Top 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in India

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India’s spectacular natural beauty is all around for one to see and revel in. But these jewels are not just the high mountains, the verdant valleys, the lush tropical forests, or the silvery beaches. The sparkling and shimmering lakes, natural or man-made, that are sometimes found smack-bang in the middle of a city or hidden away in the remote hills are India’s precious treasures that sometimes get missed in a tourist’s must-visit list. Below are the top 10 most beautiful lakes in India that you must visit to better appreciate the multi-faceted beauty of this vast country.

10. Pushkar Lake, Ajmer, Rajasthan

The Pushkar Lake is held sacred by the Hindus and is believed to possess divine origins.  The lake is a glistening body of transparent water that is surrounded by hills on its three sides. There are more than 50 bathing ghats encircling the lake and it is believed that taking a dip in its holy waters can wash away one’s sins. The holiness of the lake is palpable and you can most appreciate its tranquil beauty during the sunset, when the golden rays of the setting sun light up the water and cast a magical aura on the lake and its surrounds. You can hire a car or hop on to a deluxe bus either from Jaipur or Ajmer and head off for Pushkar Lake. There are many temples around the lake and you can spend a day here visiting these holy sites or head up to the rooftop restaurant of the Pushkar Lake Palace to admire the enchanting environs. It is a unique lake in India that is lovingly wrapped up in folklore, blessed by ancestry, and sanctified by the beliefs of the people held throughout centuries; it is thus not surprising that it appears so divinely beautiful.

Pushkar Lake, Ajmer, Rajasthan715x310

9. Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

The mighty Himalayas hide another mesmerizingly beautiful lake amidst its slopes—the Gurudongmar Lake in north Sikkim. This is a unique lake whose beauty is derived not just from its surroundings but also from the air of spirituality that encircles the area. The snow-fed Gurudongmar Lake is the second highest lake in India and is encircled by majestic snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. The landscape is stark and barren all around and amidst it, the shimmering and sparkling body of milky-white water presents an ethereal sight. The lake is frozen in winter except for one corner, which it is believed was blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but that of the Gurudongmar Lake is acutely felt by the heart and the mind; it has that peculiar soul-lifting quality.You can reach Gurudongmar Lake by road; there are plenty of jeeps for hire at Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim and the drive is widely regarded as one of the most enchanting in the whole state. Once here and after you have taken in the beauty of the lake, make sure that you visit the gurudwara nearby. Although erected in Guru Nanak’s memory, the gurudwara is now a Sarva Dharma Sthal or a house of worship for people from all religions. You might also tie a prayer flag from one of the many posts around the lake to have your wishes fulfilled, according to popular belief.

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim715x310

8. Chilka Lake, Odisha

The largest brackish water lake in India, the Chilka Lake presents a glorious sight when bathed in the morning sunlight. The waters shimmer and sparkle for as far as your eyes can travel and the islands that dot the lake loom up large and mysterious. The lake is surrounded by mountains on one side and verdant forests on another side. The air of perfect stillness is only broken by the delightful sounds of winds flapping, cackles, and chirpings—the Chilka Lake is a happy hunting and nesting ground for as many 150 species of rare migratory and resident birds. It is not just the nature lover and the solitude seeker who flock to the lake; the bird watchers too come here in droves. Make sure that you go on a boat ride here to soak in the bliss and the beauty of the lake and also visit the islands.The lake is spread over three districts in Odisha and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Regular buses (both government-operated and those run by independent operators), taxis, and cars ply from all the major cities in the state, like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Puri, to Balugaon, which the nearest railhead and from where you can easily hire an auto rickshaw to reach the lake.

Chilka Lake, Odisha715x310

7. Chandra Taal, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Seekers know that real beauty sometimes lies away from prying eyes, unspoiled and untouched and you need to go off the beaten track to uncover these gems. The Chandra Taal or the Lake of the Moon is one such example. The lake lies buried in the heart of the Himalayas and it is believed that it has been created by the waters of melting glaciers. The lake lies in a remote region of the Spiti Valley but can be easily accessed by jeeps from Batal or by foot from Kunzum Pass. This ethereally beautiful lake is surrounded on all sides by the mighty peaks of the Himalayas and the crystal clear waters reflect the azure blue skies and the mountains around. The lake affords wonderful opportunities to set off on small hikes; you may also choose to camp at the expansive meadows that lie on the banks. Being miles away from any human settlement, the place exudes perfect calm and the almost other-worldly beauty only adds to the ambience to induce a soul-lulling peace in you.

Chandra Taal, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh715x310

6. Wular Lake, Jammu and Kashmir

India’s largest freshwater lake is also one of the most breathtakingly beautiful lakes of the country. But it is hardly surprising—the lake only reflects (no pun is intended) the captivating beauty of the state it is located in. Towering icy mountains rise up steeply from one side of the lake while another side of the lake is lined with dense coniferous forests and lush alpine grasslands. The scenic beauty and the serene environs of the Wular Lake attract nature lovers and solitude seekers alike. The lake is also a haven for bird watchers, who flock here in droves to watch the many exotic species of the avian kingdom—both resident and migratory—who have made the waters and the trees around, their homes. And while you are here and after you have reveled in the beauty and serenity of the lake, make it a point to visit the apple orchards of Sopore, shop for beautiful woven blankets at Bandipur, trek to Narmarg, and pay your respects at the many Hindu and Buddhist shrines at Shadipur—all these places are situated on the shores of the Wular Lake and the trips can be conveniently packed into a daylong trip.Buses to Wular Lake ply from Srinagar or you may hire a car to take you to the lake and the many places of interest around it.

Wular Lake, Jammu and Kashmir715x310

5. Loktak Lake, Manipur

The Loktak Lake is one of the best-kept secrets of Manipur. This ancient lake is the largest freshwater lake in the northeast of India and nestled amidst dense forests, it presents a breathtaking sight. However, the lake derives its importance and makes a mark on the list of top 10 most beautiful lakes in India by being the only floating lake in the world. The surface of the lake is dotted with phumdis, decaying masses of vegetation, soil, and various other organic matter, that float around. It is indeed a surreal sight and one that you will not find anywhere else in India. Meander along the deep blue waters of the lake on a boat and observe from close quarters, the floating islands and local fishermen going about their trade—this is indeed the best way to explore the lake. The best views of the lake can however, be had from the tourist bungalow on Sendra Island. The lake also affords numerous fishing opportunities for avid anglers.You can hire a car from Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, to take you to Loktak Lake. You can then hop on a bus or an auto rickshaw to take you to Sendra Island.

Loktak Lake, Manipur715x310

4. Pichola Lake, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Lake Pichola in Udaipur is not situated in some remote corner of India. Nor is it surrounded by towering mountain ranges or dense forests. It is neither the handiwork of Mother Nature. Rather this beautiful and artificial lake surrounds two of the most beautiful palaces in India—the Jag Mandir and the Jagniwas Palace. The placid waters of the lake reflect the lush hills around and the exquisite and imposing structures of the two palaces, the many bathing ghats, and temples. As you watch the setting sun cast a golden glow on the waters, you cannot but realize that the beauty of the lake is surely imparted by the grandeur of its setting and surroundings. One of the largest freshwater and artificial lakes in India, Lake Pichola is certainly an oasis in an otherwise dry and arid region. It is also an oasis for the senses—the lake is located in the heart of the bustling city and provides a serene refuge to the weary soul.Scores of buses ply to Lake Pichola from the central bus stand in Udaipur and once you are here, there is no dearth of activities to fill up your day. You can visit the many temples and palaces that dot the lake shores and then hop on a boat for a sunset cruise and past the many elegant island palaces, the ghats, and historical monuments, some of which loom up large from the surface of the lake. A boat ride is an absolute must-do when you visit Lake Pichola.

Pichola Lake, Udaipur, Rajasthan715x310

3. Tso Moriri, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

Ladakh is a land of breathtaking and boundless natural beauty and hidden in its nooks and crannies are Mother Nature’s gems, like the Tso Moriri. The lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ladakh and it is easy to see why. The vast expanse of the lake is surrounded on three sides by craggy mountain ranges that soar into the skies; the sparkling blue waters of the lake reflect these mountains and the deep blue sky. The landscape is dramatic and is made all the more surreal by the remoteness of the place and the stillness that surrounds the lake. It is just you and the lake with a few grazing animals and herdsmen around. The stark barren landscape of the lake region is a striking contrast to the lush prettiness that is found elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir and it is this unusual beauty that has catapulted Tso Moriri to the top of the charts.A motorable road reaches right up to the banks of the lake and jeeps and cars to take you to the lake are easily available on hire from Leh. The region around the lake affords numerous opportunities for hiking and wildlife watching. But the magical aspect of the lake is only revealed to you during sunset, when the waters change colors from rich shades of blue to vibrant hues of red and orange before turning into mysterious tints of green. Thankfully, there are many camping sites here where you can put up for the night and enjoy this sunset spectacle.

Tso Moriri, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir715x310

2. Pangong Lake, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir

The state of Jammu and Kashmir in India is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque regions in the country. So it is not surprising that some of the most beautiful lakes in India would be situated here. The Pangong Lake however, makes it to podium position not only because it is beautiful but also because the landscapes such as those that surround the lake cannot be found anywhere else in India. The crystal clear and deep blue waters of the lake are surrounded by towering mountains on three sides. Keep your eyes strained on the waters and you will soon notice them turning a rich hue of emerald green and then a sparkling shade of turquoise. The ever-changing colors of the lake seem almost too magical to be true; but then this is Ladakh, a land where magic and mystery hang heavy in the air!Pangong Lake is easily reached by hiring a car from Leh; the drive through enchanting valleys, towering peaks, and one of the highest motorable passes in the world is exhilarating. The best way to explore the lake area and the dramatic natural vistas around is on foot; you can even walk right up to the edge of the peninsula in the lake.

Pangong Lake, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir715x310

1. Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

India’s most beautiful lake is also widely held as one of the most picturesque lakes in the world. The lake with its serene surrounds offers ample respite from the hustle and bustle of the city of Srinagar and is a favorite haunt of both locals and tourists. Its sparklingly clear waters reflect the high snow-capped mountains and the lush greenery that surround the lake and present a mesmerizing site. The placid waters of the lake are dotted with quaint, colorful, and decorated house boats, locally known as shikaras, where you can put up for a night or two to really soak in the blissful environs. There is a picture postcard quality to the area in and around the lake; in fact, the Dal Lake often adorns wallpapers and postcards and has gone on to become Kashmir’s most recognizable natural landmark.The Dal Lake is located smack-bang in the heart of Srinagar and as such is easily accessible from all corners of the city; you can take a government-run bus, hop on an auto rickshaw, or hire a taxi to reach. However, a more enchanting way to travel is to take a shikara from Nagin Lake! Once here, a languid boat ride to soak in the beauty of the place is a must. You can also trek up a small hillock to visit the Shankaracharya Temple that dates back to the 7th or 8th century and enjoy a grand bird’s eye view of the lake. There are also other options for recreation here, like kayaking, water surfing, and fishing.

Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir715x310

Conclusion

The most beautiful lakes of India are epitomes of beauty in its many facets. A visit to these lakes will convince you that it takes scenic landscapes, tranquil surrounds, an air of mystery, a blanket of sanctity, and the beliefs of the people to impart beauty to a lake.

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