Natural Lakes of Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh, located in the lap of the Himalayas, is home to a breathtaking collection of lakes that enhance the natural beauty of the region. These lakes are fed by glaciers, rainwater, and groundwater, and not only serve as an essential water source for rivers but also attract many tourists. In this article, we will explore the different categories of these charming lakes based on their altitude and formation.

District wise distribution

ShimlaKarali, Chandra Nahan,Tani Jubbar, Kunihar 
ChambaManimahesh, Lama, Khajjiar, Mahakali Dal, Gadhasaru, Chamera
SirmaurRenuka, Parshuram, Suketi
KangraDal, Kareri, Maharana Pratap Sagar (artificial)
KulluBhrigu, Dashabr, Sarvalsar, Mantaler
MandiParashar, Kumavah, Rewalsar, Kamrunag, Pandoh (artificial), Macchial, Sukhsar, Kalsar, Kunt Bhyog
Lahaul and SpitiDhankar, Surajtal, Chandertal

Classification of lake

  • High Altitude lakes
  • Mid Altitude Lakes
  • Low Altitude Lakes

High Altitude Lakes

Chandertal: The Lake of the Moon

Chandertal Lake, also known as Chandra Taal or Tso Chigma, is a high-altitude wetland located 6 km away from the Kunzum Pass in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It sits at a height of 4300 m and has a width of about 2.5 km. The lake is also known as Lake of the Moon and is the source of the Chandra river. It is surrounded by mountain ranges of Moulkila and Chandrabhaga.

According to Hindu mythology, Chandra Taal is the place where the King of Gods, Indra, came down using his chariot to transport Yudhishthira, the eldest of the 5 Pandavas of Mahabharat. The lake is believed to be visited by fairies at night, as per the local folklore.

The lake is home to various species, including the snow leopard, snow cock, chukor, black ring stilt, kestrel, golden eagle, chough, red fox, Himalayan ibex, and blue sheep. It is also one of two high-altitude wetlands in India that have been designated as Ramsar sites due to its unique features and ecological importance. It was declared a Ramsar site in 2005.

Visitors can only access the lake during the three summer months, as it is usually frozen and cut off during the remaining seasons.

Dashir: Healing Waters Near Rohtang Pass

Dashir Lake, also known as Sarkund and Sheela Sar, is a high-altitude lake situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is located near the Rohtang Pass, which connects the Kullu district with Lahaul. The lake is about 3 to 4 meters deep and situated at an altitude of 4270 meters from sea level. It is believed that the waters of Dashir Lake have therapeutic abilities and a dip in it can heal numerous ailments. The lake attracts a lot of local pilgrims throughout August and September. The area is also ideal for a base camp to explore the lovely and enchanting mountains and regions nearby.

Lama Dal: A Devotional Haven

Lama Dal Lake is another high-altitude lake located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is situated 45 kilometers from Chamba town and 3960 meters above sea level. It is considered sacred to Lord Shiva and is part of a holy pilgrimage that takes place in July and August according to the Hindu calendar. The lake is the largest and deepest in the area, with a circumference of about 2.5 kilometers. The lake is surrounded by small caves primarily used by local shepherds. It is accessible from three passes: Minkiani Pass, Indrahar Pass, and Gaj Pass.

Manimahesh: Sacred Waters of Bharmour

Manimahesh Lake is situated in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas in Bharmour Sub-division. It is located in the South-Eastern corner of Chamba district near the Chamba-Kullu border and at a height of 4183 meters. The Manimahesh Kailash Parvat or Chamba Kailash that stands high close to the lake is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The water of the Manimahesh lake is considered holy. There is also a four-faced Shiva Lingam installed near the lake. The pilgrimage to Manimahesh is considered as sacred as that of Amarnath, Badrinath, and Rameshwaram.

Read in details:Manimahesh Lake

Nako: Frozen Beauty in Kinnaur

Nako Lake is a high altitude lake located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated in the Pooh sub-division of district Kinnaur at a height of about 3,662 meters (12,014 ft) above sea level. The lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees and is revered as a sacred site by the local people. Near the lake is the beautiful Nako Village, which has a monastery dedicated to the local deities. In total, there are four monasteries in the village. During winters, the lake freezes and turns into a thick sheet of ice, making it a popular spot for ice skating. Despite being located away from the nearest big town, Nako Lake attracts visitors from all over the world who come here to seek peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Prashar: Meditative Serenity

Prashar Lake is located at a height of 2730 m above sea level in the Mandi district. The lake is overlooked by snow-draped peaks and is fed by small mountain streams. Saint Prashar meditated at the bank of this lake, and a three-storeyed pagoda-like temple dedicated to the saint is located near the lake. The people of the adjoining areas gather in this temple during the annual fair held here in the month of June. The lake is also home to a floating island, which adds to its natural beauty.

Read in detail:Prashar Lake

Suraj Tal: Sacred Waters of Lahaul and Spiti

Suraj Tal, also known as Tso Kamtsi or Surya Tal, is a high-altitude lake located in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It's the third-highest lake in India and the 21st-highest in the world, with a surface elevation of 4,883 meters. The lake is 800 meters long and has a 4-kilometer shoreline. Suraj Tal derives its source from the Bhaga river and is a sacred body of water which literally means the Lake of the Sun God. It is situated in the upper Himalayan zone or high latitudinal zone of the Himalayas, where snowfall is reported to be spread all year round, and rainfall is rare.

Read in detail: Suraj Tal lake

Mid Altitude Lakes

Khajjiar: Mini Switzerland of Himachal

Khajjiar Lake is located in Chamba district and is fed by small streams. The lake is named after Khajji Nag, the deity in the nearby temple. It is surrounded by evergreen cedar trees of the Kalatop sanctuary, giving it a soft green grassy appearance. The lake is 1.5 km long, 1 km wide and situated at an altitude of 1951 m above sea level. The lake is mostly famous for the Panch Pandaya tree - a special tree with the same root but divided into five sections, representing the five Pandava brothers. On July 7, 1992, Willy P. Blazer, the Swiss Envoy and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India, named Khajjiar "Mini Switzerland". Blazer made the comparison because of the place's topographical resemblance to Switzerland. The lake remains perennial all year round.

Dal: Amidst Deodar and Spirituality

Dal Lake is situated in Kangra district, 1775 m above sea level. The lake is surrounded by deodar trees and is also a pilgrimage centre because of the famous Lord Shiva temple located on its bank. The lake is also known as Bhagsunath Lake and every year in September, a fair is organised here, which is attended by a large number of the Gaddi tribe.

Rewalsar: A Square-shaped Spiritual Retreat

Rewalsar Lake, situated at a height of 1360 m above sea level in Rewalsar town, Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, is a square-shaped lake surrounded by mountain spur and dense vegetation. The lake is also known as Padmacan to the Buddhists. The great teacher saint Padmasambhava influenced the Mahayana Buddhism to form the root of Buddhism at Rewalsar. This lake is associated with the Naga cult, and Buddhists believe that below this lake is the mansion of Nagas. Guru Gobind Singh visited here in AD 1685.

Read in detail: Rewalsar Lake

Low Altitude Lakes

Macchial: A Sacred Oasis

Macchial is a lake located in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 850 meters. It is considered to be a sacred lake and is named after Macchendru Devta or Matasya Avtar of Lord Vishnu. The lake is revered by the local people and the surrounding villages. In earlier times, people would make wishes to Machinder Nath and offer gifts to the God on the fulfillment of their wishes. One of the offerings was to adorn the sacred Himalayan Golden Mahseer fish with gold nasal rings. In the past, these fish could be seen easily in the lake, wearing the golden rings. However, this tradition has almost disappeared nowadays. But it is still common to feed fish to pay obeisance or as a wish for good luck and to avoid bad luck. People take holy baths in the stream on particular days of the Hindu calendar. Fishing is prohibited in the stream due to religious significance.

A fair marking the commencement of the Indian traditional month Vaishakh is held here every year. The fair lasts for three days, during which people from surrounding villages gather and observe it with great pomp and show. Along with a number of other sports activities, wrestling or kusti is the center of interest, which is held on the final day. Wrestlers from distant cities and districts come to show their talent and compete for a handsome prize money.

Renuka: Himachal's Largest Natural Lake

Renuka is the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh, situated in the Sirmaur district. It is located at a height of 672 meters above sea level and has a circumference of about 3214 meters. The Renuka temple, one of the popular temples in Himachal Pradesh, is situated on the bank of this lake. The lake is located at a distance of 37 km from Nahan and 60 km from Paonta Sahib, covering an area of 2.5 km. It is well connected by road, and boating is available in the lake. The shape of this lake is like a sleeping woman.

Every year, the Renuka Fair is held in November, during which people from all over the state come to participate in various activities. A lion safari and a zoo are located at Renuka. There are a variety of species kept in the zoo for public viewing, including the Himalayan black bear, spotted deer, barking bear, and many other distinct species.

Read in detail: Renuka Lake

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