Follwing is the second part of the ‘Most Incredible Lakes of India’ collection. You can read the first part here. This two part series focuses on some of the most famous, spectacular and must visit lakes of India. Every lake is different, as each one of them is located in highly diverse landscapes ranging from Himalayan mountains to dessert flats and backwaters.
Located en route to Chembra Peak in Kerela, this heart-shaped lake is rumoured to have never been dried up. The greenery of Kerela is associated with romance, and what better way to complement that ambience than to have a lake in the shape of the universal symbol of love. Chembra Lake is a major tourist attraction of Wayanad, and one has to trek about 1.5 hours in order to reach this lake.
The largest lagoon of Asia, the Chilika Lake is perhaps best known for animal and bird life. It is after all the largest winter migration ground for birds on the Indian sub-continent. The brackish water of the Chilika lake is also a thriving ground for fishes of various types. The fish resources of this lake are so significant, that the food of Odisha (the state where the lake is located) is known for its Chilika Lake cuisine. Whether you are a food-lover, birdwatcher, fishing/angling enthusiast or a tourist, you will find something that interests you at Chilika Lake.
Gadsar Lake is a glacier fed lake located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. “Gadsar” in Kashmiri means ” lake of fishes”. This is an apt name because Gadsar is a natural habitat for various fishes, and is especially known for the brown trout. Being in the Himalayas, the lake is situated at a stunning 11800 feet above sea level and is surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery. The lake is a 28km trek from Naranag town. June to September are the best times to visit.
Located close to it’s cousin Gadsar, the Gangabal Lake is situated in the Sonamarg valley, about a 15 km trek from Naranag town. It is also a glacier fed lake famous for its brown trout. If you trek to the nearby Zach pass, then you can get a view of two lakes, Nundkol and Gangabal in one frame. Those are the kind of sights that make visiting remote parts of Kashmir worthwhile. This lake is also known for the annual Harmukh Gangbal Yatra, when Kashmiri pandits trek to the lake every September as a means to preserving their culture and religious history.
Located at a lofty 15000 feet, Hemkund or “Snow Bowl” is a glacier fed lake and also a major pilgrimage site for people of the Sikh religion. One has to trek for about 13 kms from Govindghat to get to this lake. Besides taking in the stunning beauty of seven mountain peaks surrounding the lake, one should look out for the Brahma Kamal, or a yellowish-green lotus flower, along the shores of the lake. After enjoying the outdoor spectacle, you can seek blessings inside the Gurudwara and eat a hot meal at the Langar.
Located close to the hill station of Nainital, Naukuchia lake is an ideal spot for picnic and adventure. Those who like a tranquil atmosphere can visit the lake early in the morning to watch the morning mist flee as the sun rises, and feel the sound of gentle ripples of the lake water. For those who love activity and adventure, there are a whole host of offerings such as paragliding, rowing, paddling and camping.
Prashar Lake is named after Prashar, a rishi or sage who meditated at the lake. A Himachali style temple with a pagoda sits along the shore of the lake. This picturesque lake in the state of Himachal Pradesh is unique in the sense that it has a floating island in the lake waters, and the depth of this island is unknown. A visit during the monsoon will ensure that you get a stunning view of the lush green mountains surrounding the temple and the lake.
A lake formed after an earthquake in the 1970s, Sangetsar Lake is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh on the eastern end of the Himalayan mountain range. The location of the lake was originally a grazing ground with trees all along. But a nearby stream got blocked after the earthquake, and Sangestsar Lake was formed. However, the trees that once stood at the site of the lake have died, and dead trunks rise out of the water to create a unique sight. The lake is nicknamed “Madhuri lake”, as a famous Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit shot a dance sequence here. There is a small army run cafe by the lake, serving famous “Maggi” noodles and hot beverages.
Located near Tawang, a Buddhist town near the Indo-Chinese border, Sela lake is a gem of the north-east. The entire area surrounding the lake is covered with snow for most part of the year. Whether it is summer or winter, the lake is a site to behold, having a nickname of “Paradise Lake” thanks to its stunning beauty. Surrounded by the snow covered Eastern Himalayas, the Sela lake is one of the 101 Buddhist sacred lakes in and around Sela Pass.
A jewel of Meghalaya, Umiam Lake is actually an artificial creation, serving as a catchment area of a dam built on the Umiam river in the 1960’s. Known for its beautiful sunsets, Umiam lake also offers adventure and water sport activities such as kayaking, boating and water cycling. Whether you want to watch nature express its feelings, observe the daily proceedings of locals from neighboring villages or just have a relaxing picnic on a weekend, Umiam Lake near Shillong is a must-visit.