What all do you think of when you hear ‘Himachal Pradesh’? Most probably mountains, snow and freezing weather, and destinations like Shimla, Manali. But have you heard of the lakes of Himachal?
Yes! Apart from the mountains, Himachal has a number of beautiful and enchanting lakes. There are lakes on high altitudes like the Chandra Tal and Suraj Tal which are favourite among the campers and trekkers, and then there are mid or low altitude lakes like the Khajjiar Lake and Rewalsar Lake that are ideal for weekends spent by the lakeside.
A delight for the sore eyes, these beautiful lakes of Himachal are a MUST visit!
The Chandra Tal translated, as ‘The Lake of the Moon’ is located at a high altitude of 4,300 metres in the Spiti Valley. The lake is 2.5 kms wide and it changes colours according to the moody sky. The lake is surrounded by beautiful Himalayan vistas and is popular amongst the campers. Trekkers camp on its bank during spring when it’s profusely covered in wildflowers. The Kunzum pass is only 7 kms away and can be travelled on foot. A motorable route to Batal is also accessible.
Fun Fact: It is said that the underground water replenishes this crescent-shaped lake because it doesn’t have a water source.
The Suraj Tal Lake is in the Lahaul Valley quite close to the Chandra Tal. It is considered holy because it’s the Lake of the Sun God. It lies at the heel of the Baralacha-la Pass, which connects Lahaul to Ladakh. The enchanting Suraj Tal Lake is the source of the Bagha River, which is a tributary of the Chenab River. As it’s considered a sacred lake and is situated at an altitude of 4950 meters, this lake attracts a lot of devotees as well as campers. This place is a photographer’s and nature lover’s paradise.
Fun Fact: The Suraj Tal is India’s 3rd highest lake and the 21st highest lake in the World.
The Parashar Lake is named after the Sage Parashar. It’s 49 kms from the Mandi district and at an altitude of 2730 meters. Legends say that Sage Parashar meditated at this place for a while. There is a three-storied pagoda temple devoted to the sage right next to the lake and the lake is guarded by majestic peaks. You can go to Lake Parashar through Drang. This is a perfect spot for a little getaway or even a fun picnic.
Fun Fact: Mythology says that Bheem, one of the Pandava brothers pushed a mountain with his elbow to create this lake and that’s why this lake is unfathomable.
The Nako Lake is at an altitude of 3662 meters above sea level and is situated in Kinnaur district. The lake looks ethereal as it reflects the trees and the village on its clear surface. Poplar and willow trees encircle this lake. The Nako lake serves as a part of the border of the quaint Nako village and is a good spot for exploring, hiking and experiencing a spiritual atmosphere.
Fun Fact: There are four Buddhist temples around the lake and footprint impressions of Guru Padmasambhava.
The Khajjiar lake is situated in a small town called Khajjiar in the Chamba district. The lake is located in the heart of a vast evergreen meadow that is cupped by the dense cedar trees that surround it. Khajjiar gets its name from the deity Khajji Nag. Khajjiar is situated between Dalhousie and Chamba, two frequently visited hill stations of Himachal Pradesh. The Khajjiar Lake is now drying up and steps are being taken to conserve it.
Fun Fact: Khajjiar is also called “Mini Switzerland” because of its beauty.
The Manimahesh lake also known as Dal lake of Himachal is considered one of the holiest lakes in India. It’s situated near the Manimahesh Kailash Peak in the Pir Panjal range of the mighty Himalayas, in Chamba district. Devotees of Shiva come here from all over the country to seek blessings. The ‘Manimahesh Yatra’ or the religious pilgrimage starts around the month of August and September. There are three routes to the Manimahesh Lake i.e via Kugti Pass, via Karwasi pass or Jalsu pass and via Bharmour.
Fun Fact: Mythology says that Lord Shiva performed penance for about a 100 year here. It’s said that a waterfall gushed out of this tangled hair and formed this lake.
Popularly known as Tso Pema, the Rewalsar Lake is a mid-altitude lake, 1360 meters above sea level. The lake is 25 kms from Mandi. Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs consider this square-shaped lake sacred. There are 3 Hindu temples, a Gurudwara and 4 Buddhist monasteries in its vicinity. The view from the lake is beautiful as it’s surrounded by natural wonders. The Sisu fair is held here and the festival of Baisakhi is celebrated here with gusto.
Fun Fact: Rewalsar Lake is known for its floating reeds. It’s said that Guru Padmasambhava’s spirit resides on the island of floating reed.
Aren’t these lakes beautiful and worth going to?
So, plan a long weekend getaway with friends and family. And this time when you are in Himachal, don’t forget to visit the Lakes of Himachal for an unusual experience!
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