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Karanji, an oasis of calm

Tired of the urban chaos? Visit Karanji Lake in Mysuru for a calming break...
Last Updated : 31 May 2019, 19:30 IST
Last Updated : 31 May 2019, 19:30 IST

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The attractions in Mysuru are aplenty. From the beautiful palace and Chamundi Hills to the interesting zoo and Krishna Raja Sagar Dam, there is no dearth of places to visit in the royal city. Equally interesting is the lovely lake of Karanji, situated right in the middle of the city.

Believe it or not, this lake was just another abandoned lake till the recent past. According to history, this lake was built by the Maharajas of Mysuru over 100 years ago for the use of local people. With the feeder channel to the lake damaged, and the inflow of water into the lake affected, the lake was nothing but a dry, parched space, and almost an eyesore in the historical city. However, things changed for the better when the zoo authorities took up the initiative to begin restoration work on the lake. KUIDFC, with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank, was instrumental in the rejuvenation process, and in 2004, the lake was thrown open to the general public. Spreading over 90 acres, the lake sits pretty attracting locals and tourists alike.

As we enter the gate, a tree-lined path leads to vast expanses of green lawns with the sprawling lake on the left. The clean and green atmosphere, coupled with the placid lake and the serenity of the place attracts many birds. A few islands have also been created in the lake and trees planted to further attract the birds to come and breed. The lake now provides habitat to over 90 species of local and migratory birds including open-billed storks, pelicans, egrets, herons, lapwings, parakeets, snakebirds, sunbirds and sandpipers, turning into a mini bird sanctuary. Sitting on a bench around the park, with a pair of binoculars in hand, we can spend hours here in this birdwatchers’ paradise.

This is not all. If we want to get up, close and personal with birds, we can walk into the aviary to catch birds like peacocks and pelicans moving around freely. It was here that we learnt that peacocks can be very friendly. They, in fact, came and pecked at us. It was their way of asking us for food. Also at the aviary are small pools, fountains and cascades to make it interesting to the birds in residence.

At a little distance away is a watchtower that affords panoramic views of the lake, the park, and of course, the birds.

There’s a butterfly park, too. We walked in and saw exotic varieties of butterflies flying all around. It was a rare visual treat indeed. Said to be the first butterfly park in the country, this park of about one acre has been planted with carefully selected flowering species in order to attract the colourful winged insects.

When there’s a lake, can boating be far behind? Karanji Lake is no exception. We can hire either a rowing boat or a paddle boat. The boatmen are quite friendly and help us identify the many birds around. After a long walk in the park, a quiet boat ride can be very relaxing. As we headed out, we admired the many tall trees with both their botanical and common names on them, rare medicinal plants and herbs in the park.

We also visited the nursery and shopped for the saplings of exotic plants. It was a day well spent.

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Published 31 May 2019, 19:30 IST

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