Weekend Getaway for Bangalore
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary or Pakshi Kashi is perfect weekend getaway for us Bangaloreans. Especially, it is a delight for those seeking offbeat destinations around the city. Just like Kashi or Banaras, it is a great Teerth (sacred place) for bird watchers and nature lovers. The bird sanctuary is in the Mandya District of the Karnataka state. Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is the largest bird sanctuary in the state and should be on the list for every bird lover, children and wildlife & nature lovers.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Timing and Best Time to Visit
The sanctuary is at a distance of about 130 kms away from Bangalore. It takes about 2 hours and 30 mins to reach there along Bangalore Mysore road. At about 5 kms from Srirangapatna, one needs to take sharp right turn. The sanctuary is 3 kms further on this route.
Ranganathittu Sanctuary opens at 9 am. We started our day early morning at 5:30 am from Bangalore. On our way, we took breakfast at a quaint restaurant named Malgudi Vattika near Innovative Film City. The restaurant theme is inspired by revered writer R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days. And yes, food tastes good as well!
Since we reached early, we did not face any issue in parking our car. There is ample parking inside the sanctuary. In fact, there was no queue to get the boat tickets as well. However, as we were leaving premises, we observed many visitors entering the park at around 11:30 am.
Hence, we think the best time to visit Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is between 9 am and 10:30 am. At this time, birds do not get to avoid birds get distracted from crowds and we could enjoy bird-watching peacefully. For late-risers, you can still watch the birds but much fewer. The Sanctuary is open for visitors from 9 AM to 5:45 PM (Monday to Sunday)
History and Importance of Pakshi Kashi
The Sanctuary is named after the famous Hindu God Sri Ranganatha Swamy, who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The bird sanctuary span over an area of 40 acres with Kaveri River flowing through the Sanctuary. It comprises of six islands in the waters of River Cauvery.
Who would have imagined that the construction of a weir (small dam-like structure) on the Cauvery River by the ruler of Mysore in the 1640s would lead to the creation of this bird paradise! During the reign of King Kantirava Narsaraja Wodeyar, the weir on Cauvery River led to formation of islands and islets. These islands provided ideal conditions for nesting and roosting of acquatic and water-dependent birds such as storks, herons, egrets, ibeses and pelicans. Besides, the river and surrounding irrigated agriculture provided excellent feeding grounds supplying plenty of fist. The result is the amazing diversity of birds at Ranganathittu. The legendary bird watcher and conservationist Dr. Salim Ali was impressed by this little bird paradise during his visit in 1939. At his behest, the Mysore rulers offered protection to it and much later, in 1998 was declared a Sanctuary by State of Karnataka.
Best season to visit Ranganathittu Sanctuary – its flora and fauna
There are over 221 species of birds from 60 families recorded at this Pakshi Kashi across its 40 acres. While it is mostly acquatic birds, there are many other interesting bird species to lure bird-watchers. Cormorants, egrets, pelicans, herons, storks, ibises, spoonbills, shore birds or waders, moorhens, ducks inhabit the islands of Ranganathittu. In addition, there are terrestrial bird groups spotted such as partridges, quails, flycatchers, warblers, babblers, cuckoos, sparrows etc.
The best time to visit sanctuary is from December to February when a lot of these aquatic migratory birds fly here for breeding. Another season to visit is during May-June. Of course, there are birds all over the season. But during January-February, one can spot some of the rare species of aquatic birds such as spoonbill, painted stork, white ibis, Asian open bill stork.
While the sanctuary is known for its birds, there are enough species of animals to interest wild life enthusiasts. The sanctuary is home to animals like the Flying Fox, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Mongoose and Mugger Crocodiles. In fact, there are approximately 100 crocodiles in the sanctuary waters.
What to do – Boating Facility at Ranganathittu & Charges
The best way for bird-watching is by taking a boat-ride along river bank. The boat-ride takes you to the six islets of the sanctuary. As the saying goes ‘birds of a feather flock together’, each islet has different species of inhabitants. Hence, it was a varied experience for everyone as boat drifts from one islet to another. We definitely recommend everyone to carry their cameras and binoculars to spot rare birds hidden in the flora of islands. Also, there are plenty of mugger crocodiles in the waters. Our boatsman joked it is absolutely safe and crocodiles have never attacked as they are lazy animals.
Boating charges for Indians are Rs.50 per person in share while for foreigners it is Rs.300 per person. The private boat is available for Rs 1,000/- which is perfect for a group of friends or family.
We spent rest of our time picnicking in the sanctuary vicinity.
Food and Accomodation at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
The sanctuary does not have many options for food except for small canteen for snacks. During season, there is sugarcane juice available at Rs.20. There are plenty of good restaurants along Bangalore-Mysore route. We had sumptuous lunch at Poojari’s Fish Land located at about 5 kms from the sanctuary.
As far as accommodation options go, we would recommend tourists to either stay in Srirangapatna or Mysore. There is a pristine health resort named Ozone Resort about 15 mins away from the sanctuary. For past one decade, Kaveri Trail Marathon is held every year in September with base at this resort. Every year hundreds of runners participate in this event. The race route is along picturesque locales of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is 18 kms from Mysore city and 4 kms from the historic town of Srirangapatna. Also, closeby is Vrindavan Gardens of Mysore. A day-visit to Ranganathittu can be combined with either visit to historic town of Srirangapatna or to Mysore.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Entry Fees and Information:
Entry fee for Indians
Entry fee for Foreigners
Private Boat – Rs.1000/-
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Mysore Timings
9 am to 6 pm
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary Best time to Visit
December to February and May-June