Not very far from the pretty suburbs of Gokulam, is the beautiful lake of Kukkarahalli. The location of this lake is quite interesting. You wouldn’t expect, and naturally so, a lung-space with a walkway of 4.5 km around a serene lake right in the city limits of a place like Mysore. It is just 3km away from the Railway Station. If you’re having a day off from your yoga routine, you must visit Kukkarahalli lake. It will complement your yoga practice and replenish you with fresh oxygen and verve.
Kukkarahalli lake is the joggers’ paradise of Mysore. People don’t seem to mind coming here everyday from far off localities. This is the place you will meet most of the local health freaks. Starting from 5 in the morning, you will notice proud citizens of all ages and sizes – some walking, some jogging or running, some stretching and occasionally you will also see them doing yoga.
Plenty of things surround the lake that are almost picture perfect. And so, you are likely to meet a couple of photographers too.
Kukkarahalli lake attracted tens of thousands of birds once upon a time. It is said that around 176 species of birds, most of them migratory, visited the lake during winters. Bird watching expeditions were often organised by the Mysore Amateur Naturalists. Unfortunately though, with deterioration of the water quality, the birds have drastically reduced in number today. Despite taking several measures in the last decade to preserve the ecosystem of the lake, complete restoration has not been possible.
Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that this lake continues to retain it’s charm. Spot-billed pelicans, Open Bill Storks, Painted Storks and Oriental Darters are just one of the many species of birds that are still found around the lake.
Kukkarahalli lake was originally built by the Maharaja of Mysore Krishnaraja Wadiyar III in 1864 and was meant for irrigation and drinking purposes. Today, Kukkarahalli Lake Conservation Committee has been set up in association with the University of Mysore, few NGOs and a handful of concerned citizens.
You may decide to go there for a jog or a long walk; you may fancy trying yoga or you may just want to take pictures. Whatever the case, Kukkarahalli kere (lake in Kannada) is perfect! I’d say your trip to Mysore will be half-done without a visit to this heritage lake because it’s one of those places where you get to know the real Mysore. The sweet smell of early morning freshness, the sound of birds chirping and trees swaying and the breathtaking sunrise – are not worth missing! Specially when they’re just around the corner!