News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Getahead » Discover India's 10 Great Lakes

Discover India's 10 Great Lakes

May 20, 2024 12:32 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

IMAGE: The tranquil turquoise blue waters of Chandra Tal in the Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh is truly a sight to behold. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

India is not a land of lakes like many other countries that have over 200,000 lakes (think Canada, Russia, Finland), but the lakes we have are some of the prettiest in the world.

It's hard to choose which of our 180 lakes has the most unparalleled beauty.

After much thought, we bring you Ten Of The Best!

Any of these lakes are havens for nature lovers, photographers, travellers, and adventure seekers. Whether it is for a fun picnic, fishing or just chilling, there are many ways to unwind and relax in the company of nature at the lakes we have chosen.

So go ahead make tracks to them.

IMAGE: The Sissu lake reflects the surrounding Himalayan peaks and lush greenery. There is just one word for it -- breathtaking. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Sissu Lake, Himachal Pradesh

If you just so happen to find yourself in the neighbourhood of Manali, then popping into the town of Sissu is a great idea. Thanks to the Atal Tunnel (the longest tunnel at an altitude above 10,000 feet), it's easier to reach this quaint little town via the 9-km engineering marvel on the Manali-Leh highway.

Sissu Lake is the major attraction here which is nestled at an altitude of over 12,000 feet near the foothills of the Spiti-Lahaul mountains of Himachal Pradesh. This gorgeous lake is a man-made water body surrounded by picturesque Himalayan peaks and the Chandra river gushing nearby.

If you are a trekking enthusiast, short hikes will lead you to various monasteries, temples of the Lahaul region. Sissu is also a wonderful place for stargazing, river rafting, and camping.

How to reach: Sissu is well connected by road, and the most common route is through Manali, located 40 km away. From there, hire a taxi or use public transportation to reach the town.

IMAGE: Changu Lake is one of the most spectacular sights around when you are in Gangtok. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Changu Lake, Sikkim

Changu Lake, locally called as Tsomgo Lake, is certainly an excellent option for a day trip if you are in Gangtok. This glacial lake is sure to refresh your spirits with its quiet setting.

Take a yak ride, munch on delicious local snacks, have a tot of cherry brandy, hike up a little to see the lake from a height or simply relax near the calming waters -- the choice is yours.

How to reach: Changu Lake is located on the Gangtok-Nathu La road, about 38 km away from the main taxi stand in Gangtok. Reserved or shared taxis are easily available.

IMAGE: The allure of Lonar Lake never ceases to amaze. Photograph: Rajesh Karkera/

Lonar Lake, Maharashtra

Lonar Lake is an absolutely must visit for its unique geological features and charm. This lake was formed thousands of years ago due to meteorite impact, creating a crater that eventually filled with water to form the lake we know today.

The interesting aspect of this lake is that it has both saline and alkaline water with high mineral content, which makes it one of its kind in the world. The lake was in the news recently when its emerald green water turned pink, reportedly due to increased salinity in the water.

This destination has much to offer history buffs as there are several ancient temples and ruins nearby.

How to reach: Lonar is well connected by road, with Aurangabad being the most accessible node at 140 km.

IMAGE: Anyone interested in nature photography need look no further... Tulian Lake boasts of sensational scenery. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Tulian Lake, Jammu and Kashmir

Tulian Lake is an absolute magnet for those interested in hiking, and it also one of the easiest and yet rewarding trekking experiences in Kashmir.

The journey can be completed in a single day, which takes you to 12,000 feet through thick forests, verdant meadows, and delightfully pretty valleys.

With some incredible colouration (from turquoise and sky blue to pale green!) as well as its take-your-breath-away glacial mountain views, Tulian will definitely leave you yearning for more.

How to reach: One can either hike up or take a pony ride from Pahalgam, which is 16 km away.

IMAGE: Agastya Lake is not to be missed if you are history inclined. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Agastya Lake, Karnataka

Stunning temples, giant hills, and mysterious caves all go towards making Agastya Lake a spectacular site with a roll-off-your-tongue-lovely name (how nice and exotic to say you went to Agastya for your summer hols).

The rock-cut steps near the popular Bhoothanatha temple have serene vistas of the lake. It is also a perfect spot to enjoy a unforgettable sunset after roaming around the lake and surroundings.

In addition to its scenic magnificence, the place is also notable for an archaeological museum, which sits right near the lake and gives overview of the historical significance of Badami.

How to reach: The lake is located in Badami town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It is merely a kilometre from the main chowk in Badami.

IMAGE: Naini Lake is the ideal setting for water-based recreation in summer. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Naini Lake, Uttarakhand

The low-key, relaxed atmosphere of Nainital encourages a similarly no-rush break at its famed Naini Lake.

Spend your morning basking in the sun near the lake. Try out activities like kayaking, canoeing, nature walks, or fishing. At sundown join the locals in the bustling markets.

The lively street near the lake is dotted with food stalls, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and more. Hop over to any of the vibrant cafes of the town or sample local delicacies. The possibilities are endless in this cute little lake town.

How to reach: The lake lies right in the centre of Nainital town.

IMAGE: If your budget permits, then a stay at the Taj Lake Palace would be the best way to absorb the magic of Pichola Lake. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Pichola Lake, Rajasthan

Udaipur has been nicknamed the city of lakes and the most famous among them is Pichola Lake.

Wherever you go in Udaipur you are surrounded by sparkling blue water and the rugged Aravali Hills. Spend your time whatever way your heart desires, be it boating, walking around the lake, or simply find a spot at any café overlooking the Pichola.

Savour the tranquillity of a magical Udaipur sunset; it's unmissable!

How to reach: The lake can be reached by autorickshaws, taxis, or on foot from the main bus stand in Udaipur; it's about 3 km away.

IMAGE: Whether you're taking a dip in its icy cold waters or enjoying the panorama from the shore, the unbelievably clear waters of Chandra Tal will surely charm you. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Chandra Tal, Himachal Pradesh

Higher up the barren mountains of Himachal Pradesh, at 14,000 feet, lies the glacial lake of Chandra Tal, which is one of the most sought-after places to visit in the Spiti valley.

The craggy landscape and tall snow-capped peaks certainly add to the dramatic appeal of the alpine lake. If you are feeling adventurous, get onto any of the small hiking paths that will allow you to scale the surrounding heights for flabbergasting dekkos of the lake's blue hues.

Earlier tourists could pitch their tents at the rim of Chandra Tal, but now it is forbidden by law for the rightful ecological reasons. If you wish to stay overnight, there is a designated camping spot 2 km before the lake where tent accommodation and meals are available.

The lake remains inaccessible during the winter as the surrounding area gets a thick blanket of snow. Summer is the time for witnessing the lake in its full glory.

Since this is a high altitude region, be mindful of AMS (acute mountain sickness) symptoms like dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches.

How to reach: One can hire a private car or jeep from Manali, which is at 110 km. A majority of the journey is off-roading and it is advisable to have an experienced driver. The road ends at the 'base camp' of Chandra Tal. One has to complete the remaining 1.5 km on foot to reach the lake.

IMAGE: A boat ride should be on top of your to-do list when at Periyar Lake. If lucky, you might spot some wildlife on the shores. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Periyar Lake, Kerala

Tucked inside Periyar National Park, the Periyar Lake is an artificial water body formed by damming the Periyar river. The peaceful misty forests of the Western Ghats and still waters make this lake extremely popular amongst tourists.

Do not miss a boating experience that takes you through curvy waterways with mesmerising peeks of the jungle.

How to reach: From the Kumily bus stand, the main entrance of the Periyar Tiger Reserve is about 2 km away. No private vehicles are allowed beyond this point. The forest department bus takes you inside the sanctuary near the lake.

IMAGE: Kodai Lake offers leisurely activities. Photograph: Mayur Sanap/

Kodai Lake, Tamil Nadu

One of the major draws of Kodaikanal is the star-shaped Kodai Lake for its several enticing activities like fishing, paddle boating, and bird watching.

Walk on the pathways around the lake and take in its scenic saundarya.

How to reach: The lake is located just 3 km from the Kodaikanal bus terminal. Local taxis are available.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox: