Part 2 is back after a long delay.
For me, the biggest reasons to visit Ranganthittu was photography. I wanted to spend some time clicking pictures of birds which I’ve heard were plenty in this sanctuary. And what better company than the bird crazy Cousin S. Ranganthittu is a pretty small bird sanctuary (64 sq km say websites) 14 km away from Mysore and 3 km from Srirangapatna. This is also a government protected area and a big location where migratory birds come in around December every year to nest and can be seen from December to March.
There are resident birds through the year and around 40 crocs. The Lake is small-ish and consists of a few islands here and there, where the birds nest, on the banks of the R. Kaveri. And that’s what I was hoping to catch. Since I had never tried bird watching before, I didn’t really care about seeing “rare” birds.
We reached Ranganthittu at 11am and it was almost empty except for some “love birds” who’d bunked college. We had 2 options – a boat ride with 10 others for 15 mins or a 1 hour boat ride by ourselves. No points for guessing which one we picked. Saw some lovely birds whose names I didn’t know then and don’t know too well even now. And we saw crocodiles at an arm’s length!
That was the scariest thing, ever! Even though our boatman cum guide (who got names of all the birds wrong) said they were sober and would never attack us, it was very hard to believe. In fact, he even tried prodding one with an oar to show us that it was harmless (i exaggerate :P). We also saw a lot of bats chilling and hanging upside down on trees all over. Apparently, these are called Flying Foxes. The one hour boat ride was the best decision that we made. It was worth every penny.
The full set of pictures that I clicked is here.
You should only go to Ranganthittu if you’re interested in photography or bird watching ‘cos otherwise you’re bound to get bored. To get to Ranganthittu from Mysore, take any bus that goes to Srirangapatna and get off there. From the bus stop, take an auto to the sanctuary. Since the area around the sanctuary is deserted, you should ask the auto to come back and pick up you as well.
This should cost you about Rs. 200. The entry fee is Rs. 50 and you have to pay extra for the boat ride. We didn’t spot any places to eat around there. So, carry you own munchies, water etc. According to the guide, the best time to go bird watching is early in the morning. I’m not sure however how early the sanctuary opens to public.
There is a beautiful government owned resort called Mayura at Srirangapatna, on the banks of River Kaveri. They have lovely cottages at reasonable rates. Even if you don’t stay there, stop by lunch (the food is great and they serve alcohol as well) and just sit on the rocks by the banks of the river and chill.
Next up in the Mysore Travels is Srirangapatna, the town of Tippu Sultan!