Karanji Lake (Kannada: ಕಾರಂಜಿ ಕೆರೆ) is a lake located in the city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka, India. The lake is surrounded by a nature park consisting of a butterfly park and a walk-through aviary. This aviary is the biggest 'walk-through aviary' in India. There is also a museum, the Regional Museum of Natural History which is located on the banks of this lake. The total area of Karanji lake is 90 hectares. While waterspread area is about 55 hectares, the foreshore area measures about 35 hectares. Karanji lake is owned by the Mysore Zoo Authority. Mysore Zoo gets a revenue of an average of Rs. 50000 per day from ticket sales to enthusiasts who visit this lake.
The aviary constructed on the shore of the lake has a height of 20 m, length of 60 m and width of 40 m making it India's biggest walk-through aviary. The aviary was set up at a cost of Rs 3.8 million. It includes an artificial water fall and two small water bodies. Water from the Karanji lake is pumped inside the aviary in the form of a stream while the used water is discharged into the lake. It has about 40–50 birds of 17 species. Hornbills, peacocks, white-peacocks, turkeys and black swans are some of the birds found in this aviary. This aviary was temporarily closed in the year 2006 to prevent the break-out of bird flu.
The butterfly park has been created on a small island within the Karanji lake. About 45 species of butterflies have been identified here. With the help of a botanist, appropriate species of host plants and nectar plants essential for the breeding of butterflies were selected and planted within the island. These plants have also been brought from hillstations and other regions like Malnad.
Regional Museum of Natural History:
The Regional Museum of Natural History was inaugurated on 20 May 1995. The broad objectives of the Museum are:
- Depict floral, faunal and geological wealth of the southern region of India.
- Depict ecological interrelationship among plants and animals with emphasis on conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
- Provide facility for school children on curriculum-based studies in biology and geology with emphasis on environmental aspect.
- Develop programs for masses to create environmental awareness
Some of the common migratory birds found here are grey pelican, painted stork, ibis, cormorant, egret, etc. which nest on trees in the islands present in the lake. Recent survey of birds have indicated 147 species. Herons, Asian open bill storks, egrets, red wattle lapwing, sandpipers, rose ringed parakeet, black drongo, brown shrike, red-whiskered bulbul, booted warbler, sunbird and greenish warbler are some of the other species of birds found here.