For the closest weekend getaway from Delhi (5hours drive)
The canvas of the sky was changing like waves of the sea. Predawn light had just appeared and morning opened her mouth for a long yawn. It was somewhere around 5 am when I reached there. The sun was getting ready for his usual job behind the mountain range and the lake water was creased and trembling as if someone under the blanket is half asleep and changing sides. All this was the daily morning ritual at that lake but it was like a new world for me.
Fishes were yawning widely and stretching their fins, turtles spread out their pawns to touch and check the temperature of the water before they come out of their underwater caves and mussels started peaking out of their shells to check if it’s already morning or they can sleep more. The entire water kingdom came alive with the first rays of the sun within seconds as if the frozen princess had called upon her magic and returned their lives. The trees around the lake looked at me with surprise and took their time to get accustomed to the creatures with limbs who can move.
Such is the scene of this lake which I am going to tell you about in this post.
Renuka Ji Lake is the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh with circumference of 3Km. Named after the Goddess ‘Renuka’ (Mother of Shri Parshuram), this lake is popular for the temple at its bank which holds an annual fair in November and attracts thousands of pilgrimage during fair time.
The flora around the lake is diverse and the wetland flourishes with evergreen trees. Ban on fishing activities due to holiness of lake has let the fishes grow in size and become friendly with humans. Sit by the lakeside, throw some bread crunches and the fishes will rush in to meet you. If you are lucky, a surprise visit from a turtle will be your bonus point.
State : Himachal
District : Sirmaur (border district connecting Himachal to Uttrakhand)
Height from Sea Level : 672m
How to Reach
Connectivity from Airports
Delhi – 300km ( 6hours drive)
Chandigarh – 140 km ( 3 hours)
Dehradun – 125 km (3.5 hours due to hill roads)
Taxis from all these airports/cities are easily available.
Delhi and Chandigarh have direct buses for Renuka Ji lake (schedule and details can be checked on HPRTC site https://online.hrtchp.com/
From Dehradun, you need to change the bus from Paonta Sahib which is 50km away from the lake.
Self Drive Route from Delhi
Delhi- Shahbad-Shahzadpur-Narayangarh-Renuka Ji
Delhi-Karnal-Shahzadpur-Narayangarh-Renuka Ji (RECOMMENDED)
Google map may show you via Shahbad but that road has a stretch with potholes, the best route is via Karnal. The difference of 20km is nullified by the smooth drive on Karnal highway till Ambala and from there you take right for the Narayangarh Highway which is also 4 lane drive.
Most of the drive road is planes, only the last 50 km stretch is the hilly road (after Kala Amb) but the road is in good condition and not steep.
Places to visit around
- Paonta Sahib Gurudwara – One of the important religious temple for Sikhs. It is 50km away from Renuka Ji (You can choose your return route as Renuka Ji – Paonta Sahib- Yamuna Nagar-Delhi totalling 300km)
- Haripurdhar – A less known hill station of Himachal with a height of 2500m which is higher than Shimla. Haripurdhar is 55km away from Renuka Ji but the narrow hilly road will take 2 hours to reach. Road to Haripurdhar is narrow and curvy but temperature drop makes it worthy
- Chakrata – A popular hill station in Uttrakhand is only 125 km away from Renuka Ji and is a must-visit if you have time
- Saketi Fossil Park – Located near Kala Amb, it’s a perfect place to halt and spend some time while driving back home
Things to do
Renuka Ji lake is one of the most popular lakes of Himachal Pradesh and a prime tourist attraction. Himachal Tourism has arranged various activities for families like
- Cycle Ride
- Swimming (only for trained swimmers)
- Nature walk
- Swings for children opposite to the lake
There are 4-5 hotels nearby Renuka Ji lake in the radius of 5kms. The Himachal Tourism(HPTDC) has a beautiful guest house opposite the lake.
- If you want to visit the lake and post that want to rest peacefully, then choose hotels away from the lake as the lake may attract crowd considering its popularity among locals
- If you wish to stay adjacent to the lake and would like to enjoy the lake view from the room window, then you should choose HPTDC property. This property has a beautiful lush green lawn with swings which is an ideal place for kids to play while you enjoy the beauty of nature
I chose to stay at Haripurdhar considering its height and my love for cold weather. If you can afford driving for another 3 hours, visit the lake and head towards Haripurdhar.
Note: Pre-book your stay as the hotels may remain full most of the time.
- Renuka Ji is a holy lake barring the fishing activity in or around the lake. The presence of the temple means no non-veg food in the HPTDC hotel/restaurant
- There are some shops present in the small market near the temple but they do not have any proper restaurant/Dhaba, you will find only a sweet shop and tea/coffee options available there
Note: Hotels away from the lake serves non-veg food on request
Summer: Renuka Ji a low height lake and in summers temperature may rise up to 35 degrees Celsius.
Monsoon: Sirmour district is known for its high rainfall. In peak season you may experience rain for the whole day. The boating is stopped during rain so you may miss the fun but if you are a rain lover. The music of raindrops on the surface of the lake water will become your most favourite memory. The lake is surrounded by hills that cover themselves with the green blanket in monsoon and the lake absorbs its colour and turns green presenting the best view.
Winters: No snowfall in this region makes the place comfortable and bearable cold in winters too
Few more clicks to showcase the beauty of this lake and areas around it :
All villages of the Himalayas are plastic-free.
I request you to keep the Mountains clean and green.
Some easy steps to keep Himalayas plastic-free :
- Reusable Water bottle/thermos – Freshwater is available in abundance and better than any packed mineral water bottle
- No Chips and Cold Drinks Please – These are the luxuries of cities, so let’s keep it in cities only. With the fresh air, enjoy the fresh snacks – fruits, salads, eggs, paneer snacks, pakodas.
Note: The garbage you throw in dustbins is not recycled on mountains but burnt due to fewer resources which anyways harm the ecology, so please carry them back to your city.
Let’s Leave only memories behind not garbage!