Mumbai is not just about its seaside charms. To experience the city entirely, you must visit the freshwater lakes in and around Mumbai. These vast bodies of water have the gigantic snarling city hanging on to their every delicious drop. If the supply drops or stops from even one of the lakes, life in Mumbai would come to a standstill (as it does in parts where pipeline maintenance is being carried out). However, a day or an evening spent on the banks of these gorgeous lakes, is an experience not to be missed. Beware, of the local wildlife, some dangerous, such as the marsh crocodiles.
Set amidst the thick forests of the Mahuli Hills, Tansa Lake is situated outside Mumbai, in the Thane district. It has been made by damming the Tansa River with an earth-fill gravity dam. The lake is the main source of drinking water in Mumbai. The popularity of Tansa Lake as a weekend getaway is high, as many locals and tourists make their way to this picturesque place. The Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary here is spread over an area of 320 square km and spread around the catchment area of Tansa, Vaitarna, and Modaksagar lakes.
Distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Approximately 94 km, via the Eastern Express Highway
Located within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Vihar Lake, is one of the largest lakes in Mumbai and one of the seven which supply water to the city. Its primary inflow and outflow are the Mithi River, and the lake has a catchment area of 18.96 square kilometres. It meets the water needs of up to three per cent of the city&rsquos southern region. There is a crocodile viewing area that the authorities have set up, it is a must-try. Entry into the lake is not permitted. You have to contact Sanjay Gandhi National Park for permission.
Distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Approximately 36 km via the Eastern Freeway
The construction of a dam across the Tasso River and the redirection of the waters had led to the formation of Tulsi Lake. It has a catchment area of about 676 hectares and receives rainwater from the Powai-Kanheri hill ranges. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Mumbai and is located in the north of the city, on the Salsette island, within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is a backup for the Vihar Lake, as it accepts overflow from it and the Powai Lake during monsoons. The highlight of this lake is the Mugger or Marsh Crocodiles. Entry into the lake is not permitted. You have to contact Sanjay Gandhi National Park for permission.
Distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Approximately 37 km, via the Eastern Freeway and the Eastern Express Highway
This lake is considered the main source of water supply to the city of Mumbai. The lake was created due to the dam built on the Rivers Bhatsa and Chorna rivers of Thal Ghat. It is the second-tallest dam in Maharashtra. The state irrigation department owns the lake, and the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company, or MSPGC, owns the hydroelectric power plant here. However, the Bhatsa river valley is a well-known picnic spot in Mumbai and the surrounding regions. A good time to visit the lake is the beginning of the monsoon, as the forest turns emerald, and the rivers and the lake are about to be full. This area is also a trekking destination. Take along your umbrella and raincoat, and wear all-weather/waterproof footwear.
Distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Approximately 109 km, via the NH 160
Located outside Mumbai in the Thane and Nashik districts, the Vaitarna Lake is part of the Vaitarana dam, also called the Modaksagar dam. Built by the British in 1701 and repaired in 1954 by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC engineer Narayan Modak, the dam was then renamed after him. Vaitarna supplies water not only for Mumbai city but also for the far northern locations such as Vasai. Divided into the upper, middle, and lower lakes, the Vaitarna, is at a motorable distance to the Tansa Lake and wildlife sanctuary, as well as the Vrajeshwari hot springs. The hilly area around Vaitarna is ideal for trekking, jungle trails, mountain biking, and bird watching.
Distance from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Approximately 120 km, via the NH 160