Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary also known as Pakshi Kashi of Karnataka, it situated in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district. This sanctuary comprises of SIX Islands and SIX Islets in the river Cauvery. The Islets are the main breeding ground for a variety of local and migratory birds. The comparative isolation of the Islets during the monsoons and the abundance of aquatic insects make Ranganathittu a favorite haunt for birds. The variety of birds at the sanctuary is infinite. The sanctuary attracts a number of tourists both from India and abroad. The Islets are surrounded by water of a reservoir formed by the construction of a weir across River Cauvery. It was built between 1645 & 1648 when Kantirava Narasaraja Wodeyar was the Ruler of Mysore. The sanctuary is just 3 Kms away from the historic town of Srirangapatna, where Tippu Sultan made his last stand against the British in 1799 and was slain in the battle. The soil along the river is soft and loamy, ideal for aquatic insects. The sanctuary is also surrounded by a vast stretch of irrigated agricultural fields where aquatic insects are available in plenty. The abundance of these insects attracts numerous birds to the sanctuary. Ranganathittu island and the islets surrounded by the backwater of the weir has been developed and is actively managed as a tourist place. Four islands situated downstream side, about 14 Kms away from Srirangapatna is yet to be developed as a tourist center.
The sanctuary is located 18 Kms away from Mysore City and 3 Kms away from the historical place Srirangapatna. The sanctuary lies between north latitude 12º 22' to 12º 25’ and east longitude 76º 39’ to 76º 49' in Mandya District of Karnataka State. The area is not made into compartments. The area of the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is 0.67 Sq.Kms. The developed part of the sanctuary is near the village Palatally of Srirangapatna Taluk. Three islands in the Cauvery river with an extent of 32.46 Ha. is the nuclear portion where the majority of birds roost. The other portion is near Mandyakoppalu in Gendehosahally and Arakere Village limits. This part is formed by a cluster of four islands in same Srirangapatana Taluk with an extent of 34.65 Ha. An area of 3.25 Ha. has been acquired on the bank of Cauvery near Ranganathittu islands, to develop the sanctuary and promote tourism.
The river Cauvery is the main source of water. The K.R.S. dam constructed across river Cauvery on the upstream side, about 8 Kms. from Ranganathittu has created a huge reservoir. Water is continuously let out of the dam and as such the water level around Ranganathittu does not go below a minimum level. When there is heavy rain in the catchment area of river Cauvery & when the water level in the dam goes above the maximum level, water is let out of the dam creating floods in the side of the downstream. This is the only major threat to the sanctuary. During 1991, few islets were partially eroded and many nests were washed away.
flora and fauna
There are 400 species of dicotyledonous plants belonging to 79 families. Of these, the family Fabaceae (Leguminosae) with 69 species stands -7- first. The families Asteraceae (Compositae) and Euphorbiaceae, with 28 species each, stand second and the family Acanthaceae with 20 species takes the third place. The monocotyledonous plants belong to 114 species distributed among 14 families. Poaceae (Gramineae) with 55 species and Cyperaceae with 27 species stand first and second among the monocotyledons.
There are 221 species of birds belonging to 61 families. They include both resident and migratory birds. The most frequently seen breeding birds that are encountered here are the three types of Cormorants, four species of egrets, darter, white ibis, spoonbill, herons, and open billed stork. During the past decade, the population of painted storks has shown a steady and noticeable increase. Indian river tern, great stone plover, cliff swallow, streaked weaver bird, the four types of kingfishers - small blue, lesser pied, White-breasted and Stork-billed - are the other resident breeders of this area. Terrestrial birds such as red wattled lapwing, grey partridge, quails, pipits also successfully breed here. The cool and shady areas under the trees of the marginal vegetation offer good feeding places for the beautiful Paradise-flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail Flycatcher, Babblers, Warblers, Iora, etc. Many types of birds of prey like Changeable Hawk-eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shahin Falcon, Brahminy Kite, -10- Marsh Harrier are regularly seen. Several species of owls are seen or heard. Other birds that one may encounter in this area include Lesser Whistling Teal, Spot-billed Duck, Bronze-winged Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Sandpiper, Pied Crested Cuckoo, Bluefaced Malkoha, Indian Pitta, Rosy Pastor, Golden Oriole, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bluethroat, Forest Wagtail and Redheaded Bunting. Many of these are winter migrants.
The sanctuary is also home for other types of animals such as mammals, reptiles, fishes and arthropods. The mammals of the islands include Bonnet Macaque, Common Mongoose, Common Otter, Palm Civet and Fruit Bat. The reptiles are represented by snakes (both poisonous and non-poisonous), turtles, Common Indian Monitor, and of course the most common one - Marsh Crocodile. The nutrient-rich waters of Cauvery river naturally constitute the most favourable feeding and breeding ground for 30 species of fishes. Some of them are commercially important. The arthropod fauna of the islands comprises a different kind of insects. There are 61 species of butterflies (Lepidoptera) which range in size from the largest - Southern Bird Wing - to one of the smallest - Gram Blue. There are several species of Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata), Crickets, Grasshoppers, Mantids and Walking sticks (Orthoptera), Termites (Isoptera), Earwigs (Dermaptera), Bugs, Waterboatmen, Waterscorpions (Hemiptera), Cicadas, Treehoppers, Aphids (Homoptera), Antlions (Neuroptera), Beetles (Coleoptera), Flies and Mosquitoes (Diptera) and Ichneumons, Bees, Wasps and Ants (Hymenoptera).
Crocodiles: If you are feeling extra adventurous, crocodiles can also be found in this park. Typically found near the riverbanks, it is very common to see crocodiles feeding or jumping at the opportunity to eat something. However, be very careful, as these are highly dangerous animals. You can see crocodiles swimming next to your boat We do not recommend getting too close.
Boat Ride: Another great option to see all of the birds in this park is to take a scenic boat ride. Boat rides are typically Rs. 50 for Indians, and Rs. 300 for foreigners. Rides start at 8: 30 AM., and the best time to see birds is either the morning or when the sun is setting. The boat guides know the names of the individual species of birds and even point out the crocodiles which look just like the rocks on which they are sleeping. If you plan on going during the weekend, be prepared to wait in a long line.
Bird watching: The best thing to do at this park is to go bird watching. The park charges an entry fee of Rs. 50 for Indians, and Rs. 300 for foreigners. With the incredible diversity in this park, one can spend hours simply staring into the abyss and see a new bird every five minutes. Walk around the sanctuary to get the most out of the experience and see everything it has to offer.
Best Time: Any Time of the Year, but to see the Migratory Birds do come in the Winters. June to November is ideal to visit the sanctuary.
Accommodation: Accommodation is available at Ranganathittu in three riverside cottages or Mysore
Prime attractions: One can see spices like Flying Fox, Otter, Tortoise, Crocodile, Cormorant, Darter, Egrets, Heron, Ibis, Kingfisher, Plover, Parakeet, Spoonbill, Whistling Teal, Peregrine, etc.
Tips: Carry a set of Binocular, Camera.