A heaven for Birds and a Paradise for Ornithologists Karanji Lake situated upstream of Doddakere, once a place meant for dumping garbage, has now been transformed into an idealistic place for feathered denizens of Mysore. The lake, situated in the heart of the city and set against the backdrop of the famous Chamundi hills, is an importantlandmark in the city of Mysore and has an area of over 90 acres. The scenic environs remainedneglected and the Zoo Authorities evinced interest and acquired it in 1976 and developed by converting it into a bird paradise. Soon the developmental works started paying dividends and the lake has become most visited place and a nesting ground for variety of birds. What was once a refuge for only painted storks, now witnesses a regular influx of varied species of birds including the Glossy Ibis and many other species, converting it into a miniature bird sanctuary.

Restoration and Development of Karanji Lake Due to rapid urbanization of catchment area, encroachment and diversion of feeder channel for cultivation and increased infiltration and evaporation loss, the tank had dried up. In addition the continuous flow of sewage from residential layouts as well as flow of treated and untreated water from Mysore dairy, the tank got converted into oxidation pond. Realizing the imminent  danger to its existence, the tank was developed and restored to its past glory under `Asian Development Bank Project’ through `Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation’ (KUIDFC), with financial assistance of Rs.1.12 crores. Many important works were taken up which included cleaning, protection and improvement of damaged portion of the feeder channel, construction of wet let, creation of visitor’s facilities, etc.

Landscaping The entire area surrounding the lake has been transformed into beautiful landscaped gardens. The area is planted with attractive flowering and fruit bearing shrubs and trees. In addition, a variety of rare and endemic plants were also planted in the nature park. The maintenance of greenery round the year and regular upkeep of the gardens has converted the nature park into beautiful and attractive recreational facility for the population of Mysore city and surrounding area. Highest priority has been given for cleanliness in the park and the entire area is declared as a plastic free zone. The Karanji Lake nature park was opened for public from 25/4/2004. Since then, it has been offering the people wholesome recreational outing. There has been steady increase in visitation about 1.33 Iakhs and 5.91 Iakhs public visited the nature park during 2004-05 and 2007-08 respectively.

Bird Paradise Good monsoon during the last couple of years resulted in filling the lake to its brim and has attract large number of birds of different species like Grey Pelican, Painted Stork, Ibis, Cormorants, Egrets etc., which nest and roost in premises especially on the beautiful island habitats created in the lake. Recent survey of birds indicated 87 species and 12 of them are migratory birds. The Herons, Asian open bill storks, Egrets, Red wattled lapwing, Sandpipers, Rose ringed parakeet, Black Drongo, Brown Shrike, red-whiskered bulbul, Booted warbler, Sunbirds, Greenish Warbler Paradise, Flycatchs and other varieties.

Country’s Biggest Aviary The country’s biggest  Aviary measuring 20 meters in height, 60 meters in length and 40 Meters in width, has been set up in the Karanji Lake Nature Park. It is erected around the naturally available trees. Inside the aviary, a watertall and pond of considerable length was constructed for water birds. The visitors can view and observe a variety of rare and exotic pheasants and swans in close proximity in their naturalistic surroundings.

Bird Watch Tower A 10 meters high observation tower enables the visitors not only to view panoramic environs of the lake but also provide excellent opportunity to ardent bird watchers. All round viewing is provided, so that there would not be any hindrances to the visitors to view the birds through telescope and binoculars.

Medicinal Plants At the entrance gate of the Karanji Lake, more than 100 medicinal plants have been raised. It is planned to educate and create awareness among public about their uses and need for conservation.

Nursery A nursery has been set up to raise and propagate plants inside the lake premises for planting in the gardens.

Parking space Have been allotted for buses, four wheelers and two wheelers at the entrance. Entry of any kind of vehicles inside Karanjl Lake Nature Park is strictly banned.

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