The Tranquil Karanji Lake (Mysore): Away from the Madding Crowd
A visit to the Karanji Lake eluded us during our first few trips to Mysore. A couple of years ago, we finally discovered the place. And what a wonderful surprise it was! Away from the madding crowd of Mysore tourist spots, Karanji Lake is a haven of tranquility.
The lake and its surroundings are spread across a sprawling verdant area, which adjoins the Mysore Zoo. Owned and maintained (very well) by the Mysore Zoo Development Authority, several restoration activities were necessary in the past to improve the conditions here.
Karanji Lake is usually open from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days except Tuesday.
The twittering of smaller birds in the tall shady trees welcomes you to this enchanting bird habitat. Sunbirds and flowerpeckers hurry from tree to tree, flower to flower. A coucal appears busy, pecking at the grass. Noisy barbets announce their plan for the day.
The walk-through aviary here is a major attraction. It is a wonderful experience to observe the pheasants, peacocks, jungle fowl and other birds in this “open” aviary.
Our toddler is thrilled to the T when a white dove almost perches on his hand :). The jungle fowl are crowing loudly, and our little son loves accompanying them; “Cock-a-doodle-doo”, they all say :).
A majestic peacock performs an enthralling dance to woo a peahen. The “women” folk ignore him, and glance in the other direction. He persists with a beautiful display of colours and movement. He turns from one female bird to another, ardently hoping to attract her attention. We walk ahead, wishing him success in his endeavors :). The Sarus cranes, housed in an enclosure, express their sentiments in raised voices.
During a recent visit, we spotted a new children’s play area in the premises. Complete with swings, seesaws and slides! And there are some new bird enclosures with budgerigars and parakeets being the current occupants.
Boating facilities are available, although we have always preferred to explore the nature park on foot.
Recently, we visited Karanji Lake on a weekday and it was a delight to avoid the typical “long weekend” crowds.
As we walk along the lake, a solitary pelican sails on, undisturbed, in the still waters. A kingfisher and a couple of cormorants perch on low branches near the water. In the migratory season (winter, approx. November to early March), several painted storks occupy the trees at the far end of the lake.
Ducks waddle along, casting a cursory glance at the visitors on the shore. A common coot appears to be searching for its companions.
The Butterfly Park, at one end of the path along the lake, is home to several beautiful butterflies. It is definitely worthwhile to stroll along the path up to this point and then return.
After our first visit, we were completely charmed by this place. Since then, the picturesque surroundings, abundant birdlife, and absolute serenity of Karanji Lake have made it a MUST-VISIT on our Mysore trips.
Karanji Lake, Mysore
1. Timings: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on all days, except Tuesday (Tuesday is a holiday).
2. Best months to visit: Throughout the year. If you are particular about sighting the migratory birds, plan a trip during the winter months (~ November – March).
3. Accommodation: Hotel Ginger, Mysore, is an excellent place to stay. It is located about 2 km from Karanji Lake.
4. Fun for Kids: ABSOLUTELY!!