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Mandya is the “Sugar City of Karnataka”, which is situated 100 kms south-west of Bengaluru on the way to Mysuru. Karnataka’s current Chief Minister B S Yadiyurappa was born in Bookanakere in Mandya district.
Mandya was known by multiple names dating back to history, such as ‘Vedaranya’ and ‘ Vishnupriya’ but was believed that there was great sage of the ancient days by the name ‘Mandavya’ who was doing tapas there and the district was named Mandya after this sage.
Mandya is home to Krishnaraja Sagara Dam, Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapatna, Ranganathittu and Kokkare Bellur Bird Sanctuaries, Melukote Temple, the famous and must visit, Shivanasamudra Falls and other interesting tourism attractions.
Kokkare Belluru is quite a famous bird sanctuary that falls under Rural Tourism in Karnataka and has a very interesting story of how migrant birds (storks and pelicans particularly), have found their happy place in this village and the relationship between humans and birds. A wonderful documentary was shot by WWF India in 2017. Here’s the link to this interesting documentary “Nest In Peace”
Mandya is well known for its significance in drama and theatre that comprises color, powerful drama scenes and a wide showcase of culture and heritage. There is an unparalleled contribution to this field by the late Shri K.V.Shankare Gowda who wrote drama scenes based on the Ramayana Dharsanam.
When at Mandya, do visit Melukote during the popular annual festival- Vairamudi Brahmotsava and experience what Mandya has to offer to you. Also, do not forget to enjoy nice, snacky, flavorful bites of the Maddur Vada which is a famous delicacy of Mandya district. Enjoy it with some nice hot and aromatic filter coffee.
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- Srirangapatna: Srirangapatna is a town of historical importance near Mysuru, due to the Summer Palace and burial chambers of former Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan and his family. Major attractions in Srirangapatna are Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Daria Daulat Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace and Gumbaz.
- Pandavapura: Was home to the French Army base. Currently popular for Kunti Betta and temples of Mallikarjuna, Dakshinamurthy and Gitamandir.
Nature & Wildlife
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary: Ranganathittu near Mysuru is the largest bird sanctuary in Karnataka, spread over 40 acres comprising Kaveri river, islets and forest area. Around 170 different species of birds have been spotted in Ranganathittu. Most commonly seen bids are painted stork, kingfishers, cormorant, darter, herons, wild ducks, river tern, cattle egrets, Indian roller, ibis, common spoonbill, great stone plover and pelicans. Ranganathittu receives many seasonal migratory birds from far away destinations such as Australia, North America and Siberia, in addition to its permanent residents.
- Kokkare Bellur: Kokkare Bellur is an entire village dedicated to conservation of birds. Named after Painted Storks (Kokkare in Kannada), Kokkare bellur is a village in Maddur Taluk of Mandya district on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Pelicans and Painted storks are found in large numbers in Kokkare bellur, often on top of tamarind and mango trees. More than 200 other bird species are reportedly spotted in Kokkare Bellur. November to May is the best season to visit Kokkare Bellur with a very high probability of spotting thousands of Pelicans and Painted Storks.
- Shivanasamudra: Shivanasamudra is a popular waterfall on river Kaveri, located in Chamarajanara district, bordering Mandya district. Shivanasamudra is a must visit post monsoon season for the visual treat it offers. Shivanasamudra consists of two waterfalls- Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki. Though part of the same Kaveri river, the viewpoints to observe Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki are about 15 kms apart. Well maintained viewing deck is available to witness Gagana Chukki and Bharachukki waterfalls. River water dropping of tall rock cliffs, with lush green forests all around ensures a mesmerizing view and photographer’s delight.
- Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary: A protected wildlife area spanning Mandya, Ramanagara and Chamarajanagar districts, covering 510 sq kms. Jackals were spotted for the first time recently in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Adi Chunchanagiri Peacock Sanctuary: Declared in 1981, a unique sanctuary for peacocks, India’s national bird. Spread over 217 acres, Adi Chunchanagiri Peacock Sanctuary is home to about 100 different species of birds besides peacocks, 32 varieties of butterflies, reptiles and amphibian animals. There are only 2 peacock sanctuaries in Karnataka, the other one being Bankapura.
- Karighatta viewpoint: 6.3 kms from Srirangapatna, offers a nice view of Mysuru and Srirangapatna city from an elevation of 3000 ft.
- Balamuri Falls: Small but scenic falls 12 kms from Srirangapatna. Water cascades over manmade check dam creating light and pleasant stream safe and convenient to get into
- Hemagiri Falls: About 10 kms from KR Pete, a dam and falls on Hemavathi river makes Hemagiri falls an ideal picnic spot.
- Bheemeshwari: Excellent spot for bird watching. Activities such as coracle ride, guided trekking etc can be undertaken at JLR Bheemeshwari Adventure Nature camp, which accepts day visit guests.
- Shimsha Falls: A 200 ft waterfall of river Shimsha, located at Shimshapura, 25 kms from Malavalli. Has a hanging bridge visitors can walk upon.
- Brindavan Gardens, KRS Mysuru: Brindavan Gardens is built on the other side of Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam, in Mandya district, on the outskirts of Mysuru city. Brindavan garden attracts over two million visitors each year and a must visit for anyone visiting Mysuru. Major attractions in Brindavan Gardens include a vast, well maintained botanical garden spread over 60 acres, children park, nursery, lake & boating and musical fountain show.
- Satyagraha Soudha: A memorial on freedom struggle, located at Shivapura near Maddur.
- Day trip to Chukkimane/Bheemeshwari: Chukkimane (https://www.chukkimane.com/) and Jungle Lodges & Resorts, Bheemeshwari allow day visit guests. Visitors can indulge in various guided activities such as trekking in the middle of nature.
- Melukote: Melukote is a sacred temple town in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district. Melukote is popular for its hilltop Yoganarasimha temple, Cheluvarayana swamy temple and academy of Sanskrit research. Melukote’s Yoganarasimha temple is at a height of 1777 meters from sea level. Accessing the temple requires climbing 300+ steps. Yoganarasimha temple was built during the Hoysala rule and received good patronage from subsequent rulers, Mysuru Wodeyars and Tipu Sultan. Cheluvarayana Swamy temple is built in Dravidian style architecture centered around a large pond. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the 1000 years old temple of Melukote was gifted with royal jewels and crowns by Mysuru Wodeyars. Vairamudi Brahmotsava is the annual festival of Melukote temples
- Adichunchanagiri: Popular pilgrimage centre in Mandya
- Aghalaya: Home to Hoysala style Mallesvara temple.
- Basaralu: Home to famous Hoysala style Mallikarjuna temple
- Bellur: Home to Gowresvara temple, Mule Singesvara temple, Virabhadra temple, Madhavaraya and Kalleshwara temple.
- Bindiganavile: Home to Hosyala style Keshava temple and Shiva temples. Popular spot to watch peacocks.
- Govindanahalli: Home to Hoysala style Panchalingeshwara temple and Venugopala temple. Govindanahalli also holds a popular cattle fair in the region.
- Hariharapura: Home to Hariharesvara, Lingabasaveshvara, Anjaneya, Ganapathi, Bhairava and Viranjaneya temples. Hariharapura also has a Durgah, a mosque and an old fort
- Hosaholalu: Home to Harishareshwara temple, Lakshminarayana temple and Viranjaneya temple
- Kambadahalli: A great Jain centre with Panchakuta Basadi, Shantinatha Basadi and other Jain monuments and sculptures.
- Kikkeri: Kikkeri is a Hoysala centre of art, home to Brahmesvara temple, Janardhana Temple, Lakshminarasimha, Yoga Narasimha and Kikkeramma temples.
- Maddur: Popular for Narasimha Temple,Madduramma temple, Desesvara temple and Varadarajaswamy temple. Maddur Vada is a mouth watering snack.
- Mandya: District headquarter and home to Janardhana Swamy temple.
- Marehalli: Popular for Chola era Lakshmi Narasimha temple
- Nagamangala: Home to Yoga Narasimha, Sowmya Keshava, Kallamma, Bhadrakali, Bhuvanesvara and Bagagodamma temples. Nagamangala also has a 13th century fort and several ancient monuments.
- Tolachi: Home to Ankeshwara temple of Hoysala Era
- Tonnur: Popular for Tulabhara Seve- a ritual where devotees balance their weight with valuable materials. Tonnur has two famous temples- Yoganarasimha and Nambinarayana.
- Varahanatha Kallahalli: Home to a Hoysala era temple with a huge Varahaswami image, situated very close to Krishna Raja Sagara reservoir.