India, a land of breathtaking natural beauty, has numerous lakes that captivate the imagination and stir the soul. These shimmering bodies of water hold tales of folklore, history, and landscapes. Each lake bears witness to a unique story, its waters reflecting the region's cultural heritage and natural wonders. Join us on a journey as we dive into the narratives woven by these six magnificent lakes and uncover the secrets they hold.
Bhojtal, formerly known as "bada talab," is an artificial lake in the western region of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. With a rich historical significance, it has been a vital water source for numerous city residents. According to local legends, Raja Bhoj, the founder of Bhopal, commissioned the lake, who sought its creation to cure a persistent skin ailment. In response to a saint's advice, he constructed a tank with 365 tributaries and bathed in it, leading to the birth of the now-famous Bhojtal.
Dal Lake, widely considered one of India's most exquisite lakes, captivates visitors with its breathtaking beauty. Located in Kashmir, it proudly holds the region's second-largest lake title. It is also called the "jewel in the crown" of Kashmir. Apart from its scenic allure, Dal Lake is a prominent hub for tourism, fishing, and recreational activities. Fascinating legends permeate its history, including the belief that the revered Hindu goddess Durga once resided in the nearby village of Isabar. Additionally, the lake was once a unique retreat for the Mughal rulers, who adorned its shores with opulent residences. Even during the British Raj, the lake remained a centre of activity, with Englishmen constructing elegant houseboats for their holidays. This tradition continues as the locals diligently maintain these distinctive vessels.
Situated in Bhimtal, this lake proudly stands as the largest lake in the scenic Kumaon region, often called the Lake District of India. Beyond its picturesque allure, the lake serves as a vital water source for the residents and thrives with diverse fish species. It derives its name from the legendary Bhima, one of the renowned Pandava brothers, who is said to have graced its shores. Adding to its historic charm, an ancient temple crafted by the esteemed Raja Raj Bahadur of the Kumaon kingdom resides on the lake's banks, exuding a sense of timeless grandeur.
Nestled in the beautiful state of Orissa, Chilka Lake unfolds as a magnificent water lagoon. Boasting the distinction of being the second-largest lagoon globally, it also holds the prestigious title of India's largest winter haven for migratory birds, welcoming a multitude of over 160 bird species during the peak migration season. Adding to its allure, an ancient folktale dating back to the 4th century tells the tale of Chilka Lake's origins. The legend recounts the story of Raktabahu, a king who devised a scheme to assail the nearby city of Puri with his fleet of ships. Cunningly anchoring his vessels out of sight, his plans were thwarted when the vigilant townsfolk received a timely warning and managed to evacuate with their prized possessions. Upon discovering the deserted city, Raktabahu's fury turned towards the sea, which he believed had betrayed his trust.
Lake Mansarovar, an awe-inspiring freshwater lake nestled in the Tibetan autonomous region, captivates visitors from around the globe with its unrivalled vistas of the majestic Himalayas. Perched at an altitude of 4,900 meters above sea level and located approximately 940 kilometres away from Lhasa, this natural wonder leaves an indelible mark on all who witness its grandeur. Moreover, the lake holds profound religious significance for Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism adherents. Hindu followers believe that partaking in the lake's waters and immersing oneself in its sacred depths purges the soul of past transgressions. At the same time, Buddhists revere it as a connection to Anavatapta, the holy place where Maya, the mother of Buddha, gave birth.
Located in the picturesque region of Sikkim, the revered Gurudongmar Lake proudly claims its place among the highest lakes worldwide. Perched at an elevation of 5,430 meters above sea level, this sacred body of water holds deep significance for Buddhists and Hindus alike. Renowned as one of the 108 major holy lakes in Sikkim, it is believed to be the abode of a revered local deity named after Guru Padmasambhava, one of the founders of Tibetan Buddhism. The lake has an interesting legend associated with it&ndashduring Guru Padmasambhava's visit to the lake in the 8th century, the residents faced a severe water shortage due to the lake freezing over during winter. With a divine touch of his hand, the lake miraculously ceased to freeze, ensuring a perennial water supply for the locals.