Originally part of the Mysore Zoo, Karainji lake (also called Karanjikere ) in Mysore City is a sprawling water body in with a beautiful park around it.
This is home to more than 5 dozen bird species , both local and migratory. You can easily spot on the fringes of the lake ducklings, darters and during the winter season, pelicans, painted storks, spoon bills , to name a few.
On top of this natural habitat, the park has a giant aviary, possibly the largest in the country. Essentially this is a massive net enclosure as high as a tall tree. Visitors can walk through this and observe the birds closely. Inside the aviary you will find a great number of peacocks, wildfowls, geese etc.
Adjacent to the aviary another large enclose houses the Sarus Cranes. At 6 feet height, these are the largest type of birds found in India and also the tallest flying bird in the world. When felt threatened (a tiny squirrel passed nearby! ) they make such a loud cry that echoes the whole park.
At less than half the way through the park is the boating point. You can hire a pedal boat , if that doesn't sound like a easy proposition, hire one with a boatman to row for you. This is typically a round trip around those bushy islands in the lake. The ticket counter for boating is located next to the boating point.
Nearby is the children's park and the coffee booth.
On the opposite side of the aviary is a tree lined open area. This sprawling grassland facing the lake is an ideal picnic spot.
Further along the main path you'll reach the birdwatch tower overlooking the lake. This is almost midway in the park. The crowd seems thins out from here on and only those committed for a good walk makes it to the butterfly park, that is another 15-20 minutes walk from the watchtower.
The butterfly park is inside an island in the lake. The path through the park eventually takes you to that bridge to the island. This is home to about 4 dozen butterfly species. What attract the butterflies are the select plants that is grown in the island. Unlike the birds, it is a bit difficult to spot the many varieties of the butterflies. However still you can make out many groups of these flying creatures in the park.
Entry to the Karanji Lake is around the corner of the Mysore Zoo, on the Lalitha Mahal Road. You'll be taking the same road to reach Chamundi Hills from the zoo area. From Mysore Zoo head towards the Race Course (Mysore Race Club) and turn left at the junction into Lalitha Mahal Road. Cross the next junction and you'll see the entry to Karanji Lake on your left.
This is a heritage area too. Right opposite to the entrance to Karanji Lake park is the colonial style building that houses the Mounted Police headquarters. Next to the lake is the sprawling campus of the Administrative Training Institute and the Mysore Sports Club.
Timing of Karanji Lake: 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM, Tuesday holiday.
Entry Fee : Rs10, Still Camera fee : Rs:10