Pakshi Kashi - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

"God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages" - Jacques Deval

I feel bad when I see birds in cage. Birds are not meant to be caged, they are meant to be free, flying high. If they are free they can fly where they want, when they want. I think they have the kind of freedom many people envy.

Who would have imagined that construction of a small dam on the Cauvery river by Mysore rulers in 1640 would lead to the creation of bird paradise? Most national parks and sanctuaries of our country are results of human responses to the richness of nature while Ranganathittu is a result of nature, response to human intervention. This intervention a small dam built by Wodeyar led to formation of the islands and islets, creating ideal conditions for nesting of water dependent birds. Besides, the river and surrounding irrigated agriculture provided excellent feeding grounds. The result, as you will see in the amazing diversity of birds at Ranganathittu.

When legendary bird watcher Dr. Salim Ali visited this place in 1939, he was greatly impressed by this small bird paradise and then convinced Wodeyar Dynasty of Mysore to protect and develop this as sanctuary.

Last Sunday I visited the sanctuary, 130 km from Bangalore, close to famous historical town of Srirangapatna. Just like Kaashi (Varanasi), Ranganthittu bird sanctuary is a great teerth (sacred place) for birds and bird watcher.  Popularly known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka.

Ranganathittu occupies a prominent position on the bird map of India and one of the few protected areas to be established before independence. Ranganathittu became bird sanctuary in 1940. It boats of a great variety and abundance of birds, mainly associated with freshwater habitat. Nearly 221 species of birds including resident and migratory species have been recorded here.

From Bangalore Mysore highway, once you cross Srirangapatna, drive another 4 km and then take right towards Brindawan Garden. another 3-4 km and then at the right hand side you will see entry gate


After that road is not that good but you have to drive hardly 500 meter to reach sanctuary


Then you will see check post where you can get the tickets.There is ample car parking space, good restaurant. The entire sanctuary is very well and neatly maintained by forest department of Karnataka


 


Sanctuary comprises six islets on the banks of the Cauvery river and spread over 40 acres


The sanctuary makes for quite a pleasant walk amidst serene surroundings, ponds with lotus, lush green parks, big trees, sitting benches, watch tower and guided path ways.










The must do thing there is boating. I bought the ticket (60 Rs), headed to boating stand, was asked to wear life jacket and as I was alone I got the best place to sit, fore end of the boat :)

 

Boating lasted for 30 mins but you will get chance to see birds and their nesting place. It was normal boat ride so they covered only 2 islets. Later I came to know there is also guided boat tour (1000/-) you can reserve entire boat for longer duration and explore all the six islets.




I was not well equipped for this exploration. Had no SLR camera or binoculars. Photos doesn't matter to me but I certainly missed binoculars. Using my cell phone camera I was able to capture some good moments.







While you take a boat ride, don’t be surprised if a grayish rock moves suddenly turning out to be huge crocodiles!



There is also information center named after Dr. Salim Ali. You can get good information there about birding, nesting, sanctuary.


Overall it was well worthy time spent over there. If you are in Bangalore then I would suggest plan your day trip such that you leave early to avoid traffic while exiting Bangalore and reach at the Sanctuary at the earliest as possible (8:30 is opening time). Reason being there wont be much disturbance around, it will be quiet and you will only find true bird watchers or photographers there. After 11-12 pm you will see how atmosphere changes from being a bird sanctuary to family holiday park.


I started late at 8:30 am from Bangalore and reached there around 11 am. Because of the crowd, as I said it was more like picnic park, enjoyable but for me the magic was lost.



Quick Info
Entry Fee (Per person) - 60 Rs.
Car Parking - 30 Rs.
Boating (Per person) - 60 Rs.
Guided Boating Tour - 1000 Rs
Bird watching experience - Priceless

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