As silver as a diamond flame or as magical as the moonlight: a lake can be many things. Whether surrounded by hills, or fed by an ocean or sea nearby, a lake is always a source of tranquility and calm. Many lakes and their catchment areas serve as natural home to wildlife and also provide a source of livelihood to the local communities living on the shore areas.
India is home to several beautiful lakes which are a sight for sore eyes and a balm for dealing with these troubling times. A trip to a lake can be the perfect time to relax and rejuvenate yourself away from the stress of a city.
Loktak Lake, Manipur
Did you know that Loktak Lake is the only floating lake in the world? A hotspot for a range of flora and fauna, this lake has a bunch of floating phumdis over it, which give the illusion of a floating landmass. Phumdis are accumulated masses of soil and vegetation at different stages of decomposition and people can actually live on these tiny floating islands. This ancient lake is vital to the economy of the state.
Pangong Tso, Ladakh
Thanks to Bollywood, this gorgeous strip of land is recognisable to anyone who has watched the film where Kareena Kapoor comes riding in a red lehenga on a scooter along its banks. The Pangong Tso is a picturesque spot about a 5-hour drive away among the mountains of Leh. Interestingly, the Line of Actual Control runs right through it, making a part of the lake in mainland China.
Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom
Considered as one of the longest lakes in India and the largest in the state, the Vembanad Lake is the perfect spot to have a peaceful evening and socially distance. This unusual lake is a combination of fresh and brackish water while being divided by a saltwater barrier. You can even stay in one of the beautifully decorated houseboats to soak in the beauty and tranquility of the area.
Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok
There is something about high-altitude lakes that draws visitors to it. Maybe it's the misty surroundings, imposing mountains and chilly climate that makes up the allure. Tsomgo Lake, or Changu Lake in local parlance, falls on the way to Nathu La Pass. Located around 35 km from Gangtok city, the sheer beauty of this lake surrounded by high peaks has made it quite a popular spot for tourists. Vibrant prayer flags dot the banks of the lake, adding colour to the largely glacial surroundings.
Dal Lake, Srinagar
The immaculate beauty of Kashmir comes alive in vastly different ways, both during summer and winter. And the Dal Lake is the perfect spot to witness this. The lake has been romanticised for decades, especially the shikaras that ferry visitors from the boulevard to their houseboats, or on boat rides. The shikaras also act as vendors for all kinds of Kashmiri handicrafts and trinkets, fruits, flowers and vegetables. This serene lake should definitely be on your travel itinerary.
Chembra Lake, Wayanad
This heart-shaped lake falls on the way to the Chembra Peak in Wayanad, on the bed of a crispy green meadow. Often called a ‘lover’s paradise’, this beautiful lake is supposed to have never dried up. The Chembra Peak is an oft-visited trekking trail in the Wayanad forest, near Bandipur. From the top, you can observe the whole of Wayanad and its enthralling beauty.
Roopkund Lake, Uttarakhand
This ‘Mystery Lake’ as it's often called, is a high altitude glacial lake surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers and snow-clad mountains. It takes around 5-6 days on a trekking trail to reach the spot. Not for the faint of heart, the Roopkund Lake is notorious for having human bones and skulls at the bottom, where the snow has melted. The bones are said to date back to 850 AD but even after numerous scientific research, the mystery of the bones hasn't been solved yet.
Rih Dil Lake, Mizoram/Myanmar
Although this lake technically lies in present-day Myanmar, not too long ago, it used to be part of India and is still regarded as sacred in Mizo folklore. This heart-shaped lake is considered a gateway to Pialral, a place where all souls end up, according to the ancestral tribes of Mizoram. Though the lake does not lie in Mizoram, Indian citizens on the border can freely visit the lake without applying for a visa. This enables the Mizo community to visit Rih Dil no matter which country they live in.