Ranganathittu is a picturesque verdant wildlife sanctuary situated just about 16 kms from the Karnataka town of Mysore. The Sanctuary comprises six islets situated on the banks of the Kaveri River covering a small area of 67 sq km. Ranganathittu is at the height of its beauty especially during the bird nesting season from June to November. It was declared a bird sanctuary in 1940 thanks to the efforts and vision of India's most renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali who convinced the Maharaja of Mysore in 1940 to declare it as a protected area.
The speciality of Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary is its large population of winter migratory birds from all across the world. As such it has become an important tourist destination. During the year 1999 and 2000, there were an estimated 2,02417 domestic and 2,080 foreigners who visited the Sanctuary.
The island is covered with a canopy of broadleaf trees and riverine reed beds along the banks of the island. Dominant species of trees found are terminalia arjun, bamboo groves, and pandanus trees. Eucalyptus and Acacia trees.
Main Attractions: Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary is a paradise for birds. The most common birds found here are painted stork, Asian openbill stork, common spoonbill, woolly-necked stork, black-headed ibis, white ibis, lesser whistling duck, Indian shag, stork-billed kingfisher and other common birds like egrets, cormorants, oriental darter, and herons as well as the great stone plover and river tern and a large flock of streak-throated swallows. Park officials record that migratory birds from as far as Siberia, Australia and even North America come here in December. Most of these birds stay and nest in the islands. There are forest ranger guided boats that can take you in close quarters. If not, you can watch the birds from the machan (an elevated wooden).
The Sanctuary is an important breeding ground for Mugger Crocodile which can be easily sighted in the riverine beds. Besides this, it is also host to numerous small mammals such as the bonnet macaque, flying fox, common palm civet and Indian gray mongoose and monitor lizard.
When To Go: The best season to visit the Sanctuary is between June to September but December is the ideal time for watching migratory birds. Avoid going there during the monsoon especially in the month of June as it gets flooded and water logged. The Sanctuary enjoys moderate temperature throughout the year ranging from 23-29°C.
How To Get There: The sanctuary is located on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and it is well connected by road to the rest of the state. The nearest railhead is at Mysore and the nearest airport is at Bangalore located 125 kms away.
Where To Stay: There are three state-run riverside cottages at the Sanctuary. However, most of the tourists prefer to stay at Mysore. There are also few accommodations available near the sanctuary.