Karanji Lake and Environ
Karanji tank is situated within the Mysore city, is spread over 65 hectare. Located at 12° 18’ 00” N, 76° 35’ 60” E. Tank is under the jurisdiction of the Chamarajendra Zoological Garden of Mysore (Zoo authority of Karnataka). Tank is restored with the Asian Development Bank funds by Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Project. Breeding colony of Pelicans, Darters, Painted Storks, Cormorants and Ibises are found in Islands formed within the tank.
Dynamic and efficient management of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Garden, Mysore armed with legal support cleared the most of the encroachment of feeder canals. For few years, the prohibition of vehicular traffic was ensured all along the western public road abutting the tank in the morning hours in order to provide safe foraging ground for water birds.
Karanji tank has been renamed after restoration as Karanji Nature Park in 2003. The public entry is with nominal charges during day time. Karanji Nature Park is now, most popular tourist destinations in Mysore. So, the park management is now entirely become tourist oriented, slightly affecting the butterfly density and distribution. To have a clear view and clean walkway natural vegetation has been cleared and in some areas, replaced with ornamental and exotic species.
Tourists and nature lovers are allured by entertainment like boating, and playground for children; active arboreal & water birds including breeding colony; largest aviary with colourful Indian and exotic birds; fluttering butterflies in butterfly park with variety of host and nectar plants; and greenery maintained throughout the year.
Birds checklist is very impressive with 147 species, inclusive of 40 migratory. Good breeding population of Spot-billed Pelican, Darter, Painted Stork and White Ibis in manmade islands is instrumental in declaring the Karanji tank as Important Bird Area.
So far, 96 species of butterflies have been recorded representing all the five families. Good number of butterflies could be seen here throughout the year, because of Butterfly Park. Known host and nectar plants have been planted in one of the manmade islands. Recently on 13.08.2011, two hours nature trail fetched 30 species of butterflies within the Karanji premises. Butterfly park is an innovative idea where locally available plant species suitable for caterpillars and nectar have been planted and nurtured in succession thus ensuring minimum species presence without any closed canopy.
Being part of Mysore area, moist location with thicket, Karanji nature park experiences, pre & post monsoon danaids butterfly migration.
Tips for nature trail:
Tourists throng this place on weekends; still if one wishes to go on, choose early morning session, right after 8.00 am. Remember, Butterfly Park is at the end the walkway.