Exploring the Beauty of Renuka Lake in Himachal Pradesh

Nestled in the midst of breathtaking Himalayan Mountains of Himachal Pradesh lies a hidden gem called Renuka Lake.  This beautiful, serene and tranquil lake, besides being a popular tourist destination, has a rich cultural heritage and holds great religious significance.   Renuka Lake with a great history, picturesque surroundings, abundance of wildlife is truly a sight to behold. In this article, we will go deep and unravel the beauty and history of Renuka Lake.

The Legend of Renuka Lake

According to Hindu scriptures and belief, Renuka Lake is considered to be the embodiment of Goddess Renuka, who was the mother of Lord Parshuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that the lake was created when Lord Parshuram brought his mother’s ashes to this place and immersed them in the water of the lake. From that time onwards, the lake which was then named after Goddess Renuka has been considered sacred and has become an important pilgrimage site for Hindus.

Parshuram Lake

Near the lake’s feet there is another lake held sacred to Goddess Renuka’s son Lord Parshurama.  Both the lakes have temples built around them.  The lake rests in a long valley and the surrounding slopes are covered with a thick forest and vegetation. 

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The Natural Beauty of Renuka Lake

Renuka lake is the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh with a circumference of about 3214 m (covers an area of 2.5 km).  The lake is situated at an altitude of 672 meters above sea level and is surrounded by lush green forests and towering mountains. The beauty of Renuka Lake is truly in such a setting is truly breathtaking. The serene blue waters of the lake, the lush greenery of the surrounding forests, and the towering mountains in the distance create a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the lake’s shoreline or go boating in the calm waters.  Renuka lake, besides its religious significance is also a great picnic spot.  Boating can be enjoyed here on the lake.

Wildlife at Renuka Lake

Renuka Lake is not only known for its scenic beauty but also for the variety of wildlife that can be found in the surrounding forests. The forests around the lake are home to several species of animals that includes langurs, macaques, barking deer, sambar deer and even leopards. The lake itself is home to several species of fish, including the famous Mahseer fish, which is a popular catch for anglers.

Renuka Mela Himachal Pradesh

Every year, in the month of November a fair known as the “The Renuka Mela” is held here which is an extremely popular fair in the state of Himachal Pradesh.  It is held on the banks of the Renuka Lake.  This fair holds important religious significance as it is celebrated to  honor the sacrifice of mother Renuka (Mother of Parshuram).  Renuka was killed by her own son on the orders of her husband. Thus, the fair actually salutes immortality of Renuka and her son. Thousands of devotees gather here every year to worship their beloved gods and goddesses.

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Renuka Mela Celebrations

The Renuka Mela is also a cause of much celebration and joy for the locals. Long winters are about to start and people get an opportunity to celebrate and be merry before the colds set in.  The fair is packed with numerous activities and events like dance, music, shopping etc.  Many cultural programme are organized on the banks of Renuka Lake. 

Rituals and Celebrations in Renuka Mela

Renuka fair is also popular for an age old ritual wherein there is exchange of turbans or caps or any other items.  These caps and turbans or other items which can be anything is then mixed and two items are picked up.  The persons to whom these belong become brothers or sisters  in the name of Devi Renukaji. This kind of ritual is held in many places in Himachal Pradesh.  I have seen this ritual during the Pauri Mela in Lahoul and Spiti.  The locals also take out long processions of Parshurama and other local gods and visit the Renukaji temple during the fair.

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Best Time to Visit Renuka Lake

The best time to visit Renuka Lake is from March to June and from September to November. During this time, the weather is pleasant. However, Renukaji lake can be visited any time of the year if you are adventurous enough.

How to Reach Renuka ji Lake in Himachal Pradesh

Renuka lake lies in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is very well connected with other places.  The distance of Renukaji from  Nahan, which is the nearest town is only 37 km.  If you are going from Dehradun the distance is 94 km approx.  From Dehradun, the route is Paonta Sahib, then Nahan and thereafter Renukaji.   The detailed information for coming by air, train and road is as follows :-

By Air

The nearest airports are Dehra Dun and Chandigarh.   From there one can take a taxi or HRTC/private bus.

By Train

The nearest railhead to Renukaji Lake is Ambala which is 100 km away.  The other nearest rail head is in Dehradun.  

By Road

There are two routes for coming to Renukaji Lake, one is from Dehradun – Paonta Sahib – Nahan and Renukaji Lake.  The other route is  via Shahbad, Naraingarh, Kala Amb, Nahan and finally Renuka Lake.

Renukaji Route from Delhi

If you are coming from Delhi, the total distance from Delhi to Renuka Lake will be 300 km approx. The routethat can be followed is  one can follow is Delhi to Shahbad on NH-1, passing through Panipat, Karnal and then onto NH-72.   You enter Himachal at Kala Amb, drive further until you reach Nahan via Narayangarh.  You then further drive upto Jamta reaching the Giri river.  You cross the river at Dadahu and turning right and driving after a few kilometers one reaches Renuka Lake. is approx 290 kms.  If one starts early from Delhi, one can reach Renuka lake in less then 6 hours.

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HRTC Bus from Delhi to Nahan

The distance of Renukaji from  Nahan, which is the nearest town is only 37 km.  There is a direct bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, New Delhi to Nahan which starts at 1440 hours and reaches there at 2300 hours passing through Ambala and Karnal.  From there it wont be much difficult to reach Renuka Lake as lots of options would be available.

Where to Stay in Renukaji Lake

There are several accommodation options available near Renuka Lake, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Some of the popular options include Hotel Renuka, Renuka Resort, Sirmour Retreat Hotel and many more.

Safety Tips while Visiting Renuka Lake

While visiting Renuka Lake, it is important to take some safety precautions. Visitors should avoid venturing into the forests alone and should stick to designated walking paths. It is also recommended to carry sufficient food and water, especially if planning to trek or go on a hike in the surrounding areas.

Conservation Efforts

Efforts are being made by the Himachal Pradesh Government to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife of Renuka Lake. The lake falls in a protected area, and visitors are not allowed to engage in activities that could harm the environment. The local authorities are also taking steps to control pollution and maintain the ecological balance of the area.  Visitors should help in this endeavour and not litter or throw garbage anywhere.  They should dispose off non bio degradable items like plastic bottles, chocolate wrappers etc properly and in designated dustbins.

Nearby Attractions

Apart from Renuka Lake, there are several other attractions in the region that are worth visiting. The nearby Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and offers a chance to see several species of animals and birds in their natural habitat. The Suketi Fossil Park, which is located near the lake, is home to several fossilized remains of prehistoric animals and is a must-visit for history buffs.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Renuka Lake is a hidden gem of Himachal Pradesh, that has so much to offer to the visitors.  Besides experiencing the rich cultural heritage of the region and soaking in the natural beauty, one gets a lot of time for oneself and do some much needed soul searching.  Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Renuka Lake is the perfect destination.

FAQ

Yes, Renuka Lake is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from March to June and from September to November.

Swimming is not allowed in Renuka Lake, as it is considered a sacred place and also a protected area.  Besides the depth of the water is too much and swimming might be dangerous.

Renuka Lake is considered to be the embodiment of Goddess Renuka, the mother of Lord Parshuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Some of the nearby attractions in Renuka Lake include the Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary and the Suketi Fossil Park and off course the Sage Jamdagni’s Ashram on top of the Renuka Hill.

There are several accommodation options available near Renuka Lake, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Some of the popular options include Hotel Renuka, Renuka Resort, Sirmour Retreat Hotel and many more.  

No.  Renuka lake is the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh with a circumference of about 3214 m (covers an area of 2.5 km). 

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