautiful panoramic view of the park and the lake.
We were amused to know about an interesting story attached to the lake park. It was previously Doddakere, a garbage dump, which got transformed into an ideal place for the birds to come and hang out. The lake park is situated in the heart of the city. One can get a breathtaking view of the Chamundi hills from the lake park. The scenic landscape was previously a neglected piece of land which was acquired by the Mysore zoo authorities in 1976 and was developed in to a bird heaven. Initially it had only a couple of painted storks visiting but now the lake park is frequently visited by a varied species of birds including the rare glossy ibis.
Half way through the park, there's a lake with boating point. My 2-year old kid was amused to see a fountain inside the lake. The park also has more than a 100 medicinal plants that are carefully raised and nurtured.
Reaching the Karanji Lake is just an easy stroll as it is around the corner of the Mysore Zoo on the Lalitha Mahal Road. Timing of the Karanji Lake Park is from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
Balmuri and Yedamuri falls
Another place that we decided to venture out was the Balmuri and Yedamuri falls. Who doesn't like to play in the water and have fun? Cauvery river flowing wide over a rocky bed, Balmuri and Yedamuri falls is the check dam that run across the river more like a wall trying to stop the flow. When the check dam is filled to the brim, water overflows in a neat long cascade. On one end is the Balmuri while the other is Yedamuri.
Further adding to your enjoyment, you can have the seasonal boat ride (Kotta Vanji). The scenery is great and the general ambience is relaxing. So that makes it an ideal picnic spot. It will be wonderful to visit the place during November- December especially when there is enough water to play with. Everytime we went, we saw people enjoying the water under the fall and also on the rocky outcrops protruding on the river bed.
Locating the falls is no big task as it can be reached taking a diversion from the KRS dam road.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
In addition to the above two places there's one more to add to the list i.e. Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. Located in the Mandya district of Karnataka, Ranganathittu is regarded as one of Asia’s most significant nesting and breeding ground for birds. While the sanctuary is known for its birds, there are enough species of animals to interest wild life enthusiasts.
The birds that can be spotted include the White Ibis, Lesser Whistling Duck, and Wolly-necked stork, Asian Open Bill Stork, Common Spoonbill and the Painted Stork. These birds fly in from far-away lands and are found at the sanctuary during the migratory season.
The ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed an important nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wodeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a wildlife sanctuary in 1940. The Forest Department of Karnataka State is maintaining the bird sanctuary and puts its efforts to improve the sanctuary, which include purchase of nearby private lands to expand the protected area.
Ranganathittu, known as 'Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka', is located on the banks of the Kaveri River. In fact, it was formed when a dam was built across the Kaveri river in the 18th century. This resulted in the creation of six islets on the banks of the river. The island was originally covered by a forest comprising of trees like the Terminalia Arjun and bamboo.
The difference that this place gives is in the boat ride along the river bank. As you drift along the six main islets that comprise the sanctuary, you can catch a glimpse of several rare species of birds and perhaps a scariest view with crocodiles around. Initially the thought gave goosebumps to all in my family. But then it seemed natural for crocodiles to be in the same water as we rode over the boat.
A spot of bird watching combined with a picnic on the river bank is an ideal way to have fun at the sanctuary. The 0.67 sq km Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is indeed a haven for nature lovers and bird watchers.
The sanctuary is located on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and can be reached easily from both cities. A visit here, with a tranquil boat drive on the Kaveri River, can be an unforgettable experience.