Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Shivalik hills

Sukhna Lake  in Chandigarh, India is an artificial lake at the foothills of the Shivalik hills. This 3 km² rainfed lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills. Originally the seasonal flow entered the lake directly causing heavy siltation. To check the inflow of silt, 25.42 km² of land was acquired in the catchment area and put under vegetation.

In 1974, the Choe was diverted and made to bypass the lake completely, the lake being fed by three siltation pots, minimising the entry of silt into the lake itself.

The creation of the lake was one of the greatest gift from Le Corbusier and the Chief Engineer P L Verma to the city of Chandigarh. To preserve its tranquility Corbusier insisted that it be forbidden to motor boats and the top of the dam (promenade) prohibited to vehicular traffic. The lake is fringed by a golf course to the south, and Nek Chand’s famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh to its west.

Sukhna is an inseparable part of the city of Chandigarh. Le Corbusier had foreseen that the residents of the city would be drawn it for the ‘care of the body and spirit’. The city planners were deeply attached to the lake. So much so that Pierre Jeanneret’s ashes were immersed in the lake in 1970 as per his wishes by his niece.

The lake, which was the venue for the Asian Rowing Championships, has the longest channel for rowing and yachting events in Asia. It also has facilities for other water sports like water surfing, skiing and skulling.

Sukhna is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, Storks and Cranes, during the winter months. The lake has been declared as a protected national wetland by the Government of India.

During summers, there are streams of men, women and children from all walks of life offering voluntary service to desilt the lake bed for about three months. This annual ritual has been a regular feature since long ago.

Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations too. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons when scores of varieties of mangoes are on display. From time-to-time other food festivals, featuring specialities from different Indian States, are also held here, along with cultural performances.