Popularly known as Pakshi Kashi (birds paradise), the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a protected area and a haven for bird watchers, situated the river Kaveri’s banks, in Mandya district near Srirangapatna, Karnataka. It is the largest bird sanctuary in the state, comprising six islets on the banks of the river Kaveri. It was built between 1645 and 1648 when Kantirava Narasaraja Wodeyar was the ruler of Mysore. The sanctuary is a favourite haunt for various migratory species of birds from far off places like North America, Siberia, and Australia. The abundance of aquatic insects and the isolation of the islets during monsoons make conditions ideal for these birds.

Spread across an area of 40 acres, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary was recognised as an official bird sanctuary in the year 1940 after renowned ornithologist Dr Salim Ali pressurized the government to declare it so. The landscape and local vegetation, coupled with the colourful species of birds make it a unique learning experience for visitors of all interests and ages. It is the perfect place to unwind and relax in the lap of nature and the company of friends and family and is one of the best places to visit from Bangalore or Mysore. This destination offers many things to do—boating, bird watching, and some good old nature photography. With temperatures hovering between 23 to 29 °C, it can be visited throughout the year. But the best time to visit is in winter as it is the right time when the migratory birds arrive.

Also read: The best places to see migratory birds in India

How To Reach Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary?

Located at a distance of five km from Srirangapatna, 18 km from Mysore, and 130 km from Bangalore, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary has a well-established connection to all means of transport and can be easily reached.

By Air

Located at a distance of 33 km from the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the nearest airport is the Mysore Airport.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Srirangapatna Railway station which lies at a distance of five km from the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

By Road

There are several buses that ply from Bangalore and Mysore to Srirangapatna. You can also rent a car or take your own car for a pleasant and scenic drive to reach the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

By Local Transport

There are both private as well as government buses that run between Mysore and Srirangapatna. Upon reaching Srirangapatna, you can hire an auto-rickshaw to reach the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. 

General Information

Some Of The Things To Carry:

  1. Sunglasses
  2. Waterproof footwear
  3. Sunscreen lotion
  4. Shorts
  5. Tee shirt
  6. Raincoat or umbrella
  7. Binoculars (if you have one)
  8. Water bottle
  9. Snacks

Entry Fee

INR 50 per person and INR 25 for kids

Timings

9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Weather

Winter’s the best season for a visit to this sanctuary. Pick the months between October to March. While summers are the least advisable, heavy rainfall ruins most of your plans in the monsoon season.  

Best Time To Visit

This sanctuary is best visited between the months of June and November as these are the nesting month for the birds, so you’ll get to see many species during this time.

Also read: 10 fascinating things to do and see in Srirangapatna

Natural Things To Experience At Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Flora

Dense foliage at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, Mandya district, Karnataka
Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, Mandya district, Karnataka

The flora of Ranganathittu is of two types: 

1) Thorny scrub jungle within the central part of the islands where desert conditions prevail. 

2) Broadleaved deciduous forest in the margins where the soil is fertile and water is plenty.

There are about 400 species of dicotyledonous plants from 79 families. The dominant species are Arjun trees, bamboo groves and Pandanus trees. Lily Iphigenia mysorensis, a threatened and endemic species, is grown here. Eucalyptus and acacia trees have additionally been planted. The non-angiosperms plants are few in number. But still one can see a rare plant, horsetail fern growing under the bamboo clumps. Among the lower groups of plants, lichens, morels and mushrooms are the more prominent ones. These become more conspicuous during the rainy season.

Fauna 

Indian Marsh crocodile
Marsh Crocodile at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

The diverse vegetation here naturally offers a wide variety of habitats for different types of animals. Among the animals, the birds are the most abundant and varied. It is also host to numerous small mammals including smooth-coated otter, bonnet macaque, colonies of flying fox and common small mammals such as the Indian grey mongoose and common palm civet. The reptiles are represented by both venomous and non-venomous snakes, turtles and common Indian monitor lizards. Additionally, Ranganathittu has the largest population of marsh crocodiles in Karnataka state. 

The nutrient-rich waters of the river Kaveri naturally constitute the most favourable breeding ground for 30 fish species. 61 species of butterflies which range in size from the largest (Southern Bird Wing) to one of the smallest (Gram Blue) can be found here. There are several species of dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets, mantis and walking sticks, termites, water scorpions, antlions, beetles, flies and mosquitoes, bees, wasps and ants, etc.

Birds

Ranganathitthu Bird Sanctuary
Source: Flickr

Roughly 170 avian species have been recorded at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. They include both resident and migratory birds. Of these, the black-headed ibis, heron, common spoonbill, lesser whistling duck, painted stork, woolly-necked stork, river tern, Asian openbill stork, Indian shag, egret, cormorant, Oriental darter, spot-billed pelican, along with the four types of kingfishers namely small blue, lesser pied, white-breasted and stork-billed breed at Ranganathittu regularly. While the river tern and great stone plover also nest there, the park is also home to a large flock of fruit bats and streak-throated swallows. Terrestrial birds such as grey partridge, red wattled lapwing, pipits, and quails also 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, warblers, babblers, etc. 

Migration At Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

Spot Billed Pelican - Migratory Bird found in Karnataka, India
Spot Billed Pelican – Migratory Bird found in Karnataka, India

Birdwatchers can feast their eyes on a variety of both migratory and resident birds. Having a special status for being a breeding ground, this place is home to more than 30 bird species. During winter months, around 40,000 birds congregate at Ranganathittu; some migrating from Latin America, Siberia, and parts of north India. Winter migrant birds that one may encounter in this area include Pied Crested Cuckoo, Bronze-winged Jacana, Rosy Pastor, Black-winged Stilt, Sandpiper, Blue Faced Malkoha, Indian Pitta, Golden Oriole, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bluethroat, Forest Wagtail and Red Headed Bunting. While many of them nest here and leave after their offspring are ready to fly, about 50 pelicans have made Ranganathittu their permanent home.

Facilities At Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary 

Dr Salim Ali Information Centre 

Maintained by the Forest Department, the Salim Ali Interpretation Centre screens a four- minute documentary to special interest groups. Inaugurated in the year 2015, the information centre has models of crocodiles and birds along with pictorial representation of various birds, its characteristics and identifications. It has information about the kind of feet and beaks different birds have and how they use these as a tool for survival. People can also learn about the bird calls of various birds with the press of a button. A map of the area with different islands clearly carved out is also displayed there.   

Activities To Indulge In Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

1. Boating 

Boating at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary
Visitors of the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary

One of the more popular activities at Ranganathittu is a boat ride or boat tours guided by rangers of the islets. There is no better way to relax than to sit in a boat and observe nature. During the boat ride, you can not only catch glimpses of bats, otters and migratory birds, but also the thrilling sight of crocodiles lazing on the riverbanks and rocks. An additional benefit for those wanting to learn more about the birds is that the boatmen are well-versed on the topic of birds. The boat-ride tickets cost INR 50 for Indians and INR 300 for foreigners. For a half-hour tour of the river on a private boat, you get charged INR 2200. Charged per person, mass rides are also available at much cheaper rates. The boat rides start as early as 8.30 AM. Weekends can be very crowded so you may have to wait longer. Otherwise, you can watch the birds from the shore for which you will require a good pair of binoculars. If you opt for the boat ride, you can get a close up of birds and maybe even get to see a nest with a baby bird at eye level.

2. Bird Watching And Photography

Eurasian Spoonbill Bathing, Platalea leucorodia, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka, India
Eurasian Spoonbill Bathing, Platalea leucorodia, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka, India

With the incredible diversity in the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the best thing to do at this park is bird watching; one can spend hours and see a new bird every five minutes. River tern, spoonbills, kingfishers and painted stork and some of the most photographed. The best way to get the most out of the sanctuary is to walk around the area, see everything it has to offer and savour the experience. The park charges an entry fee of INR 50 for Indians and INR 300 for foreigners. The timings are from 9 AM to 6 PM and it is recommended to go early in the morning or evening for the best experience.

3. Visit The Nearest attractions

  1. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
  2. Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens
  3. Melkote
  4. Mysuru Palace
  5. Devaraja Market
  6. Gumbaz Burial Chamber
  7. Venugopala Swamy Temple

Food And Accommodation At Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary

There are no accommodation facilities available within Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary but houses run by the Forest Department are available for which you will need to book in advance. Another option is to stay at Mysore or Srirangapatna where one can find innumerable places to stay.

After all the travelling and sightseeing, one is bound to get hunger pangs. Be it some fast food, or a wholesome meal, it is essential to be aware of nearby dining places. There is a small canteen facility in the sanctuary. Furthermore, there is an array of restaurants for dining around the area where you can eat your heart out. 

How To Make Your Experience Worthwhile?

A sanctuary is home to birds and animals where they roam free and feed on their prey. One should never forget to follow certain rules which are made to protect nature. Here are some tips to help you get the best experience here:

  • Always note that advance booking and gaining travel-related information beforehand will help you explore this bird sanctuary in a smooth manner.
  • If you plan on going on weekends, you should be prepared to wait in a long line to get a boat. 
  • It’s a plastic-free zone so you should avoid littering the sanctuary with things brought along with you. Do not throw anything on the ground or in the water.
  • You should always avoid wearing bright coloured clothes to blend in with the environment so as not to alarm the animals around. 
  • Animals get disturbed and scared if they hear loud noises. So, even if you get excited it is best to lower your voice. 
  • You should be patient if you don’t see any animals in the beginning. It is a land for animals and birds and they can come when they want to. 

Why Should You Visit Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary?

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a famous destination in Karnataka for tourists and ardent lovers of birds. Nothing compares to the melodious sounds of birds chirping, the sight of pleasant landscapes, and the scent of fresh air. What’s a better therapy session than a quick trip to a bird sanctuary? And with a nominal entry fee, it is not even a trip that will break the bank. Pack your bags and head out here to watch the ever-energetic birds. Embrace the sight of them preening in the water or flying around with life in their flight and freedom in their wings. The truest promise of this place is this beautiful sensation of pure bliss.

FAQs:

Where is the Bird Sanctuary situated?

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is situated on the riverbanks of the river Kaveri, in the Mandya district near Srirangapatna in Karnataka.

How to reach the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary?

The best way to reach this sanctuary is via road. It is located only 19 kilometres away from the city of Mysore. You can take the bus or hire a taxi to reach the sanctuary. Both private and government buses are available that run between Mysore and Srirangapatna. From Srirangapatna, you can also hire an auto-rickshaw and reach the bird sanctuary. One can travel via train till the Srirangapatna railway station as well.

What is the perfect time to visit the Sanctuary?

The best time to visit a bird sanctuary like this is between the months of June and November as these are the nesting month for the birds, so you’ll get to see many species during this time.

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