A serene, eco-friendly tourist spot

A serene, eco-friendly tourist spot

A view of Karanji Lake. Photo by Author

Karanji Lake in Mysuru is a must-see destination for all those who visit the heritage city. This place, which is declared as a plastic-free zone, has emerged as a model tourist spot because of its eco-friendly efforts. 

Tourists have many attractions in this scenic place. One can go for a long walk in the walk-through aviary, which is said to be the biggest such facility in the country. Watching the flight of peacocks, swans and many other colourful birds from inside the aviary offers the excitement of spotting birds in their natural habitat. Boating and a full-fledged children’s park are other attractions at Karanji Lake. 

Nearly 100 years ago, this lake was built by Mysuru Maharaja to serve as a source of drinking water for the city dwellers. In 1976, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysuru Zoo) took over this area and installed a fence across the 90-acre lake. Since then, the lake is managed by the Mysuru Zoo Authority.
Several measures

This place offers a solution to the long-term plastic problem in the tourism industry. Plastic in any form is not allowed inside the lake premises. If found necessary, the staff shifts all the snacks to a paper cover before allowing the visitors inside. To carry a plastic water bottle, the visitors should pay Rs 10 and get the barcoded sticker pasted on it. While going back they should show the same bottle with the sticker and get their money back. 

The staff here is also known for implementing many other eco-friendly measures. Vehicles are allowed inside the lake premises only during medical emergencies. Even the officials have to park their vehicles outside the gate. A bullock cart is used to transport the biodegradable waste collected in the lake premises. Interestingly, bicycles are allowed inside. 
Aashish, a tourist from Davanagere, appreciates the initiatives taken by the zoo authority. “In other tourist places, we see plastic covers and bottles scattered all around. The plastic ban gets limited to notice boards in most of the places. What motivates visitors here is that the rules are strictly implemented.”  

Shobha, a resident of Mysuru, says, “I often visit this place with my children. As this place is free from plastic, I happily allow my child to play in the sand inside the park. I never found their rules irritating. I bring snacks in a box instead of plastic carry bags.”  

Ravishankar, additional officer-in-charge, Mysuru Zoo, explains, “This initiative was introduced in 2013 and we are following it strictly ever since. We take precautionary measures to stop plastic inside the lake area.” Wildlife enthusiast Bhagyalaxmi appreciates the initiatives taken in Karanji Lake and feels that the same guidelines should be followed
in Kukkarahalli Lake area as well.  Similar initiatives have been taken up in Mysuru and Bannerghatta zoos to regulate the plastic menace. Efforts such as these show that maintaining public places clean and neat is not as difficult as perceived.