Lakes of Himachal Pradesh

Renuka Lake
Renuka Lake/Source: Fred Hsu
Himachal Pradesh is not only known for breathtaking valleys, but also for some of the picturesque lakes. About 1% of the state area is covered by the waters of these lakes. Undoubtely most of them have stories of divine origin and are being revered by the local populace. These lakes are fed by pure snowmelted water or by springs.

On the basis of origin, the lakes of Himachal can be divided into two categories: 1. Natural Lakes and 2. Man-made lakes (Reservoirs). Again on the basis of altitude, the natural lakes can be divided into three sub-categories, 1. Low-altitude lakes, 2. mid-altitude lakes and 3. high-altitude lakes.

Types of LakesName of Lakes
Natural Lakes
Low altitude lakesMacchial Lake, Renuka Lake
Mid altitude lakesDal Lake, Kareri Lake, Khajjiar Lake, Rewalsar Lake, Kunt Bhyog
High altitude lakesBrighu Lake, Chandra Tal, Chander Naun, Dashair Lake, Dhankar Lake, Ghadhasaru Lake, Lama Dal, Manimahesh Lake, Mahakali Lake, Nako Lake, Prashar Lake, Seruvalsar Lake, Suraj Tal
Man-madeChamera, Gobind Sagar, Maharana Pratap Sagar, Pandoh Lake

Lakes of Himachal Pradesh
Macchial Lake
Macchial Lake lies at an altitude of 850 m in the Joginder Nagar of Mandi district. It is considered sacred and named after Machinder Nath or Matasya Avtar of Lord Vishnu. Till 1980s, locals used to offer Himalayan Golden Mahasheer with a gold nasal ring in order to pay obeisance to the Machinder Nath.

Renuka Lake
It lies in Sirmaur district at an altitude of 672 m. It is the largest natural lake in the state of Himachal Pradesh with a circumference of 3214 m. It is named after Hindu Goddess Renuka, mother of Lord Parshurama. In 1964, the State Government of Himachal Pradesh has declared an area of 4.02 sq km comprising Renuka Lake as wildlife sanctuary due to its importance to natural fauna and flora. As of 2005, it is designated Ramsar site.

Dal Lake
Dal Lake lies at an altitude of 1775 m near the village of Tota Rani in Kangra district. It is surrounded by Deodars and known for a small Shiva temple on its bank.

Kareri Lake
Kareri Lake lies at an altitude of 2934 m in northwest of Dharamshala in Kangra district. It is fed by snowmelt water of Dhauladars and in turn it feeds Nyund river.

Khajjiar Lake
Khajjiar Lake lies at an altitude of 1920 m in a small town of Khajjiar in Chamba district. It takes its name from Khajji Nag. The lake has considerably shrunk over a period of time due to encroachment in the catchment area and stands on the verge extinction. Sadly no action has been taken yet to restore the lake.

Rewalsar Lake
Rewalsar lies at an altitude of 1360 m on a mountain spur in the Mandi district. It is nearly square in shape with total shoreline of 735 m. It is considered a sacred sport among Hindu, Sikhs and Buddhist alike.

Kunt Bhyog
Kunt Bhyog lies at an altitude of 1750 within the vicinity of Rewalsar Lake in the Mandi district. It is associated with Lakshagraha (Burning of Wax Palace) episode of Mahabharata.

Prashar Lake
Prashar Lake lies at an altitude of 2730 m in Mandi district. It is named after Sage Prashar and said to be made by Bheema on the request of Lord Kamrunag. A small pagoda style temple dedicated to Sage Prashar lies on its bank.

Nako Lake
Nako Lake lies at an altitude of 3662 m in the Pooh sub-division of Kinnaur district and is considered among Vajryana Buddhist followers.

Chandra Taal
Chandra Taal lies at an altitude of 4300 m on Samudra Tapu plateau in Spiti Valley. The name Chandra (Moon) can be attributed to its crescent shape. It is considered to be the source of Chandra river. As of 2005, it has been declared a Ramsar Wetland site. It is listed under protected areas by Government of Himachal Pradesh and an area of 39.6 sq km surrounding the lake is considered to be given the status of wildlife sanctuary.

Suraj Tal
Suraj Tal or Surya Tal lies at an altitude of 4883 m in Lahaul Valley. It is considered to be the main source of Bhaga river, which after joining Chandra river forms the mighty Chandrabhaga (Chenab) river. It is acessible via NH 21 (Leh-Manali Highway).

Bhrigu Lake
Brighu Lake lies at an altitude of 4300 metres (14,100 ft) in Kullu district, east of Rohtang Pass. It is named after Sage Brighu, one of the seven Great Hindu sages. It can be reached via a trek from Vashisht village, known for its hot water spring in Manali.

Chander Naun
Chander Naun lies at an altitude of 4260 metres in Rohru tehsil of Shimla district. It is the main source of Pabbar river.

Dashair Lake
Dashair Lake lies at an altitude of 4200 metres near Rohtang Pass in Kullu.

Dhankar Lake
Dhankar Lake lies at an altitude of 4140 metres near Dhankar monastery in Spiti valley.

Ghadhasaru Lake
Ghadhasaru Lake lies in the Churah tehsil of Chamba at an altitude of 3470 m. It is considered sacred by locals.

Mahakali Lake
Mahakali Lake lies between Sano and Gudial in Chamba district at an altitude of 4080 m. It is considered sacred and named after goddess Mahakali. It remains frozen for a period of six months from November to April.

Lama Dal
Lama Dal is located in Chamba district at an altitude of 3960 m and attached to Lord Shiva.

Maharana Pratap Sagar
Maharana Pratap Sagar, also known as Pong Dam Lake, is an artificial lake that was created in 1975, by building a dam in the wetland zone of the Siwaliks in Kangra on Beas river. It is named after Legendary Rajput King Maharana Pratap (1540–1597). It is also one of the 32 wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh and was declared a Ramsar Wetland site in 2002.

Gobind Sagar
Gobind Sagar is a man made lake in Bilaspur district, formed by the Bhakra Dam on Sutlej river. It was declared as the water fowl refuge in 1962 and later upgraded to wildlife sanctuary.

Pandoh Lake
Pandoh Lake is an artificial lake formed by damming the Beas River in Mandi.

Chamera Lake
Chamera Lake is formed by the actions of Chamera dam on the Ravi river near Dalhousie in the Chamba district.

Lakes of Himachal Pradesh By Districts

ChambaGhadasaru Lake, Khajjar Lake, Manimahesh Lake, Lam Dal Lake, Mahakali Lake, Chandrakup Tal, Chamera Lake, Nag Dal, Kali Dal, Dham Godi, Kali Kund, Nagara Lake and Kiur Dal
KulluBrighu Lake, Sareul-Saryolsar Lake, Rani-Sui Lake, Dashaur Lake, Mantalai and Shringu Lake.
ShimlaChandra Naun, Tani Jubbal and Karali Lake.
Lahaul-SpitiSuraj Tal, Chandratal, Yangche Lake, Una-so Lake, Dhankar Lake and Neelkanth Lake.
KinnaurKara Lake, Nako Lake, Thorate Lake and Sarong Lake
BilaspurGobind Sagar Lake
KangraDal Lake, Kareri Lake, Pong Lake, Yula Kandley Lake and Dana Sar.
SirmaurRenuka lake and Saketi Lake.
MandiRewalsar lake, Suk Sar, Kul Sar, Kunt Bhayo Sar, Khadla Sar, Nil Sar, Chita Sar, Saaf Sar, Kumarwah Lake, Pandoh Lake, Machhial Lake, Kamrunag Lake.

Reference Sources
1. Lakes of Himachal Pradesh (HP General Studies)
2. Himachal Tourism
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