I couldn't believe it when I was told that just a short drive away from Bangalore I could feast my eyes on scores of birds that make this place their home in every year on a group of islands in the middle of the Cauvery River. I didn't believe this and kept on googling for a back up in case the place turned out to be a complete washout.
This was in the beginning of May this year. Hurry, I was told, most of the birds start taking off for other parts by now.
We started from Bangalore at around 7.00 AM. Barely an hour later, we were speeding down the Bangalore-Mysore Road, past the golden rocks on which Sholay was shot, towards Mandya and then on to Tipu Sultan's summer capital, Srirangapatna. Both Srirangapatna and our destination — Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary — are islands in the Cauvery. On the way we stopped for a quick bite at Kamats. Hogged lovely n soft idlis and mouthwatering dosas.
We had missed the exit to the sanctuary as it was not easily visible due to construction work on the highway. We turned back and backtracked our path till we found the exit. We kept driving for another kilometer and a half and very soon cityscape transformed into wilderness and was engulfed by trees bird and river Cauvery flowing by quietly.
We reached the sanctuary soon and paid around 80 Rs for entrance+ parking + camera fees. We parked our car and then emerged into a clearing. We had been advised to hire an individual boat (Rs. 200) which would take us into the lake for about 30mnts. We ventured into the lake with the help of our boatman. All of us geared up to shoot. Once into the lake, our complete solitude was broken only by the chattering of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of birds perched high above our heads.
It was nice to see that despite the crowds that come to Ranganathittu everyday, the water is pure, clear and devoid of pollutants.
As we glided over the river, a huge flock of storks flapped above our heads on making their way to a clump of trees. Every little island was home to nests of the most exotic birds I'd ever seen, and they were unusually quiet, seemingly lulled into silence by the serenity of the elegant river.
Our hearts missed a beat when we saw a few crocodiles glide by