Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
A scenic territory in Karnataka's Malnad region, this sanctuary is rather unsung. This is a no-fuss zone. No long treks through difficult terrain to catch a sight of winged visitors. Park your vehicle outside the sanctuary and walk into this haven for the median egret, the little cormorant and the darter or snakebird.
What greets you is a row of trees, part of a dense forest, hugging one side of a small island formed by the river Tunga. A slight breeze a cue for the three species of migratory birds that take shelter on the leafless trees here to take flight and the trees turn barren. Once you've had your fill of watching the birds dart into the clear waters and emerge with their catch for the day, head to the watchtower nearby.
From here, the view is even better. You can see the trees choc-a-bloc with birds, watch the cormorants feeding their little ones and see the darter fishing. This sanctuary came close to being submerged due to the Upper Tunga project, but thankfully efforts are being made to raise the riverbanks to allow the birds to continue roosting here like they have for decades.
When to go
July to September. During the peak season in August, it is estimated that more than 5,000 birds visit the sanctuary.
What to see
En route to Mandagadde, you can visit the vast Gajanur Dam and the elephant training camp at Sakrebyle. Drive through a village close to the camp and catch the pachyderms bathing at the Tunga river.
How to go
Mandagadde is 30 km from Shimoga, 140 km from Mangalore and 345 km from Bangalore. It is on the way to Theerthahalli from Shimoga. The sanctuary is well connected by road with a lot of State-owned and private buses running in the area. However, there are no hotels here. The best bet is to stay in Shimoga.
For details, write to Deputy Conservator of Forests, Shimoga Wildlife Division, D C Compound, Shimoga - 577 201 or call 08182-222983 or visit www.karnatakatourism.org/sites/des_west_mandagadde.html
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