Visited a biodiversity hotspot called Ramanathapura Fish Sanctuary in Arkalgud Taluk , Hassan Dist. A variety of fish species facing threat of extinction are protected here and propagation is facilitated.
On arriving there, was pleasantly pleasantly surprised to see that the sanctuary is not a tank or artificial pond, but a river bank ( Vahni Pushkarini )associated with a pilgrimage point called Rameshwara swami Temple .
The temple stands on the bank of Kaveri , has stone steps leading to the river, which at this point is considered a holy “ theertha “ . The fish here have always been, by tradition, protected as sacred to the Lord. Fishing has always been prohibited and Pilgrims earn Merit, by feeding the fish cooked rice, gram and poha.
The Black Mahsheer ( Tor kudhree ), once found in large numbers here is a threatened species now . The ecology of the age old riverbank was changed with the construction of Harangi Dam upstream and natural annual flooding and ebbing patterns became inconsistent , thus putting life cycles of fish species in danger.
The whole area was declared as a protected zone by H.H, the Maharaja of Mysore, under the ‘Provisions' of Section 5(1) of the Mysore Game and Fish Preservation Act , 1901.
Fishermen have to obtain licences for fishing in river Cauvery, out side the sanctuary area, from the Department of Fisheries . The Village Panchayat, Local Youth Club and Society for Advancement of Aqua culture have created awareness among general public about the importance of protecting the sanctuary so that even stray cases of poaching are prevented.
The Temple is a small Ekakuta Hoysala style temple with the Hoysala Crest . The central monument is encircled by corridors built later, with lovely Mysore style stucco work decorations.
There are a series of Lingams said to be dedicated by the various characters of the Ramayana epic .
However, the most interesting and unusual feature is seen not in the temple, but in a low pavilion that stands on the river bank. Inside is a natural rock formation which is revered as Ardhanariswara Lingam. Pilgrims offer it puja by themselves directly .
Ramanathapura is a small town , but crammed with beautiful old temples. Besides the Rameshwara temple , there are temples to Subramanya (presiding as a Serpent on an anthill ) , Pattabhirama ( renovated and modernised ) and Agashyeshwara ( retaining its ancient character ) .