Overview & History
Sukhna lake is one of the most aesthetically pleasing creations of Le Corbusier and Chief Engineer P.L Verma, gifted to Chandigarh in the year 1958. A man-made lake standing in the foothills (Shivalik hills) of the Himalayas, it was created by damming the Sukhna choe which is a seasonal stream that flows down from the Shivalik hills. The Sukhna was so close to the hearts of city planners that Pierre Jeanneret’s ashes were immersed here in 1970.
Sukhna is known for its beautiful sunrises and sunsets; making it the most visited tourist attraction in Chandigarh and rightfully so. The lake also has the largest rowing and boating channel in all Asia which makes it a perfect spot for water sports such as rowing and skiing. It hosts annual rowing competitions for Panjab university and various other sporting federations. A perfect mix of sightseeing, food, fitness park, and adventure activities like boating, rowing, water surfing this lake is an indivisible part of the city and its people. The lake is surrounded by a golf course to its south, Nek Chand’s rock garden to its west, and a beautiful jungle to its north and east which is sometimes open for walks.
Recently in the 2009 Suo motto petition, an order was passed by the high court to declare Sukhna a living entity. This decision was made to preserve the lake from draughting and flooding problems. The order also mentions that all the citizens of the city be its loco parentis (guardian), to save the lake from going extinct.
What to do when visiting Sukhna lake?
Sukhna has an abundance of activities to offer that can keep you entertained when visiting the lake. Some of the activities apart from catching the beauty of lovely sights of sukhna are:
Boating in sukhna is a very peaceful experience to have. Imagine, you were having a bad day and all your worries were at their peak; and the very next minute, here you are floating over the water with light waves and beautiful sights, how good it must feel? Right!
The administration has introduced different types of boat rides for people, like paddle boats, shikara boats, and a small cruise ship that can accommodate up to 25 people at once. Shikara boats although famous at the dal lake in Kashmir give a spectacular joy to ride here in the Sukhna, and paddle boats give you the joy of privacy and peace while paddling around the waters. Some new additions of boats to the lake include a solar cruise boat and a luxury donut-shaped boat. The solar cruise boat can be booked for hosting small birthday parties also.
The usual timings for boating here are 9:30 am-6:00 pm for summers and 9:30-5:30 for winters.
The pricing is different for different types of boats.
- Paddleboats: 250 Rs. for 2 people and security of 250 Rs.; 500 Rs for 4 people and security of 400 Rs.
- Shikara boats: 400 Rs for 2 people
- Sukhna cruise boat: 300 Rs. per head for a 30-minute ride
- Donut luxury boat: 400 Rs. Per head
- Solar cruise boat: 10000 Rs. per hour for a party booking, 300 Rs. Per head for normal booking.
Enjoying food at CITCO tourism cafeteria and other restaurants
The CITCO cafeteria is a restaurant adjoining the lake which gives you a perfect view of the lake from its outdoor seating. The beautiful white theme of the cafeteria with white chairs and tables and cutlery is a sight in itself. This is a very nominally priced restaurant and has decent food options for everyone.
If you want to look for premium option, mermaid bar & restaurant is adjoining the cafeteria. It is a little expensive in comparison to the CITCO tourism cafeteria but gives you a choice of food options to browse through. Another good option to have food when visiting the lake is the lake club restaurant. It is open to non-members and serves some exquisite food for you to enjoy. They have outdoor seating as well.
Next time when you visit the lake be sure to eat at one of these places and make your visit even better.
Watching the Migratory Birds
Sukhna becomes a home for many migratory birds every year, these birds travel from far places like the Siberia, Russia, Mongolia, Europe, Japan, and all central Asia. Some of the birds that were found migrating here over the years are common pochards, tufted ducks, graylag, Southern grey shrike, Oriental Pied Hornbill, and brow bullfinch. These birds add to the ravishing beauty of the lake and give visitors a chance to experience birds from all over the world. Most of the birds visit the lake in the winter which makes it a hub for wildlife photographers.
Department of Forest, provides following facilities for the birders at the regulatory end of the Sukhna Lake.
- Spotting Scopes
- Field Guides for Bird Identification
- Self-Explanatory Illustrative Boards regarding Birds, their habitat, Migration etc
Visiting the Garden of silence
Garden of silence is a peaceful garden right at the end of Sukhna lake. It is a beautiful stone-based garden with a wide variety of flowers and plants on display. This place is a perfect place for your morning yoga and meditation as the Buddha statue in the middle of the park keeps you motivated. The Buddha statue is one of the latest monuments to be installed in Chandigarh. The garden feels even more special at night due to the lights accompanying the tracks around it.
Getting a sketch made/photo clicked
Sukhna lake has always attracted several talented painters and photographers to roam around the lake and practice their art. Luckily for us, these artists also offer their services to the visitors of the lake and you can get your sketch made or photographs clicked for a very nominal price. These artists are highly skilled and will give you a lifetime of memories through their work.
Children’s play zone
Fun and games were always a part of Sukhna’s delightful offerings but recently the lake started a small fair type setting for children which offers small trampoline bungee jumping for kids, a raging bull for kids to ride on and have fun, and different types of bouncing castles. Sukhna lake has made sure it has something for everyone visiting, so next time you visit there is no need to beg your kids for a family trip, these fun activities will lure them in themselves.
Camel ride has been a part of Sukhna lake for a very long time now. Adults and children all can opt for a camel ride on the outskirt premises of the lake. Camel ride is always a kid’s pleaser, so keep this in mind for the next time you visit the lake and share the joy of this camel ride with your kids.
The lake along with all its glory of the most eye-pleasing sunrises and sunsets has some unexpected sights to offer.
- The suicide point: Initially a tower made to measure the level of water in the lake and study the water patterns, it soon came to be known as the suicide point. A few years back there were many cases when people jumped from this tower into the lake. Soon after the administration closed the tower for people to visit and it became just a photography spot for the tourists.
- The old peepal tree: There is a old big peepal tree on the shore of the lake which is considered to be one of the oldest trees in the city. The tree has been aged between 100-300 years which makes it even older than the city itself. It is safe to say that this tree holds all the memories of the making and development of this beautiful city. This tree is now a popular photography spot.
- Sukhna water dam: when you visit the lake make sure to walk to the far end of the lake to have look at the water regulator dam that is used to manage the water levels in the lake.
Sukhna lake is considered one of the biggest fitness hubs in the city. People from all over the city love to come here for their morning walks and sometimes rigorous exercise routines. People of all ages can be seen here running, walking, exercising, and the top-quality jogging tracks and bodyweight exercise equipment inspires people to do more. The tracks are so well maintained and smooth that you can witness kids skating here all day. The most usual mode of transport for people to reach the lake for their morning walk is a bicycle, during that time anywhere in the city you see cyclists they are either on their way to the lake or coming back. This is the time you can see the least car traffic on the adjoining road to the lake.
Lake sports complex
The prestigious lake sports club is a big part of the Sukhna lake experience. The lake club offers various sports like tennis, swimming, badminton to name a few. The lake sports complex is a part of the lake club which is a membership-based club and requires you to be a member to use all its facilities.
Visit the jungle behind the lake
The jungle behind the lake is one of the least talked about parts here. The jungle is most of the time open to the public with a proper path made to walk. Morning walkers go through the jungle right to the end of the lake adjoining the lake club. This jungle is a home to many migratory birds and people with cameras in their hands are seen here all the time. Reindeer is also one of the rare sightings in this jungle.
Visit the Nature Interpretation Centre
Nature interpretation centre is a very important part of the Sukhna lake. It is museum styled souvenir shop that showcases various elements of the lake. It shows the statue representation of migratory birds, animals & reptiles found in the jungle, and other natural occurrences in this beautiful lake. The adjoining souvenir shops sell some of the most rarely found souvenirs that represent this city. This is one of those wonderful parts of the lake that is rarely advertised but is most worth the attraction of tourists and other visitors.