Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Ranganathittu covers an area of less than 1sq km, but the bird population density is very high. The most common birds in the sanctuary are painted storks, spoon bills, white ibises, egrets, herons and partridges. Most of the birds stay on tiny islands within the river, which you can approach by boat. However, the river is also home to a few crocodiles, so don't jump in for a swim!
The best times to visit are from March to May.
Ranganathittu attained the status of a bird sanctuary in 1940, courtesy of the visions of India's noted ornithologist. Dr. Salim Ali. who, during his survey of the birds of Mysore, advocated for the establishment of such a sanctuary.
Nearest airport: Bangalore.
The drive from Bangalore is approximately 130 km, and takes a couple of hours at the most, thanks to the four lane highway. Driving from Mysore is much nearer, about 13 km. If you are driving from Bangalore, look out for a small right turn after Srirangapatna. The park opens at 9AM and closes at (I believe) 4PM.
The park charges a small entry fee, and the boat ride is also a charged service. For a half hour leisurely tour of the river you get charged Rs. 200, which also ensures that you are the sole occupants of the boat. Mass rides are also available at much cheaper rates, though these are charged per person. The fees below were valid in September 2006 but may be subject to change:
Entry fee: Indians – Rs 25, foreigners – Rs 50 Boat-ride tickets: Indians – Rs 30, foreigners – Rs 50
Ranganthittu is on the river Cauvery, about 13 km away from Mysore. The part that visitors are allowed to see is a slow section of the river, with many little islands which form nesting sites for sorts of migratory birds. Low hanging branches, small rocks with crocodiles sunning themselves are easily found, so don't be surprised if you look around to see a crocodile within arm's reach.
Flora and fauna
Some of the birds seen at Ranganthittu are the white Ibis, cormorants, egrets, herons, river terns and darters. In addition, the place is also home to a large number of crocodiles. There is a machan (an elevated wooden platform where you can sit and watch wildlife) at at the end of the walkway which offers close up views of the nesting sites.
There is a small cafe at Ranganthittu, and Mysore is always close by. A canteen at the sanctury sells tea, coffee and snacks.
No drinking/smoking allowed in the park.