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Kukkarahalli Lake: Jewel in the Crown of Mysore City

aviary-image-1a‘J’ shaped 150 acres of a lake occupies the heart of Mysore city in Karnataka. It’s one of the most beautiful of the two lakes at Mysore, the other being the Karangi lake at the foothills of Chamundi hills – a zoo property today.
This lake, locally called ‘Kukkarahalli Kere’ has inspired photographers, artists, local poets and writers like – Kuvempu and R.K. Naryan apart from health afficanados and bird watchers. This huge lake was constructed by the then Mysore King, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodyer in 1864 for the purpose of irrigation of lands around Mysore. It also met the drinking water needs of Mysore city.
The growing city of Mysore, illegal occupation of land, missmanged sewage has populated the once pristine life giving water body of the heart of city. Today, this lake is guarded with pride by a lot of citizen forums and the Mysore University – Manasagangotri,.it comes under its property line. Asian Development Bank had sanctioned a grant of almost a core of rupees for its development in 2003-4. There was a move to ticket the entry into this beautiful lake. . . all that was thawed.
Today this property is fenced and a walking-jogging track of 4.5 kms around the 5 kms periphery is a boon to general public. The surrounding of the lake is dotted with stone beaches canopied with flowering trees and shrubs. People of all ages inhabit this lake paradise in the morning and evening hours. NCC uses this lake for their boating traning and other related activities. Fishery is another activity in co-ordination with state government departments. The lake is shallow with it’s depth reaching to 5 meters at the deepest end.
Kukkarahalli lake is fed by Dewan Poorniahia Channel – the erstwhile Dewan of Wodyer Kings who was an illustrious and dynamic administrator. The said channel passes through Hinkal, Bogadi, Kudremala and Manasagangotri reaching the Kukkarahalli Lake after it’s 27 kms journey. This feeder canal was disrupted and sewage lines started feeding this once pristine lake. Now efforts are underway to clean up and restore it to it’s once beauty. This lake is a haunt of oriontologists and along with bird watchers photographers dot the periphery of the lake. At certain edges of swamp crocodiles have infested the waters. ‘Bird-life International’ classifys Kukkarahalli Lake as one of the 38 important bird areas of Karnataka. Today one can see only 103 species of birds which has reduced from 180. The numbers are a few thousands today from it’s earlier count of 15,000 birds. Spot billed pelicans, Painted stroks, Spoon bills, Coronets, Duck dot the place. Replies and fish are fodder for these creatures.
Efforts are being made to revive to it’s earlier glory. Mysore Amateur Naturalist Association (MAN) is actively involved. This lake is fenced, guarded and rainwater harvesting is in progress. 6 am to 6 pm this lake to open to public.
When at Mysore a visit to this tranquil lake situated in the heart of city bordering the Mysore University – Manasagangotri, Kalamandira – Rangyana and CFTRI – Central Food Technological Research Institute is highly recommended. Sunsets are beautiful, so are the sunrises. It’s just 3 kms from the railway station. Mysore is a 3 hour destination from Bangalore subject to traffic condition. The city is well connected by road and rail. During Dasara the city’s small airport opens up for public.
The cost of staying and living in this city is reasonable and there are a dime and dozen places to suit every pocket. People are simpletons out here – friendly and helpful. Local transportation are buses, autos and horse driven carriages called – Tonga’s! This city of palaces beckons you and can be a day trip visiting palaces, temples, musuems, zoo etc. Leave early to beat the traffic.

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