Himachal Pradesh with its beautiful hills, in the lap of lofty snow clad mountains, has myriad lakes with cool and serene water, which mirror the immense beauty of this Paradise on earth. Followings are the well-known lakes in Himachal Pradesh:
Govind Sagar : An artificial lake formed as a result of the world famous Bhakra Dam on the river Satluj, is in district Bilaspur, called Govind Sagar. It is famous for water sport and fishing. Bhakra is world’s highest gravity dam, has rightly been described by Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru as a ‘New Temple of Resurgent India’. The lake upstream adds immeasurably to the scenic beauty of the dam. The crystal clear water flowing out through river outlets in the shape of a cascade soothes one’s eyes. The area of this lake is about 168 sq km and it exists between Slapper and Bhakra villages on 88 km length.
Khajjiar Lake : In the center of a grassy meadow, it is 1.5 km long and 1 km wide, and surrounded by cedar forest, a small lake called the Kund, forms the centre piece of Khajjiar. This is the magical paradise called ‘Khajjiar Lake’. A temple dedicated to ‘Khajjiar Nag’ is also located there. It is 24 km from Dalhousie on the way to Chamba. Khajjiar is known as ‘Mini Switzerland’.
Manimahesh Lake : This is 35 kms from Bharmaur. The lake of Manimahesh is 3950 metres above sea level at the foot of Mount Kailash (5,660 metres), which is perhaps the highest of sacred waters in Chamba district. The lake is supposed to be blessed by Kali and protected by Lord Shiva. A fair is held every year at this lake during the month of August and September.
Rewalsar Lake : It is situated at about 25 kms from Mandi. It is an important place of pilgrimage. This lake is known for its floating island. The natural islands moving on the water surface is a veritable feast to the eyes. How the islands broke off from the mainland and started floating on the lake, is still a mystery to man. The lake is also associated with Nag cult or serpent worshipping. The lake water is believed to be flowing underground from Rewalsar to ‘Nagchala’ (a place 10 kms from Mandi on the Mandi-Shimla National Highway). The Hindus believe that it was here that the ‘Lomas Rishi’ held his penance in devotion to lord Shiva. Overwhelmed, Shiva gave the Rishi, the seven floating islands in reward. There is also a Sikh Shrine ‘Gurudwara’ built in commemoration of Guru Govind Singh’s visit to this place.
Prashar Lake : It lies at 2743 metres above sea level and is 30 kms from Mandi town. This lake is situated on a cup like valley. A temple of great scenic beauty is also there. The pagoda like three storeyed temple and its surrondings make a great impression on the beholders.
No other temple in the Western Himalayas can rival the grandeur of the setting of Prashar Rishi. A fair is held here in the month of June every year, where people gather from all neighbouring villages. Local products are displayed and sold in large quantity. This lake is fed by small mountain streams.
Renuka Lake : About 45 kms from Nahan, is one of the most picturesque lakes in Himachal with its crystal clear water. It is shaped like a sleeping woman; Legends has it that this lake was founded when mother Renuka was sacrificed by her son Parshuram in obedience to his father, the sage ‘Jamdagni’. It has a circumference of 2.5 kms. Today myths brought to the fore, when each year in November, a fair is held to celebrate the immortality of Renuka and her son.
Chandra Tal : Chandra Tal is in central Lahaul at an altitude of 4270 metres above mean sea level. It is also known as the ‘Lake of the Moon’. The crystal clear water of the lake shining in the light are too inviting and one can’t just shrink having short bath in the cold water. It is the source of Chandra river, beautifully set on a large meadow between a lower ridge and Kunzum range.
Pong Lake : It is formed between Dehra and Pong Dam. Its length is 42 Km. It is made out of Beas river. In 1960, a dam was built on Beas river in Himachal Pradesh. This dam resulted in formation of huge reservoir-pong lake. A visit to Pong lake shows that the main lake, having four islands and vast flat fringe on the bank of Beas, provides the best feeding ground for water birds and a nestling place for migratory birds. Expectedly 30 to 50 thousand migratory birds, belonging to 54 species, visit the lake every year. The increased number of birds has led to the wetlands gaining international importance.
Ghadasaru Lake : Located in district Chamba. It is 24 kms from Tissa. Tissa is 72 Kms from Chamba. This is located at an altitude of 3505 metres above mean sea level with a circumference of nearly 01 km. Lake is mostly visited by local people to offer prayer at Kali temple, located on its bank.
Lama Dal Lake : 45 kms from Chamba on the inner slopes of Dhauladhar range. This is a group of 07 lakes, the largest of all is Lama Dal lake situated at an altitude of 3962 meters. It is 20 km from Dainkund. It is said to have unknown depth and considered to be scared one. The local Gaddi tribals visit the lake on Janamashtami.
Mahakali Lake : This lake is also in district Chamba, on an elevation of 3657 meters above mean sea level. It is little bigger than Khajjiar and Manimahesh lake in Churah area of Chamba district. It is dedicated to goddess Kali.
Chanderkup Lake : It is situated at elevation of 3450 mts. It is one of the many lakes in upper regions of Chamba towards Dharamshala. During summer season ice blocks keep floating in it to make it a memorable scene. It has mixed terrain, steep and rough while snow covers it for most of the time. This lake is situated at the highest altitude in the Dhauladhar range.
Dal Lake : Located in district Kangra and is 11 kms from Dharamshala, the district headquarters. The lake lies amidst hills and stately fir trees. Dal lake is situated near Rikkarmar on Balan dhar. After 15 days of Janamashtami a fair known ‘Radhashtami’ takes place here. This is located at an altitude of 1775 mtrs. This is also known as ‘Bhagsunag Lake’.
Kareri Lake : It is 35 kms from Dharamshala, at an elevation of 1,810 metres. It is surrounded by green meadows, oak and pine trees. Kareri lake water, falls into the Layun river.
Kumarwah Lake : It is 40 kms from Mandi town. This lake is situated in Chachiyot tehsil of Mandi district at an elevation of 3150 mtrs. An annual fair is held here. It is considered a sacred lake and a rare characteristics of this lake is that all the gold and silver offerings accumulated at a shrine nearby are thrown in this lake.
Kunt Bhayog Lake : It is situated at the hill top of Rewalsar town at an altitude of 1700 mtrs. It is enclosed by hills from two sides. This lake is about 10-12 mtrs deep at the centre.
Kalasar Lake : The Kalasar lake is situated at an altitude of 1755 mtrs, at the top of Rewalsar town. It is surrounded by beautiful green hills and experiences snowfall during winter.
Bhrigu Lake : It is situated at the height of 4235 mtrs near Rohtang pass. Its depth is about 3 mtrs and it remains under snow for the whole winter. Being sacred, this lake is visited by the people of Kullu, Mandi and Lahaul Valley.
Servalsar Lake : It is situated at the top of ‘Jalori Pass’ in Kullu district at an altitude of 3100 mtrs. It is 20 km from Banjar towards Anni.
Chandranahan Lake : It is situated on ‘Chanshal peak’ in Rohru tehsil, district Shimla, at an altitude of 4,267 mtrs. The Pabar river originates from this lake.
Pandoh Lake : The Pandoh lake is 14 km from Mandi towards Aut on the Mandi – Kullu national highway number 21. The lake has been formed due to the construction of Pandoh dam after diverting the water of the Beas river to Satluj at Slapper. The water is being carried by two long tunnels of 13 kms each under the hills along with 12 km open channel.
Chamera Lake : It is formed owing to construction of 540 MW Chamera hydroelectric project on the river Ravi near village Chamera in district Chamba. It is situated at a distance of 25 kms from famous hill resort of Dalhousie and is visible from Chamba – Pathankot highway. The road connecting the Chamera Dam goes along the lake to ‘Bhalie temple’ and the famous thick forest of Bhandal Valley.