Bird Country: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

A love for travel is something that SR and I share. Since 2011, one of our goals has been to travel somewhere every 2 months. In 2011, we visited Mysore and Galibore. In 2012, we went to Yelagiri, Pondicherry, Coorg, Ooty and Coonoor. These were interspersed with me accompanying SR on multiple business and personal trips to Chennai, Coimbatore and Bantwal, not to mention home visits to Trivandrum . On the flip side, some of the grander vacations (to Bandipur/Mudumalai and Rajasthan) that we had planned in 2011 and 12 fell through, resulting in financial setbacks and disappointments. We began 2013 badly – last week (4 months into the year!) was our very first trip – that too, a very short one to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. But as far as vacations go, this one was bliss.

This is the very first time I am listing our vacations anywhere, and I realize that I want to do 2 things:

  • Chronicle our trips when they are fresh in our memory, so that years later we can pore over the notes and remember the good times
  • Get prints of our trip pictures and put them in albums – especially since our trusty laptop is getting old and cranky

This is my first every travel post – a cross between a photo essay and a travelogue. Some of the details may be uninteresting to a reader, but as I said, this is more for me to remember the roads I’ve travelled, than anything else. J

Bird Country: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. April 27-28 2013.

I woke up on Saturday morning, overcome by a desperate urge to get out of Bangalore and go somewhere green and watery. After a few hours of frenzied Googling and calling, we ruled out Sakleshpur and BR Hills, and decided on Ranganathittu. In a record time of 2 hours, we both completed some office stuff that had spilled over, packed, lunched and hit the road. Really, this has to be our least planned, yet most successful trip so far!

Ranganathittu, a cluster of 6 islets to which a number of birds from as far as Siberia and Latin America migrate every year, is the largest bird sanctuary in Karnataka. It lies in Mandya district, and the closest towns are Srirangapatnam(16 kms) and Mysore (19 kms). Since SR and I are shameless hedonists and wanted comfortable accommodation, we decided to stay in Mysore. Our choice was the Green Hotel until we entered Mysore – but during some random browsing, I came across too many reviews of hard beds and noisy atmosphere. We chickened out and checked in at Pai Vista in the heart of Mysore, where we had previously stayed in 2011, at around 8 PM. I would rate Pai Vista highly on the rooms and the service, but the food, sadly, is unremarkable.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early (yes, 7.30 is early) and set out to visit Ranganathittu. We spent about 3 hours in the sanctuary, and I will let the pictures speak for themselves (with some comments from me!)


The trees and pooled water near the entrance to the sanctuary. The glint of sunlight on the water was truly beautiful.


Glimpses of the Kaveri.

The Kaveri is more than just a river in Karnataka. She is the giver of life. Human settlements first formed along her banks. She gave them livelihoods – from fishing and farming to tourism today.


What I took to be dried leaves turned out to be hundreds of bats hanging upside down dreamily in the hot afternoon sun.



Open-billed Stork. Loner and flock.



From the time I read that Ranganathittu also played host to the marsh crocodile or the ‘mugger’, I had been hoping to catch sight of one.

And I did, I did! 😀


View from a watch tower: wagtail, openbill and snowy egret on a rock.

One of the best photographs I’ve ever taken, if I say so myself. 😀


An islet full of painted storks – beautiful, graceful, vibrant.


It was a soul-satisfying trip – we spotted enough birds, crocs and fishes to keep ourseves happy. Heck, we even saw what SR maintains was a crocodile den (and therefore, dragged me away before I could take photographs!).

From Ranganathittu, we visited Dariya Daulat, Tipu Sultan’s summer palace in Srirangapatnam.  Though small, the palace lived up to its name – it was deliciously cool inside (though the atmosphere was hampered by a large group of sweaty, chattering tourists who descended at the same time as we did!). The walls were covered with colourful frescoes of battles with the British. Not surprisingly, the British looked dismayed or outraged in most of them and Tipu’s army seemed to have the upper hand. Inside the palace, there were paintings by18th century British and Scottish artists James Hunter and David Allen. Most of these depicted life and locales in those times. It was both saddening and awe-inspiring to look at these, especially the ones of Bangalore and Hosur. One cannot help but compare the locales to what they are like today, and this exercise never gives pleasure. I don’t  have any pictures of Dariya Daulat as photography is not permitted indoors.

Our last stop was Thonnur Kere, a large fresh water lake hailed by Tipu Sultan as Moti Talaab. Still pristine, still a soothing blue, this lake is a favourite bathing spot for the locals, who have not yet managed to pollute it.

I think we did well for a single day trip. Must stop feeling so pleased with myself, and go start packing for the upcoming (big) holiday!


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