''My heart is wild like a squirrel nibbling on nuts among pines.
It has been a year since the snow had made my cheeks blush.
My hair looks clean, but I want twigs and leaves among them.
I hear many voices, now I want mountains to echo back to me.
My bruised feet long for the cushiony sands to heal them,
but I’m drowning under the sea of negativity.
I need positive ripples from a lake to wash me ashore.''
Lakes are landscape’s most amazing and expressive feature, the mirror to the skies, the perfect companion to the nature around, and an epitome of beauty. Lakes have the power to initiate an insightful change in you and make you fall in love with the nature more and more. India is home to some of the best pieces of God’s architecture; from North to South, from East to West, just dare to step outside into the unknown, and sovereign serenity will welcome you. A retreat to a lake in India is surely a refreshing experience that’s why we have filtered down the list of places where you can enjoy a perfect lakeside vacation:
1. Pangong Tso
Mighty, mystical, pristine, and pure, Pangong will make you bow down and feel blessed at having witnessed it. Surrounded by mountains on all sides and the reflections of shimmering Changchenmo in its endless blue water will touch and move you as only nature can. The lake is set at around 4350m above sea level and is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The significant part of the lake is in China region so you can visit only the one-third part of the lake. Pangong is at a five-hour drive from Leh which passes through a rough and dramatic mountain road.
2. Chandratal Lake
There are many places that you may like, but there are very few that you connect to. And Chandratal is one of those places that brims you with the feeling of belonging. The lake got its name from its shape which is more like a crescent of the moon (translates to ‘Chandra’ in Hindi.) Many stories are anchored around this lake, and one from the epic Mahabharata says that it is the same location from where the Yudhishthira, the eldest of Pandava brothers, was taken to heaven by Lord Indra. Chandratal is located in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is a 2.5 km wide freshwater lake and is at an elevation of around 4290 meters above sea level. If you want to visit this tantalising lake, then you have to head for Manali, which is the most easily accessible starting point for Chandratal.
3. Sela Lake
Sela Lake is God’s gift to the nature of the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The lake can be reached by Sela Pass which is located on the border between the Tawang and West Kameng districts at an elevation of 4,100 meters. The pass is usually covered with snow throughout the year and is home to 101 lakes. And Sela lake is stationed right on the top of the pass. Sela is the snowy attraction of Arunachal Pradesh, and with the mystic combination of Sella pass makes it a great place to stop and relish the beauty of the surroundings. When the landscape is covered with the blanket of fresh snow, you will be entranced to when you will visit the dreamland in winter, when the blanket of fresh snow covers the view.
Just think of what heaven looks like, and you’ll find the same on your visit to Gurudongmar Lake. This lake is nestled at an atmosphere-crushing height of 5,400 meters in the small paradise of India, Sikkim. But when you land near the lake, you’ll find all of your struggle worthwhile. With emerald water and snow-covered mountains in the backdrop, Gurudongmar looks heavenly. It is the holy lake for the Buddhist community, and also a source of the river Teesta. The way to Gurudongmar is gifted with endless pastures, waterfalls at every turn, quiet monastery town, and serpentine roads. So it’s not just about the destination here, it’s the journey too which get adds to the list of unforgettable experiences.
5. Vembanad Lake
If there’s any lake which is persistently making its way to the top of must-visit lakes in India, then its none other than Vembanad. Vembanad Rail Bridge, the longest railway line in India is named after this lake, which is the largest in Kerala and longest lake in India. Indulge in the scenic beauty of Kerala backwaters and let your eyes lull to green symphony all around you. The best time to visit Vembanad is when Nehru Trophy Boat Race is organized on Punnamada lake which is a part of Vembanad. This lake offers a perfect refuge from mundane life and is must visit for someone who is thinking of visiting the God’s own country.
6. Prashar Lake
Prashar lake is located at an elevation of 2730 meters above sea level and is named after an ancient Indian sage, Maharishi Parashara. Lying in the lap of supremely beautiful hills of Himachal, and surrounded by majestic ranges of Dhauladhar, Kinnaur, and Pir Pranjal, Prashar lake enchants everyone with its picturesque views. You can also visit the three-storied temple by the side of lake which is said to be built in the thirteenth century. In summers the landscape around Prashar is sprinkled everywhere with wildflowers whereas in winter the place turns into white heaven.
7. Tarsar Lake
A visit to Jammu & Kashmir and your entire life turns into a distant dream; such is the beauty of this place and its mirror-calm lakes. And Dal lake is one of the magnets of this place. This lake is integral to tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is named “Jewel in the crown of Kashmir.” The best time to visit Dal is in the months from July and August when the lake is embellished with gardens of lotus flowers. You can relish the beauty of the lake on houseboats which are no less than palaces, and witness the floating market which is one of the unique experiences. Wular Lake, Shankaracharya temple, Mazar-e-Shura cemetery with graves of renowned Mughal poets, and the Island of four Chinars are some of the hotspots near Dal.
8. Pichola Lake
With the perfect backdrop of lush green hills, Lake Pichola is oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur. Pichola Lake was built in 1362 AD by Pichhu Banjara, and later Maharaja Udai Singh who was utterly captivated by the charm of this lake decided to found the city of Jaipur by the banks of this mesmerising lake. To complement the pristine and calm water of the lake, there are islands on which architectural marvels like the Lake Palace stands proud. The palace is nearly 250 years of age and now has been turned into a heritage hotel. A boat ride during sunset will undoubtedly cast a spell on anyone who is visiting this phenomenal lake.
9. Chilika Lake
Chilika is a saltwater lake, and Asia’s largest lagoon spread over an area over 1100 sq km. The colossal lake is spread across Puri, Khurda, and Ganjham districts of Orissa. The lake is also a favourite stop-over of many migratory birds, flocking this place during winters. If you’re looking for a time to relax, soak in the beauty of nature, and live the moment, then Chillika should be in your bucket list of must-visit lakes. Bask in the beauty of the lake and cheer up for life while passing through the villages settled on near its shores. Watch the stars of Chillika, Irrawaddy dolphins, jump out of water which evokes awe and fills minds of tourists with wonder. Chilika lake is an integral part of the culture of Orissa as it is associated with many of the ancient folklore, and you must visit this lake if you want to take a peek into Orissa culture.
10. Loktak Lake
Loktak, the largest freshwater lake is located in the Bishnupur district of Northeastern India, at a distance of 53 km from Imphal. The iconic lake is famous for its circular floating swaps called phumdis. These swamps resemble floating islands, and at dawn when the clouds reflect on the glass-like water of the lake, everything seems to be hovering in the sky. The lake covers an area of around 300 sq meters and serves as a lifeline for the people depending on it. The lake is the primary source of water for hydropower generation and a source of income for the fishermen living around the lake. If you want to get the panoramic view of the lake, then you must head to Sendra and Tanga Island. Loktak lake is the place if you're going to relax, revive and rejuvenate for a couple of days and enjoy life on the water.