Birding at Karanji Kere

I reached Mysore around 9:30 AM courtesy my laziness and then went to Zoo. I was under the wrong impression that entrance to Kranji Kere was through the zoo, worse I checked that only after getting into the zoo. I should have done better research.
As I had gotten into the Zoo i thought let me take a stroll around and see the Zoo. It was much better than I had expected. The trail to go around the Zoo is well marked. Also its a good beginning for the children to learn about animals. The trail is 3 km long and it took me almost an hour to cover though in little bit of hurry. Zoo officials say it takes 2.5 hours. Many of the enclosures you have signs explaining animal, habitat and food habits. Especially the bird enclosures. That was impressive.
I walked around a kilometer and a half to reach the lake. It was almost 11:00 AM and still I was greeted by Coucal at the entrance and lot of other birds followed. There is a aviary and butterfly park inside the lake park. Aviary is well maintained and the peacocks can be seen within a distance of 2-3 feet. In the lake there are many small islands where birds nest and stay. There are seats all around to watch them. There is also a watch tower giving good view. Despite reaching late I could do good birding!

Getting there
There are lot of buses from Bengaluru through out the day. From KSRTC bus stand in Mysore its around 3 km. There are separate entrances for Zoo and lake. There is a underground pathway which is under construction. If you are driving to to Mysore lake is well within the city limits.

Little Cormorant From Karanji Kere

White Ibis (Juvenile?) From Karanji Kere

Visit to Hyderabad

To start with we had many places to go and many options to utilize. We collected as much information about the show timings and distance between the places and thought decide after a talk with cab driver. Must on the list was light and sound show at Golkonda Fort, laser show at Lumbini park and Salar Jung museum. After discussion with driver, decided to visit Qutub Shahi tombs, then Fort and watch the show at the end before returning to the city. Guide took us on a tour of tombs with some history of rulers of Golkonda. All the tombs have Indo-serasanic architecture and most of them are in good shape though walls are filled with writings.
From Hyderabad
Next was Golkand Fort. The Guide took us on a tour with interesting tidbits- "Tab ke zamane main nachne wale banjar hills pe rehe the the. Ab aja ke banjare, actors politicians wanha raha the hain". If it was not for the guide, we would have missed explanation of water supply system, defense systems and the "Kanwale Diwar"(Where whispers can get louder due to echo). Next was melodramtic light and sound show which takes you through the history Golkonda Fort from time of Yadavas who built mud fort and then Sulathans who fortfied today's structure till it was taken over by Aurangazeb. If you are visiting Golkanda fort this is a must.
On day 2 we visited Salar Jung Museum in the after noon and spent almost 3 hours. Though there is huge collection of art and antiques, the way it was being displayed was dissapointing. Antiques were cramped into places with little or no explaination or context. Now I know how disappointing to go through an photo album without captions. There was museum guide published in 1992 but only Hindi print was available. Though we bought it, was not that useful due to our snail paced reading of Hindi.
We ended city tour with Birl Planetarium and laser show at Lumbini Park
What to see
Golkanda Fort - Takes almost 1h 15min for a guided tour and guides are available for Rs 350. Its better to take guide than do your own tresure hunt using the limited sign boards. There is light and sound show explaining history of the rulers at 7:00 to 7:55 PM and during winter it starts at 6:00 PM. Tickets cost Rs 50 or Rs 100. Per guide only extras with Rs 100 ticket are a small bottle of water and packaged fruit juice. To get best seats be there at least 30 mins before the show and best seats watch are 2 left most columns in the 1st section as soon as you enter. There are 3 sections of which middle one is priced higher.
Qutub Shahi Tombs- 2 km ahead of the fort entrance, complex houses tombs of Sulthan, Queen and their commanders. There is also a archealogical museum inside the complex. It takes half an hour for a guided tour and asking price was 350 and after little bargain we brought it down to 200. May be higher price would mean a longer to with more historical information.
Salar Jung museum - Around 38 galleries filled with art and antiques collected by 3 Salar Jungs(Prime minister of Nizam). Requires at least Half day to cover everything. There is free of cost guided tour every one hour. There is a museum shop as soon as you enter where you can buy litreture related to art on display. We could not get the guide book in english as it was out of print and out of stock. There is also a cafeteria inside the museum. Star attractions are marble statue of vieled Rebecca, Double statue and old clock where man comes out ring the bell. Its open 10 AM to 5 PM. Photography not allowed here.
Chariminar - Supposed to be the star attraction of Hyderabad we skipped it and had a look from far away.
Lumbini Park and Hussain Sagar - Hussain Sagar has the Budda Statue and there are boat rides available to the statue from Lumbini Park. Laser show about Hyderabad is a must see.
Birla Mandir, Planetarium, Science Center - Science center also has also on display skeletons of Kotasaurus, as I initially thought it was not found in Kota, Rajasthan but in Yemanapalli, Andrapradesh as indicated by the name K. yamanpalliensis. Science center has lot of activities to understand basic physics

Kaziranga - Abode of Great Single Horned Rhino

It was much awaited trip(there were many yes and no but thankfully no run outs at the end) and anxiety to see the Rhinos. Though I was told that probability of sighting the rhinos was high, thoughts of many a wild safaris where I had to come back without sighting was making me think about the worse again and again.. Much to the relief we had a wonderful jeep safari in the first afternoon. That was followed by a Elephant safari which took us close to the rhinos. Next was another jeep safari though there were not many wildlife sightings but then that was made up by the cloudy weather, some drizzle and plenty of bird sightings. Prize bird sightings included - Grey Headed Eagle and Bar Headed Geese(its migratory bird and flies so high at which petrol cant catch fire to the scarcity of oxygen). Overall it was a great experience.

Getting there
Kaziranga is 5 hours from Guwahati. Plenty of transport options available from Guwahati. Kingfisher operates daily flights to Guawahati to from Bangalore.

What to expect
One can get into the park between 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on a jeep.
Kaziranga has three regions
Western region - Where density of Rhinos is high and this where you can see elephants among the elephant grass! Good option for a afternoon safari. Morning elephant safari operated from here will take close to the rhinos.

From Captured during elepahant safari at Western region, Kaziranga

Central region - Has good density of big two and good place to sight greay headed eagle. When we went in weather was not on our side, it was cloudy and drizzled but it was a very pleasant drive. Due to the weather we could not see any rhinos. But managed to see grey headed eagle and bar headed geese.
From Grey headed eagle captured at, Central Region, Kaziranga

Eastern region - Has many "Bheel"s. Bheel is a water body and has good concentration of birds. This is good region to go for the bird watchers.

Where to stay

Bon Hobbi and Wild Grass are the good options to stay. We stayed on Bon Hobbi - good food, good accommodation and they arranged our safaris very well. Wild grass is also good and they see your needs and customize the itinery per your needs.

Guwahati is a good place to buy wooden carved rhinos in different sizes.


Sai Radha Heritage

I was on the way to Shibarur along with my family. Saw the sign board on highway ventured to have peak and turned out be treat. Guess "I was feeling lucky" that day. Sai Radha Heritage is built with old coastal architecture on the breach front at Kapu. From the stones (Murra stones) used to build the house, the well, the pond and even the lamps and appliances in the kitchen are the ones found in the old coastal homes.

Things to see and watch
  • Old style well
  • "Kavi Painting" on the front of the house
  • Old style mechanism to take water out of pond - Called "Pane"?
  • Mudhol dogs
  • 200 year old antique door
  • Chandeliars
  • Old musical instruments
  • earthen Idly maker
  • Wooden "Semige"(Idiyappam) maker.
  • Antique gaslight
  • and many more things ..
They also have a stay option call 0820 - 6526773, 09242847792 and the contact person is Mr. Kishore Shetty. email -

How to get there
Around 11kms from Udupi on the national highway you got to take a left.

Sai Radha Heritage

Skandagiri - Night trek

Skandagiri is situated 70kms from Bengaluru and is a popular night trek spot. Its been referred to as a place to go to walk on the clouds. Its also known as Kalavara halli betta.

For information on how to get there and what to expect check out "Skandagiri on"

Overall it was a good experience thanks to Som for searching the net.

Skanda Giri