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 Kere Tonnur - A Kere Not to be Missed  

Kere Tonnur

Approximately 130 kilometers away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Bangalore is the serene and unspoiled beauty of a pristine lake called Kere Tonnur. It's a man made water barrage across Yadavanadi connecting two rocky hills and built from the times of king Ramanuja around 1000 years ago. It was known as 'Tirumalasagara' at that time and now has many names like 'Kere Thodanur' after the second capital of Hoysala Empire and 'Moti Talab' meaning Lake of Pearls, probably bit of exaggeration for the clear water the Kere holds. 

How to reach  

The drive from Bangalore will take approximately two to three hours depending on the time of travel. After Mandya, you need to take a right turn at Pandavpura and travel the sugar cane waste strewn village roads crossing many sugar care processing factories, smelling raw jagri, for twenty to twenty five kilometers. Local villagers are the best help in finding out directions and I do not remember the turns we've taken and the small towns we've passed and do not have any intention of misguiding folks who come over and read this travelogue. After passing through a scarcely populated stretch of land suddenly you reach an open area with lush green rice paddies and a stream coming down a hill side resembling a man made water fall. You can drive up all the way to the reservoir bund where you can park the vehicle. Even when you get down you won't see the actual lake but only the ridge. Slowly walk up the ridge and you'll be amazed by what you'll see in front of you. A huge body of water spread till your eyes can see and rolling onto the hillocks on the other side.

What to see

Kere Tonnur is not a place for sight seeing or activities of that kind which many tourist places offer. This is a small place which offers few things to see around but a lot of space to relax and lot of peace all around you. You climb up the rocky hill on the left side of the reservoir bund to visit a small temple on the top. There is regular prayers and pooja happening there. The view from here down to the valleys is amazing, especially the views of the paddy fields down on the valley. You can climb down to the reservoir through a steep rocky path, where you've to be very careful not to slip and fall down. Down at the shore of the lake is a small cave formed by huge monolithic rock formations. On the right edge of the lake there is a beach like place with lot of sandy shore, to which either you can walk by the side of the lake through the rocky hillocks or come by the vehicle surrounding the hills. Even if you come by a vehicle you may have to walk around fifty meters to reach the lake shore. This place is ideal to enjoy your lunch and spend time playing in the sand or in the water. The water, though safe near the shore, is said to be dangerous and many people have drowned there, as per the watchman. You need to pay even for a swim in the water. But, you can play around near the shore without really paying. But, it’s customary to pay the watchman some amount, for he takes care of cleaning up the place and ‘watch’ over you. There is a kerosene-fuelled boat which can take around 10 people and the man charges around rupees 150 per trip. The boat takes you deep into the choppy waters. Water gets very choppy if the winds are high. The boat ride is a good experience. There are lot of trees giving good shade near the sandy shore where you can sit and feel you're in a different world altogether. Steady breeze blowing on your face and chirping of birds entertaining you ears and nothing else to disturb you, you can spend as much time as you want here. At the end of the day you’re sure to leave this place thinking that you need to come back here soon. Kere Tonnur is that kind of a place, which has been unaffected by commercialization or uncontrollable crowds which flock every other picnic spot in and around Bangalore. Let's hope it remains so for some more time, at least till we visit again.

When to visit

We visited Kere Tonnur in the month of May and the place was very pleasant and there were enough water in the lake. So, I suppose any time of the year should be good to visit Kere Tonnur, monsoon season might be a little too much of water, though. The lush green rice paddies dancing in the afternoon breeze and music of the water streams dancing down the rocky hill sides to water and nourish them are still alive in my memory and I long to get back as soon as possible. Probably, this is a place which took me as close as I could get to my serene village back home.

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