We all know of the famous monuments of historic and religious value in Delhi which stand as a testimony to the rule of the different dynasties whose power waxed and then, waned. This seat of administrative and political power is not just adorned with heritage structures, government buildings, museums and markets. It is close to nature and has many places of interest where we can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Aravalli Hills. There are also many beautiful lakes in and around Delhi which attract many visitors to them, while others are fighting for survival as their maintenance is neglected.
Lakes around Delhi
1. Bhalswa Lake
Originally a horseshoe shaped lake, the Bhalswa is a lake in the Jahangirpura area of Delhi which has since lost some of it glory as it was used as a landfill area and became home to a housing colony. This wetland ecosystem still acts as a wildlife habitat and attracts a lot of water birds, including migratory birds. There are a number of water sports which attract young people here to enjoy activities like rowing, kayaking and canoeing. You could also opt for paddle or rowing boats as the waters of the lake are perfectly serene.
- Distance from Delhi: 11 km
- Attractions: Water sports, Greenery, Scenery, Bird watching
2. Naini Lake, Model Town
A wonderful haven to be found in the middle of the urban jungle, the one-acre wide Naini Lake offers an amazing experience being a lake right in the middle of bustling Delhi, at Model Town. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the park or take a seat on any of the benches to be soothed by the surrounding trees as well as the cool breezes and the lapping waters of the lake.
- Distance from Delhi: 15 km
- Attractions: Boating, relaxation
3. Roshanara Garden Tank
This Mughal-style garden built by Roshanara Begum, daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan is located in Shakti Nagar near the North campus of the University of Delhi. The garden offers a wonderful retreat to the denizens of Delhi with its sheer size and the massive variety of its plants, some of which are imported from other countries. The lake inside these gardens is beloved of bird-watchers, who flock there to see the migratory birds which visit in the winter.
- Distance from Delhi: 15 km
- Attractions: Trees, migratory birds
4. Sarovar at Bangla Sahib
The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib at Connaught Place, New Delhi is the most prominent of Gurudwara in Delhi and it is home to the a very large ‘Sarovar’ or lake, much on the lines of the lake at the Harminder Sahib in Amritsar. The waters of this lake are considered to be ‘Amrit’ or the food of Gods and hence sacred. The Gurudwara was originally built by a Rajput member of Aurangazeb’s court, named Mirza Raja Jai Singh as a palace.
- Distance from Delhi: 18 km
5. Haus Khas Reservoir
Hauz Khas Lake, a water body in the middle of south Delhi, was built during the reign of Allauddin Khilji (1296-1316) to meet the water needs of the Siri Fort. This lake gets treated water from a plant in Mehrauli, but has been slowly falling prey to pollution over the years. Spread over an area of 400 acres. The lake is a beautiful location which attracts many residents of Delhi seeking rest, recreation or exercise, in the form of morning walks. The monuments, landscaped parks and the duck lake here attract many visitors.
- Distance from Delhi: 26 km
- Attractions: Parks, monuments, Bird life and ducks, Walks
6. Sanjay Lake
specifically for rest and recreation. Along the rim of the lake is a jogger’s track, and one can also go boating across the lake. Sanjay Lake is perfect for a picnic, a day of playing games, watching the birds that flock to the lake in the right weather, and for relaxation.
- Distance from Delhi: 33 km
- Attractions: Boating, bird watching, nature
7. Surajkund Lake
The Surajkund lake is considered to be a lake near Delhi. It is actually a reservoir built by a Rajput king Surajpal, supposedly in the 10th century, which fills up in the monsoons. Its ancient history makes it a very special destination as you can still get to see the ruins of many other monuments around it, like the half-moon shaped amphitheatre, a temple to the Sun God beside this lake, which is also known as Peacock Lake. It is a favoured picnic spot for people in Delhi, and also has guesthouses which make it possible to stay overnight.
- Distance from Delhi: 49 km
- Attractions: Picnic, History and Nature getaway
8. Sultanpur Lake, Gurgaon.
Beloved of ornithologists, the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is host to many birds, both local and migratory. The wetlands were developed into a sanctuary, offering hideouts, watch towers and even a museum to serious ornithologists who come here to watch the birds and study them. Winter brings many more birds from foreign locations flocking here to enjoy the scenic stay around the lake, which is one of the best feeding grounds in the vicinity of Delhi.
- Distance from Delhi: 51 km
- Attractions: Ornithology
9. Bhardwaj Lake, Faridabad
Bhardwaj Lake is nestled between the Aravalli Hills, and is perfect for the occasional holiday, or the weekend spent trekking and away from the tight constrictions of a hectic schedule. For the especially adventurous, the lake is clean enough to take a dip in. The lake is a decent location for bird-watchers, and is good for cycling.
- Distance from Delhi: 56 km
- Attractions: Cycling, Trekking, Bird-watching
10. Damdama Lake, Sohna
This lake lies on top of the Aravallis and offers adventurous sports and health along with a holiday at the Damdama Lake near Delhi NCR. This beautiful lake spread over 3000 acres offers facilities for adventure sports, boating and picturesque surroundings. There is a Sulphur spring nearby which is supposed to naturally cure anyone of a skin disease, and there is a spa complex which offers massage, sauna and steam bath facilities to visitors. Nights here are an enchanting experience, as you can gaze at the stars above or the city lights of Gurgaon.
- Distance from Delhi: 60 km
- Attractions: Lake, Adventure sports, Medicinal spring, Bath complex with spa facilities, Scenic views
11. Tilyar Lake
Tilyar is a major lake in Haryana, so very verdant and rich with migratory birds that nature-lovers come to appreciate it from great distances. Nearby, however, is another tourist attraction – the Rohtak Zoo within the lake complex. You can have a picnic by the lake and visit the zoo.
- Distance from Delhi: 62 km
- Attractions: Rohtak Zoo, Migratory Birds, Rich Greenery
12. Ballabgarh Lake
Located in the Ballabgarh village in Faridabad, this lake near Delhi was built by the famous Jat ruler Nahar Singh who ruled the area between 1823 and 1858. A visit here would be incomplete without visiting the Ballabgarh Palace built of white sandstone in the ancient Shekhawati style of Rajasthan. If you are a keen angler, the Ballabgarh lake is the ideal destination for you as it is a fishing as well as a picnic spot.
- Distance from Delhi: 63 km
- Attractions: Parks, monuments, Bird life and ducks
13. Karna Lake, Haryana
Named after Karna from the Mahabharat, the Karna Lake is supposedly where the mythological figure removed the golden armor he was born with and gave it to Indra, the King of the Gods. The Karna Lake falls right in the center of the Grand Trunk Road, and makes for an excellent halt. Some believe the city of Karnal takes its name from the lake, since Karnal – amidst its residents – is called the City of Karna. Come here to partake in the permanence of mythology in culture.
- Distance from Delhi: 129 km
- Attractions: mythological significance, story from Mahabharat
14. Brahma Sarovar, Thanesar
In Hinduism, some water-bodies are known not for their ability to clean one of their physical ill-hygiene, but to instead, cleanse their spirit and their conscience. This makes these water-pools ones of sacred, religious significance. The Brahma Sarovar is said to be the place where civilization and life began, when Brahma – the creator of the universe – performed a sacrifice and man was born. One does not have to be a follower of the religion to appreciate the beauty of the Sarovar, the Shiva shrine located at its heart, and the Gita Jayanti celebrations that happen at the beginning of December every year.
- Distance from Delhi: 161 km
- Attractions: Shiva shrine, Gita Jayanti celebration, spiritual cleanse, religious significance for Hinduism
15. Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
A reservoir at the foothills of the Himalayas, located in Chandigarh. Known for its the beauty and tranquility, constructed by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) and Chief Engineer P.L Verma, the place is known for its “care of the body and spirit”. Seldom are there things as beautiful and serene as the pale waters as they stretch onward.
- Distance from Delhi: 244 km
- Attractions: Peace, quiet, a range of migratory birds, reservoir
Water bodies need maintenance to be sustained and stay in good condition so they will not go dry or be encroached upon. Patronizing lakes and other water bodies and contributing to their ongoing maintenance will surely go a long way towards the longevity of these lakes and their survival through time.