10 Most Beautiful Lakes In India
India’s vast land has a variety of water bodies which include oceans, rivers, beautiful lakes and waterfalls. The lakes, with their spectacular surrounding landscape of lush green or snow-capped hills, thick or dense forests or just open land for miles and miles, make for some wonderful locations and sights to see and spend time at. The calm and serene waters of the lake, with a multitude of reflections, the tranquil environment and lovely cool air enveloping it, gives one hope that the world is still beautiful and some amazing memories to cherish.
The lakes can be classified into natural as well as man-made lakes and then again we have the fresh-water lakes and the salt-water lakes in several states, all of which are great places to visit when out on a holiday to that destination. In this article, we shall touch upon just 10 of the most beautiful lakes across India, without ranking them in any particular order.
1) Loktak Lake, Manipur
Located in the state of Manipur, near Moirang, Loktak is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. It is peculiar for the fact that it has several huge assorted masses of decomposed vegetation, soil and organic matter, called phumdis, floating on the water which form islands on which locals actually live and they also offer various facilities for visitors. The Keibul Lamjao National Park has evolved on one of the largest phumdis and is home to the most endangered Sangai species of Eld’s deer. Besides serving as a source of drinking water supply, for irrigation, for hydro power generation etc, the lake is also a haven for a huge variety of avifauna, aquafauna and fauna like the Indian python, sambhar, wild bear, the rhesus monkey etc, can be found within the national park.
The best time to visit would be during the winters from November to March.
How to reach:
By air – There are several regular flights from other major cities to Imphal, which is the capital of Manipur. Loktak lake is about 50 kms from Imphal.
By train – There is no railway station at Imphal. The nearest station is at Daotuhaja which is 91 km away from Imphal.
By bus – Bus services are available to Imphal from several major cities of the country.
2) Gurudongmar Lake
Another spectacular lake in the North East, the Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world and in India, located at a height of 17,800 feet in Sikkim. The lake is supposed to have been named after Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and also believed to have been blessed by the Sikh spiritual leader, Guru Nanak, while he passed through that location and hence the lake is also worshipped and considered to be holy by Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. The lake remains completely frozen from November to mid-May when winter sets in and appears like a stunning picture-postcard. The astounding lake-side is home to yaks, blue sheep and other wildlife that can exist at such altitudes.
The best time to enjoy the beauty of Gurudongmar Lake is during summer and winter which extends right from November to June.
How to reach:
By air – The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri, which is about 124 km from Gangtok and has regular flights coming in from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati. Helicopter services from Bagdogra to Gangtok are also available but only once a day.
By train – The nearest railway station is at New Jalpaiguri which has good rail connectivity with several cities in the country.
By bus – There are regular buses available from Gangtok to Gurudongmar Lake, through Lachen. The 7-8 hour ride is scenic and entrancing as the bus goes past beautiful mountain peaks with lush greenery and spectacular waterfalls.
3) Pichola Lake
Situated in Udaipur city, in the state of Rajasthan, Lake Pichola is a lovely, artificial fresh water lake. It is one of the several adjoining lakes, created in and around Udaipur, by building dams to take care of the need of drinking water supply and irrigation of the city. This charming lake against the backdrop of green hills is a source of great attraction as the surrounding lake-side and several islands within the lake have been developed over several hundred years with lake palaces, family mansions, bathing ghats, marble temples, a bird sanctuary and a game sanctuary, not forgetting the beautiful visuals of sunrise and sunset.
The best time to visit and enjoy this attraction is during the winter months from September to March when the weather is really pleasant and cool. The summers are unbearable with the excessive heat.
How to reach:
By air – The Maharana Pratap Airport is the closest, at just 22 km away from the main city.
By train – Udaipur is well connected by a rail network with several major cities in the country.
By bus – There is a very good bus network with several other cities of India. Private operators offering luxury and non-luxury buses as well as state-run buses are in operation.
4) Venna Lake
The Venna Lake in Mahabaleshwar is a beautiful man-made water body surrounded by trees and greenery on all sides and thus is a very popular tourist attraction at the hill station. The Chhatrapati Pratapsihn Garden on the banks of the lake is a lovely spot to relax. Visitors can enjoy boat rides as well as horse rides along the lake-side. Food stalls line the lake-side too and thus this has become an ideal spot for picnics and long walks.
This location at Mahabaleshwar can be visited all through the year because of its invigorating climate.
How to reach:
By air – Mahabaleshwar does not have an airport of its own. The nearest one is at Pune from where one can hire a cab/ taxi/ bus to take you to your destination.
By train – Wathar is the closest railway station to Mahabaleshwar, but Pune is a much more convenient and easily accessible railway station which has good railway connectivity with many cities across India.
By bus – Several State as well as Private Bus operators ply buses between Mumbai and Pune regularly.
5) Dal Lake
The Dal Lake in Srinagar, which is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the main tourist spots in Kashmir. The lake is also named as ‘the Jewel in the crown of Kashmir’ or the ‘Jewel of Srinagar’. The lake shore is bounded in by a boulevard beautified with beautiful parks, Moghul-themed gardens like Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh, hotels and houseboats. The lake presents an awesome spectacle with colourful houseboats called Shikaras. During winters, when the temperature really dips into negative figures, the lake freezes. A special feature of the lake are the floating gardens, called Rad in Kashmiri language, made of matted vegetation and earth.
The best time to visit Kashmir is from March to October when the weather is very, very pleasant and the flora in Kashmir is in full bloom and makes everything appear very colourful and beautiful.
How to reach:
By air – The Srinagar Airport has regular flights coming in from major cities of the country.
By train – Srinagar has good railway network with major cities of India.
By bus – There are several State-run buses as well as Private bus operators who operate between Delhi and other northern states to Kashmir.
6) Bhimtal Lake
Known as one of the largest lakes in the Kumaon region, the Bhimtal Lake in Uttarakhand provides drinking water supply and practices aquaculture with a variety of fish species. An island in the centre of the lake has been developed as a tourist attraction and also has an aquarium, which can be accessed by rowing boats. One can spot some interesting wildlife like pheasants, barking deer, migratory ducks and geese around the lake.
The best time to visit Bhimtal is from March to June and from September to December when the weather is bright and sunny and yet cool and very pleasant.
How to reach:
By air – Pant Nagar Airport, 58 kms away from Bhimtal, is the closest airport from where one can hire a taxi to reach the lake.
By train – The railway station at Kathgodam is just 30 kms away from Bhimtal and has trains coming in from Delhi. Buses and taxis can be hired from there.
By bus – Buses from ISBT Anand Vihar in New Delhi to Nainital and Kathgodam.
7) Berijam Lake
The lake is a reservoir near Kodaikanal town in Tamil Nadu, 21 km southwest of Kodaikanal Lake. The route from Berijam is strewn with vegetation and preferred as a walking trail by the locals and trekkers. One can also encounter wild animals like elephants, leopards, bison etc on these trails. The lake which is rich in flora and fauna is an idyllic location with beautiful greenery, as a picnic spot and has become popular with tourists. One can also indulge in boating and fishing here.
The best time to visit would be from September to January, when the weather is at its coolest best.
How to reach:
By air – The nearest airport to Kodaikanal is at Madurai, 120 kms away. From here, one can take a bus to Kodaikanal.
By train – The nearest railway station to the lake is Kodaikanal Road Railway Station which is just 10 km away.
By bus – Regular buses are available from several cities in the south to Kodaikanal.
8) Ulsoor Lake
This is one of the biggest lakes in Bengaluru and is located to the east of the city. Spread over 50 hectares, this lake has several islands and is bordered with lush greenery. The beauty of this tranquil environment draws both locals and tourists to spend time here and thus has become famous as a picnic spot. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations take place here too. Boating, bird watching and walks along the lake are looked forward to by visitors who come here.
How to reach:
By air – Bengaluru is well connected by air with several major cities across the country.
By rail – Bengaluru has a good rail network with other metros and major cities of India.
By bus – Regular bus services are run by the State as well as Private operators from several cities across the country.
9) Damdama Lake
One of the biggest lakes in Haryana, the Damdama Lake extends in the shape of an amoeba and is spread out in different directions. The lake presents a spectacular sight as it is bounded in by the Aravali mountains and is home to a vast variety of birds, including the migratory ones. Cranes, cormorants, egrets, kingfishers are seen in plenty and one can even spot beautiful peacocks and blue bulls while driving down to the lake. The lake is an excellent setting for various adventure sport activities like para sailing, kayaking, cycling, rock climbing, valley crossing etc.and tourists can also enjoy boating.
The best time to visit the lake is from October to March, during the winters.
How to reach:
By air – The nearest airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. From here, one can hire taxis to travel to the lake.
By train – The nearest railway station close to Damdama Lake is the Delhi Railway Station. One can travel in taxis, buses or the metro from here.
By bus – Buses ply regularly from Delhi to Damdama Lake. And Abhi bus will give you the most comfortable and luxurious bus ride you have ever had.
10) Vembanad Lake
The Vembanad Lake is known by different names as it extends through various districts of Kerala and is believed to be the second largest lake in Kerala, apart from being famous for being the longest lake in India at just over 96.5 kms. This lake has become a very famous tourist attraction for the fact that the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake and one can see various species of migratory birds in and around the lake, besides the local ones at this wetland. The Nehru trophy boat race is also held in a portion of this lake. Tourists enjoy moving around in houseboats on the calm and serene backwaters of this lake, taking in the various sights and sounds.
The best time to visit Vembanad lake is from September to March, when the weather in Kerala is very cool and the level of water in the lake is just right for boating, fishing and other activities.
How to Reach :
By air – The nearest airport is the Kochi International Airport, just 16 kms away.
By train – Ernakulam Railway Junction in Kochi has good rail connectivity with several cities across the country.
By bus – There are several buses that ply regularly from Kochi to Vembanad Lake .
Picture Credits : Loktak Lake – Rapidleaks.com, Gurudongmar Lake – Kipepeo.in, Pichola Lake – Skr.de, Venna Lake – Hotel Vyankatesh, Dal Lake – Bseinstitute.Wordpress.com, Bhimtal Lake – Triphopp.in, Berijam Lake -Outlook Traveller, Ulsoor Lake – Lbb.in, Damdama Lake – Blog.Getsholidays.com, Vembanad Lake – Roaming Turtle