Birds of many feathers...

This is a stretch that is surrounded by hillocks. The symphony of birds here attracts hordes of tourists. The soaring heat and dry weather that prevails in Hyderabad-Karnataka region can hardly be felt in this stretch, which is near Wagangera Fort at Surpur in Gulbarga district.

Bonal tank is famous for its many species of birds that land here from their long flight from foreign shores. A 125-km drive from Gulbarga takes you to this famous tourist destination. There is an hourly bus service from Gulbarga to Surpur. The tank is just a 15-km journey from there.

The perennial tank was built by Surpur ruler Raja Pam Naik in the 17th century. It was built with the intention of providing a source of water for animals. Later, the capacity of the tank was increased during the period of Captain Meadows Taylor, a representative of the British in Surpur.

There have been very few instances of the tank going dry, even when temperatures here have soared above 45 degrees celsius. In early 1998, the government decided to convert this tank into a bird sanctuary on the lines of Ranganathittu sanctuary. Following that, measures were taken to upgrade the sanctuary. Funds were also allotted for the same. Four observatory towers have been erected on all sides of the tank for the benefit of bird lovers and visitors.

Other development work around the tank, including building a bund, is in progress. As many as 21 species of birds flock to this destination every year. Hordes of birds land here during January, when paddy is ready for harvest. Among the birds that can be spotted here are the large egret, purple heron, white necked stork or woolly necked stork, black necked stork and cattle egret. Pond heron, white ibis, bar-headed goose, Brahminy duck, pintail, common teal, pochard, snake bird, Indian shag, common pochard, Indian moorhen, purple moorhen, coot, little cormorant and large cormorant also flock to this tank.
Dhananjay Waghmode

Temple fest at Mulbagal

A three-day annual temple festival with aradhana of saint Sreepadaraja was celebrated recently at Mulbagal. Two km from Mulbagal town, located next to the town’s tourist landmark, Narasimha Theertha, is the well-known Sreepadarayara Mutt. It originally was a hermitage in a cave (called Sri Vyasaraja Guhe) founded by the Haridasa saint Sreepadarayaru (1404-1502).

The sacred brindavana (square-shaped vault enshrined with a carved image of the saint) of Sreepadaraja apart, the Mulbagal Mutt has small temples dedicated to Yoga Narasimha and Anjaneya worshipped by Madhwa saints Akshobhya Theertha and Vyasaraj.
Located next to the shrine which houses the Sreepadarajara Brindavana is a rock cave believed to be the gurukula where Vyasaraja (1460-1539) got his monastic initiation from his guru Sreepadaraja, regarded as the father of Kannada Dasa Sahitya.