Lakes in Himachal :
Himachal has dozens of large and small lakes spread over the state. The state has a geographical area of 56,000 sq. km. of which one percent is covered by lakes. Some are natural bequests that may well date back millions of years to the time when the region was a vast island sea. Today, they are fed by streams of pure snow-melt or by ground-water springs. Practically without exception, they are held sacred - or at the very least, have fascinating legends merging with their crystal clear waters. The Important Lakes are as follows :
Important Lakes of Himachal :
Maharana Pratap Sagar :
It is made of Beas River. In 1960, a dam was built on the Beas river and this dam resulted in a huge Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake (once known as Pong Lake). This huge mass of water varies from 180 sq. km. to 400 sq. km. This lake was declared sanctuary in 1983. Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake has emerged as favourite place of many migratory birds. About 16 to 20 thousand migratory birds, belonging to 54 species, visit the lake every year. . The Dam was completed in 1976. Its reservoir has an area of about 45,000 hectares at maximum possible flooding - the level varies with every season and averages around 30,000 hectares. Over 200 villages with a population of over 85,000 people lie along the wetland.
Gobind Sagar Lake :
It is an artificial lake formed as a result of the world famous Bhakra Dam on the river Sutlej in district Bilaspur. It is one of the world's highest gravity dams, the Bhakra rises 225.5 m above its lowest foundations. Under the supervision of the famous American dam-builder, Harvey Slocum, work began in 1955 and was completed in 1962. Incidently, Slocum had no formal training as an engineer, but his conceptions and designs had been proven successful. To maintain the level of water, the flow of the river Beas was also channelled to the Gobind Sagar by the Beas-Sutlej Link whish was completed in 1976. Today, this dam feeds electricity and water to several states of north India. Its reservoir - the Gobind Sagar - is 90 km long and encompasses an area of approximately 170 sq. km.
Khajjiar Lake :
Fed by slim streams, this small lake rests in the centre of the large glade of Khajjiar. The glade and the lake are held sacred to Khajjinag - after whom the place is named. Khajjiar has the thick forest of the Kalatop sanctuary surrounding its soft green grass. It is 1.5 km long and 1 km wide. It is surrounded by cedar (deodar) forest. This is like a magical paradise. A temple dedicated to Khajjinag is also located there. Khajjiar is also called "Mini Switzerland". The lake remains full of water in all the seasons and requires no rain water for survival.
Manimahesh Lake :
Held sacred to Lord Shiva this lies in the Budhil valley at the foot of Mount Kailash (5,660 metres above sea level), which is perhaps the highest of sacred waters in Chamba district. This lake is supposed to bless by Goddess Kali and protected by Lord Shiva. A fair is held every year at this lake during the month of August or September.
Prashar Lake :
This lake is situated in a cup like valley. A temple of great scenic beauty is also here. With deep blue waters, this beautiful lake is held sacred to the sage Prashar (rishi). A three-tiered Pagoda-like temple dedicated to the sage lies by the lake - and he is regarded to have meditated here. No other temple in the Western Himalayas can rival the grandeur of the settings of Prashar Rishi. A fair is held here in the in the month of June every year, where people gather from all neighbouring villages. This lake is fed by small mountain streams.
Chandra Tal Lake :
Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 km. This is the source of the river Chandra. It is also called the 'Lake of the moon' . Chinese Pilgrim Hiuen Tsang called this lake Lohitya Sarover. The lake lies in large depression formed by glaciers and remains completely frozen during winter. A number of temples exists on the periphery of the lake, which treasures crystal clear water and magnificient scenery. The crystal clear waters of of the lake shining in the light are too inviting and one just can't shrink having short bath in the cold water.
Suraj Tal Lake :
The Barachala connects Manali and Lahaul to Ladakh. The name Baralacha means 'Pass with cross roads on summit' (Roads from Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul join on the top of it). There is no road yet from Spiti, only a path exists. This pass is also an origin of Chandra, Bhaga and Yamuna rivers. And the lake which draws a considerable number of visitors - especially in summer - lies by its head. This is the source of the river Bhaga. There is a good trek to it by Zingzing bar.
Dashir Lake :
Rohtang Pass is at an altitude of 3,978 metres on the highway to Keylong, the mass affords a wide-spread panorama of mountain scenery. Here eye meets a range of precipitous cliffs, huge glaciers and piled moraine and deep ravines. Dashir ( also known as Dashaur and Sarkund ) is a very beautiful lake lies near the Rohtang Pass. This attractive lake has a depth of 3 to 4 m. The bath in the water of Dashir lake effects cure of all bodily ailments or imaginary.
Nako Lake :
The lake is surrounded by willow and polar trees. There is a small village on the bank of this lake - and the village seems to be half buried by the lake's borders. On the water's northern side, are four Buddhist temples with stucco images and murals. Near Nako is a footprint-like impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. It freezes in winter and people enjoy skating on this lake.
Rewalsar Lake :
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 km 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. This is a very sacred place.
Lama Dal Lake :
Held sacred to Lord Shiva, this lake lies amidst bare rock. 'Lama Dal' means a long lake. It is in the inner slopes of Dhauladhar range. This is a group of seven lakes, the largest of all is Lama Dal. I t is 20 km from Dainkund (Dayankund). It is said to have unknown depth.
Maharana Pratap Sagar
Gobind Sagar Lake
Chandra Tal Lake
Suraj Tal Lake
Lama Dal Lake