It is odd that this blog of mine hardly has anything about Mysore, considering that it was my favourite city to visit for years… so it is only fitting to write about it now in my Unexpectedly Awesome place series. In the first post I wrote about the Western Ghats and here I will write about the Mysore Lakes – the two most unexpectedly awesome spots in Mysore.
Everyone has heard of Mysore, so I am sure you would have too. 🙂
Usually people talk about visiting the Mysore Palace or the Vrindavan Gardens. But there’s more,
The Palace is okay – it has some charm and it would be really nice if we could roam around in it unchecked. But they have guards everywhere who keep ushering you ahead… I can’t even just sit quietly in a room and look around. One has to keep walking ahead on a specified path and there are lot of crowds.
Vrindavan gardens was not that impressive. It is great to go with a fun group and have a good time but I didn’t find it the awesome place that it is traditionally considered. At the time when it was made, it maybe a wonder for the Indian public, but if you have visited any international location it probably had way huger and aesthetically better gardens. I found the same thing when I visited the Botanical garden of Ooty. Very popular in my parents times, in fact they went for their honey moon there, but I found it too small and too ‘maintained’. Everything was spruced and primed….. huge expanses of green with minimal maintenance, natural hang outs are my style of garden. 🙂
Coming back to, why has this city been one of my favourites in the earlier travel years?
The two amazing lakes within the city (& the Zoo & Chamundi Hills),
Kukurahalli lake is a lovely spot to spend some quiet time with nature or have a nice conversation with someone dear to you. There is a walking track that goes all around the lake shore. This track is part of a lush green lake eco-system. When you walk a little around the lake, you won’t feel like you are in an urban environment at all. The trees are dense so the sunlight filters in through the leaves creating a green haze around you and nearby in the lakes, the water birds are merrily splashing about. Watching the ducks swim in the placid waters is truly a serene experience. Take the time to go around this entire lake track– the greenery, birds and solitude can be a lovely experience.
The other lake is Karanji lake and it is an utter delight. After seeing the Kukurahalli lake I decided I must see the other lake too. Maybe it would be as good. I was in for a surprise because this lake is even more fascinating. It is a fairly large lake with small islands where huge flocks of Pelicans and other birds have nested. It is like a mini bird sanctuary. It is really surprising that hardly anyone talks about it.
There is even a boating facility here which is very enjoyable. They have a bunch of simple row boats and boatsmen for a few hours in the day and it is worth taking a boating excursion into the lake.
As far as I remember they don’t really take the boat near the bird colonies as it would disturb the birds, but there are couple of watch towers which can be climbed to see them better. These watch towers are in the lush green park that surrounds the Karanji lake. This park is great for most people – old, friends, couples and also schools/parents who come with kids. There is ample place for games and frolicking. It is usually big enough for people to find a secluded spot or even a lakeside bench.
That’s not all, this place has a small caged bird area, walk inside to find yourself amidst peacocks, peahens, pelicans, water birds, hens and the like… They are fluttering and doing their stuff right nearby you! The caged area is not that big but considering the size they have quite an eclectic variety of birds in it. In fact I had seen a peacock doing the rain-dance with a fully open tail here (even thought it was not raining).
The park is quite big with a long, walking path meandering through it. Walking right till the end of the path you will come to a butterfly garden. You can simply walk into the butterfly garden patch and it does have a few interesting butterflies and moths flitting around. A nice experience. The whole park and boating is very tastefully maintained. Oh and if you are a foreigner you have to pay some high amount but for Indians it is 35/- or something.
The price for boating is very reasonable, maybe 40/- per person or something, I don’t exactly remember. There are a number of row boats. You can hire the boat to go around the lake for a while. A boats-man will come with you to row the boat – they can be interesting to talk to. If you are keen on boating then check the timings because it is not open all day.
Apart from the Lakes you will find India’s best Zoo here in Mysore. This Zoo is quite close to Karanji lake so you can visit it together if you want. Chamundi hills can also be an interesting visit. If you want to go to the outskirts … you can go to Gomatgiri and Venugopalswamy temple behind Vrindavan garden. More on all that in another post. 🙂
Do you have any questions about Mysore? Shoot me here I will try and answer. 🙂