If streetlights at Mumbai Marine Drive resembles a string of imaginary pearls in a necklace forming a Queen’s Necklace, the Kukkarahalli Lake in Mysuru is an exquisite, shiny and giant Green Emerald for Mysureans — priceless. Located amidst Green surroundings of Manasagangothri, CFTRI and Kalamandira, the Greenery of Kukkarahalli Lake — locals call it Kukknalli Kere — is Greener than any other Green surroundings because of its rich biodiversity that supports a large population of flora and fauna. Though reams of paper have been used to write about the iconic Lake, this Weekend Star Supplement takes a fresh look at the Lake that is a perfect escape route from the busy city life and provides an inner sense of peace, bringing one closer to nature and closer to LIFE in its various forms.
By V. Shourabh
Breathing Biodiversity, Life: Kukkarahalli Lake, a walker’s heartthrob
Poetry of Earth is best found amongst nature and Albert Einstein sums it up by saying: “Look deep into nature and then you will understand life better.” Drawing parallels to it, Mysuru is blessed to have the 62-hectare (153-acre) Kukkarahalli Lake, a paradise for nature lovers, fitness enthusiasts, joggers, walkers, children and tourists.
With a varied range of biodiversity, this beautiful Lake set in the heart of the Heritage City, has been a heartthrob for fellow Mysureans. With a shoreline of about 5 kilometres, the Lake that breathes biodiversity and (infuses oxygen) is amidst green precincts like Manasagangothri, Kalamandira and Central Food Technological Research Institute. But the greenery of Kukkarahalli is greener than any other green surroundings because of its rich biodiversity that supports a large population of flora and fauna. It is definitely not an exaggeration if we call it the Lungs of Mysuru.
The origin of the Lake dates back to 1864, when Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom created this Lake for irrigation purposes. Kukkarahalli Lake offers the perfect escape route from the busy city and monotonous work-life and provides an inner sense of peace, calm and brings one closer to nature. We take you into a journey of escapism into nature that is filled with LIFE.
Kukkarahalli Kereya Mele
Celebrated Kannada poet and Rashtrakavi Kuvempu (K.V. Puttappa) describes a sunset here, in his poem Kukkarahalli Kereya Mele…
“In front of me, the light of the setting sun plays with ripples on the water, and threads its way through a line of trees on the opposite bank…”
How many times have I seen this sight, sitting here? How many times have I paid obeisance to the beauty here? Countless times. And I’m not done yet. I’ll be back…”
Vet shares his experiences of shooting Brahminy Kite
The picturesque Kukkarahalli Lake offers various needs for different people. Fitness enthusiasts come here for jogging, stretching, and yoga while a majority of people come here for a walk hand-in-hand with nature.
With so many species of birds in the Lake premises, bird lovers and enthusiasts can generally be seen with their binoculars or long telephoto camera lenses. One section of people come here for a stroll in groups and sit on the nearby stone benches for a fun-filled gossip and chat.
With a small play area within the Lake, Children can be seen pacing across the slides and swings. The young, the teen, the middle-aged and the old, the Lake has scope for all age groups and all life forms. Indeed, it is a colossal environment where humans interact with nature. It is an amalgamation of nature, health, oxygen, flora, fauna and most importantly peace. Thus, has a perfect ecosystem that encourages co-existence and interaction between life forms. The Lake has various species of trees, plants, birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles, dragonflies, damselflies and animals.
The pathway set alongside the Lake is covered by trees and woods on its side. And it is in this pathway, set between the woods, trees, one tends to find a doorway to a new world. A new world of happiness, fresh air, greenery, micro-organisms, various life forms and a world full of life. No wonder the Lake is the best escape route from city’s lifestyle and monotonous work-life.
Dr. H.R. Jagadeesh, a Veterinary Doctor, always ensures to carry his small handcamera along with him during his stroll through the Lake side as he captures life forms and documents it on his YouTube channel.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, he said: “The Lake has been an integral part of me and I have been regularly coming here since about 4 years. This Lake has a lot of biodiversity and it is fascinating to see different life forms. The Lake has several species of birds, reptiles, dragon flies, butterflies etc. I always carry my camera along with me and capture videos of various species and upload them on my YouTube channel ‘Dr. H.R. Jagadeesh’. I upload the videos so that it is informative and can inspire someone to learn more about nature. Especially children can benefit from it and learn more about the organisms,” he says.
“I also learn a lot. Seeing these organisms, it kindles a sense of curiosity within me that motivates me to learn and research more about it. Small organisms like dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies are a treat to capture. I capture videos, edit them, give background scores and try to make the video more informative. I have several interesting moments that I have captured during my walk here in this biosphere and one fine moment that I can remember is that while I was shooting a Brahminy Kite perched on a tree top with its fish, another kite swooped in and the fish was swapped from one kite to another.”
Access roads need improvement
Prof. M. Shankar of Manasagangothri has been a regular visitor to the Lake since the past 20 years. He said:
The Lake has undergone a transition over time and there are improvements. But with the Lake gaining limelight amongst Mysureans, there is still need and scope for a lot of improvement, especially near the access roads. Though the Lake and the pathways need to be left the way it is and nature should be in control of it, the stones protruding out of pathway is a risk,” he explains.
Continuing, he narrates, “I myself have tripped over the stones a couple of times. If the mud roads are flattened, it would be of great help especially for walking and running. Another major concern is the lack of toilets. With so many people especially aged people coming here, there is a need for toilets within the Lake premises. I have been in close association with this beautiful Lake since so many years as I come here to admire nature as well as to keep good health.
A treat for ornithologists
The Lake is a treat for an ornithologist or a birder as it has birds like Cormorant, Painted Stork, Spot Billed Duck, Purple Heron, Red Wattled Lapwing, Spot Billed Pelican, Purple and Common Moor Hen, Snake Bird, Glossy Ibis, Black headed ibis, Indian Pond Heron, Grey Heron, Kingfishers, Brahminy Kite, Green Bee Eater, Ashy Prinia, Black Winged Stilt, etc.
A bird enthusiast, Chandrashekar, said, “I have been coming here regularly for walking as well as bird watching since about 7 years. During that course, I enjoy the serene and the ambient pristine Lake. This Lake set in the nucleus of Mysuru, has a wide variety of flora and fauna and has a lot to offer in terms of biodiversity. This is an open laboratory and one can learn anything about nature by staying close to it and Kukkarahalli Lake has it all.”
Sunil Achar, a Mysurean, who currently works in Sweden, ensures that he makes the most of his vacation back home and he is lost in the admiration of nature and filled with nostalgia while jogging at the Lake. He said:
“There are two things that Mysureans love to visit or do — climbing the Chamundi Hill steps and coming to the Kukkarahalli Lake. These two are the most famous spots and brings a sense of peace. I come to the Lake to perform outdoor exercises and also jogging. The experience of jogging is very peaceful here. With such a scenic sight, greenery all around and so many different species of birds and their chirps ringing all around, I tend to get lost in nature. It is almost difficult to find such a continuous stretch which perfectly suits for jogging in Mysuru.”
Pelican wakes up a child in her
Vatsala, a housewife, who comes for a walk in the Lake for about three to four times a week, is of the opinion that Kukkarahalli Lake is an altogether different aura of experience as she gets so close to nature and gets a fresh head start into her day.
She adds, “It is so captivating to see nature from such a close range. With the birds chirping around and young and old all pacing and walking along the Lake in the early hours of the day with glee and charming smiles, it motivates me to come here regularly and be a part of this healthy culture. The fact that I get to see so many birds during my walk has fascinated me. Never have I seen birds in their natural habitat from such a close range,” she says with her eyes expressing surprise.
On some occasions, I tend to sit down and start observing the birds or a particular species of birds. My eyes always tend to search for the alluring Pelican. The sight of it makes brings a sense of joy in me and the kid within me is awakened. The Lake is a beautiful sight and though I have been coming here since about two years, I feel I have a long association with it. Here, I see some professional or serious runners, daily walkers, yoga practitioners, young kids, teenagers and ladies. For some it is fitness and for some it is an ideal place to sit and gossip with friends. Old people find new friends and nature lovers come here in abundance and for the kids it is a play area and a new exploratory world.
Madhusudhan, a National-level fighter, a Gold Medallist in MMA and Muay Thai, is a fitness enthusiast and uses the Lake to work on his fitness and health. He says:
I come here to run alongside the Lake bund and the main purpose is for fitness. I have been a regular visitor to this Lake for about 4 years. I and my team find it to be the right place for the morning runs and workouts.
No wonder, the Lake is a complete ecosystem in itself. Though the needs of each people may be different, the Lake does offer vital life lessons. It is a live example that imparts us the importance of life forms, how to embrace one another, sustain and accept each other and live in perfect harmony and co-exist in the same space.
This Lake has a music of its own. A music that whispers the essence of life and wisdom for those who listen patiently to the breeze of the winds, chirping of the birds and the beautiful sounds created by the swaying of the bamboos. Only you have to have an ear for its music.