Are you exhausted after a hectic week but running out of things to do in Bangalore? Don’t have enough time to get out of the city but want to have a relaxing time? Want to do something different? Read on…
It was the last day of 2013 and my feet were itching (as usual :P) to go somewhere! I started pestering VJ. His twin brother AJ came to his aid and suggested something interesting out of the blue! Without a seconds thought he said, “Why don’t we go on a lake hunt?”. Yeah, now that’s what I call a ‘cool’ idea! The days were getting hotter in Bangalore and some cool breeze and a lazy walk along a lake was such a refreshing idea.
So, I quickly did some googling and short-listed few of the lakes we could visit. I knew that almost each area in Bangalore has its own lake.
But I was thoroughly surprised going through the history of lakes in Bangalore. The 262 wetlands that existed in Bangalore in 1962 had declined by a whopping 58 percent by 2007. And that many of them have vanished in the past few years!
We made a rough plan and set off!
1. Ulsoor lake:
Our first stop had to be the most famous lake of Bangalore. It happens to be the nearest one to our home as well. For me Ulsoor lake is like an oasis in the middle of the hustle-bustle of the city! Though it needs more care and maintenance it is still a beautiful lake in the city-centre.
The park adjacent to it lacks maintenance. But the jogging track is good. In the morning you can see army personnel doing kayaking which looks good. There is a boat club which operates in the evening hours. Part of the lake is covered with sea-weeds. Avoid going there during the Ganesh visarjan period to save yourself from the unsightly look.
Make sure you go there early to catch the sunrise! You can also make it a day trip by combining it with a visit to the nearby Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, have yummy breakfast at either MTR (Indiranagar) or the Egg factory, Ulsoor. For lunch make sure you go to Bobby da dhaba for some lip-smacking parathas!
2. Sankey Tank:
Our next stop was one of the most popular and well-maintained lakes in Bangalore and a walkers’ delight! It’s one of those few lakes which has resisted the time and damage caused by human settlement. Calm, serene and well-maintained.
Best time to go would be before 8.00 am and after 6.00 pm as it gets too sunny during the day. The lake is huge and the jogging track round its circumference is more than 1.5 kms which is well laid and fully connected.
Take a walk, breathe easy, hear the chirping of the birds and go home completely relaxed.
It goes without saying that Malleshwaram and Sadashivanagar are some of the most charming localities of old Bangalore. And if you are a foodie (like me!) do not miss having breakfast at Veena stores (they have the crispiest vadas I’ve ever had!) or Halli mane (some nice dosas and Mangalore buns). We did both! 😉
3. Madiwala lake:
Our third lake for the day took me by surprise as I had no expectations from this one. In fact I was skeptical if we would even locate the lake easily. Little did I know that it was one of the biggest lakes in Bangalore. It’s also called as the BTM lake garden which is at one end of this huge lake. There is a well-maintained garden with children’s play area.
Also there’s a boating club which offers pedal boats in the evening hours. Entry tickets are nominal at Rs. 5 with no extra charges for cameras. Surprisingly many different types of water birds can be seen in the lake making it a popular spot for photo-walks. We thoroughly enjoyed the discovery of this beautiful lake!
How to reach this lake? It’s located in BTM Layout 2nd stage and can be easily reached if you know BTM area well. If you are new to South Bangalore, just reach BTM 2nd stage and look for 29th main road. This road connects the BTM main road and Bannerghatta Road. Keep going towards Bannerghatta Road via 29th main and you will reach BTM lake garden.
4. Agara lake:
This lake was once a serene nestling spot of migratory birds but eventually became a dump site of garbage and a hub for nefarious activities. Sometime last year in an attempt to restore the lake’s lost glory, about 400 volunteers responded to the call of Save Agara Lake Group to clean up the lake and its surroundings. So during our visit the lake was relatively clean with a walking track along its length.
The lake is under strict vigilance by the authorities who do not allow anybody between 10 AM and 4 PM.
One can find the iconic Calm, serene and well-maintained statue beside the lake facing the road.
Agara Lake is one of the rare natural lakes of Bangalore which hopefully will get back its charm!
5. Kaikondrahalli lake:
This small and pristine lake which is located off Sarjapur road is another example of a lake which was on the verge of extinction, but was revived due to the efforts of the people in the neighbourhood. Once a dumpyard, it is now the darling of the neighbourhood! There is a well-made walk-way around the lake.
Something about this lake was very impressive and when we came back home I searched for more info. about the lake and was thoroughly surprised to read about the community involvement in rejuvenating the Kaikondarahalli lake. To showcase this, the Stockholm Resilience centre has recently produced a short film titled ‘Kaikondarahalli Lake-The Uncommon Story of an Urban Commons’. It shows the story of how a group of engaged citizens in Bangalore transforms a polluted urban lake into a co-managed, healthy ecosystem with rich biodiversity, to the benefit of all in the neighborhood.
It was mid-noon by the time we decided to call it a day. We were tired but happy at discovering such peaceful and refreshing places in Bangalore.
Apart from these there are many more lakes in Bangalore like the lake in Lal Bagh garden, Nagawara lake(with Lumbini garden), Hebbal lake, Hesaraghatta lake(which received water last year after nearly six years!), Varthur lake(which totally lacks maintenance), etc.
Healthy lakes are not only the sources of recreation but are also important ecosystems that should be respected and cared for. Let us be responsible citizens and save these ecological clinics.
After all, sometimes it is that simple and quiet walk along a lake in the neighbourhood is all that we need to unwind!
Which is your favourite lake in Bangalore? Any recommendations for me? I would love to explore!