“This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty”
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Often as I have wandered across India immersing myself in nature, I have been bowled over by the lakes as there’s something unique and serene about them. As they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – I have been in love with lakes while many in my peer group prefer mountains, beaches, etc. Here are some of the most beautiful lakes in India that have left imprints in my memories, making me want to visit them again soon:
It is peak summer and come June/July many travelers will head out for a road trip to Leh-Ladakh. One of the prime attractions at Leh-Ladakh is the Pangong Tso Lake, a lake that was made even more popular by the scene in movie 3 Idiots where Kareena Kapoor rode a scooter along the banks of the lake in her red wedding dress. An interesting fact about Pangong Tso, a brackish water lake, is that about 60% of it actually lies in China and that the Line of Actual Control passes through the lake. One can travel to Nubra valley, back to Leh and then travel to Pangong the next day. In case of a time crunch, however, you can travel directly from Nubra valley to Pangong. There are three routes to travel to the lake: via Khardung la, via Wari la, or via Agham Shyok Road. I recommend Agham Shyok as it involves the least amount of travel time (approx. 6 hours).
About 40 kms from Gangtok and on the way to Nathu La Pass, Tsomgo lake is a glacial lake that offers one of the most spectacular sights for nature lovers. The steep mountains, changing colours of the lake’s surface with change of season, a wide variety of flower species in bloom, and colourful prayer flags & bells surrounding the lake add to the scenic beauty. Since the lake is situated in an International Border Area, both domestic and foreign tourists will need to get a permit. One can either get the permit at Sikkim Tourist Information Centre at MG Marg in Gangtok or you can ask the hotel staff/agent to arrange for the same.
Loktak Lake, Manipur
The largest freshwater lake in Northeast India, Loktak Lake is not only popular among tourists for the Floating Islands but is also a lifeline for the economy of Manipur. Located in the South West part of the lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating National Park in the world. One must take a boat ride to experience the floating islands from up close. The region also has rich flora and fauna with 233 species of aquatic plants, over 100 species of birds, and 425 species of animals. I recommend that you stay at Sendra Resort as it’s surrounded on two sides by the Loktak Lake. At the resort you will find both cottages and rooms that will offer a clear view of the lake. The restaurant at the resort is also perfectly located, giving a clear view of the lake.
Once upon a time – well in-fact, over more than 52,000 years ago – a meteor hit earth, creating one of the world’s largest craters and the only hyper velocity impact crater. Guess what, it’s in the state of Maharashtra – about 475 KMs from Mumbai and a 9 hour drive by car. There are several temples such as Daitya Sudan Temple, Kamalja Devi Temple, Gomukh Temple, etc., that surround the lake. Most of these temples, perfect examples of Hindu Architecture, are in ruins – the only exception being the Daitya Sudan temple. You would also find lots of peafowls and migratory birds in the region. Approaching the lake may feel like a trek and it is advisable that you carry water, snacks, etc., as you would find limited outlets for the same in the area.
Situated about 6 km from Somwarpet town, Honnamana Kere Lake is the largest lake in Coorg. If you enjoy some peaceful and quiet time, this is the place to be. If you are spiritual, there’s a temple adjacent to the lake that’s dedicated to Goddess Honnamana. The place is surrounded by mountains, hills, and coffee plantations. The visitors must carry their own snacks/food as they will not find any eateries around the area. Also, do not rely too much on Google Maps to reach the place as you may end up on forest roads that are blocked.