4.7 / 5

Mansar Lake
πŸ“ Mansar LakeView map β€Ί

πŸ—“ Best Time To Visit:March to October

⏰ Open Hours:Open 24 hours

🏞 Things To Do:Boating, Photography, Sightseeing, Picnicking

πŸ’° Budget:No entry fee, Boat rides: INR 100-300

🧳 Traveller Types:Family, Solo, Couples, Adventure Seekers

πŸ… Known For:Scenic beauty, Boating, Surinsar-Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary

πŸš‰ Distances:From Udhampur Railway Station: 28 km, From Jammu Airport: 62 km, From Jammu: 56 km

🚣 Boating:Available, Price range: INR 100-300

🌳 Surrounding:Surrounded by hills and dense forests

🐦 Wildlife:Home to a variety of birds and aquatic species

πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ Walking Path:A 1 km long walking path around the lake

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Mansar Lake: The Sacred and Scenic Jewel of Jammu

Have you ever heard of the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet, the highest freshwater lake in the world, which is revered by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs as a sacred and spiritual site? Well, did you know that there is another lake in India, which shares the same legend and sanctity as the Mansarovar Lake, but is much more accessible and affordable to visit? Yes, we are talking about the Mansar Lake in Jammu, which is a hidden gem of nature and culture that you must explore.

Mansar Lake is a beautiful and holy lake in Jammu, which is believed to be the abode of the serpent god Sheshnag, who also resides in the Mansarovar Lake. The lake is surrounded by lush green forests, colorful flowers, and majestic hills, creating a serene and picturesque scenery. The water of the lake is clear and calm, reflecting the blue sky and the white clouds. The sound of the birds, the breeze, and the bells of the temples fill the air with a soothing and spiritual ambiance.

In this article, we will explore the features, legends, rituals, festivals, attractions, and activities of the lake, as well as the nearby places that you can enjoy. Whether you are looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway, a cultural and religious experience, or an adventurous and fun-filled trip, Mansar Lake has something for everyone. So, let’s dive into the details and discover the magic of Mansar Lake.

Photo of Mansar Lake 1/2 by
(C) TOI

Features of Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is located about 62 km from Jammu city, on the Jammu-Pathankot highway. It is one of the largest lakes in the region, with a length of about 1 km and a width of about 0.5 km. The depth of the lake varies from 10 m to 15 m, depending on the season and the rainfall. The water quality of the lake is good, and it supports a variety of aquatic life, such as fish, turtles, and water snakes.

The lake is also home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, both on its banks and in the surrounding forests. You can find many species of trees, shrubs, herbs, and flowers, such as pine, deodar, eucalyptus, chinar, lotus, lily, and jasmine. The lake also attracts many birds, such as kingfishers, herons, ducks, geese, and parrots. The forests around the lake are part of the Mansar-Surinsar Wildlife Sanctuary, which hosts animals like deer, leopard, wild boar, monkey, and jackal.

Some facts and figures about the lake are:

- The elevation of the lake is about 662 m above sea level.

- The area of the lake is about 0.5 sq km.

- The average temperature of the lake is about 20Β°C in summer and about 10Β°C in winter.

Legends of Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is not only a natural wonder, but also a cultural and religious treasure. The lake is steeped in legends and myths, which add to its charm and mystique. The most famous legend of the lake is that of Sheshnag, the serpent god who is also known as the king of snakes. Sheshnag is believed to be the guardian and protector of the lake, and also the source of its water.

According to the legend, Sheshnag resides in both the Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and the Mansar Lake in Jammu, and he travels between the two lakes through an underground channel. The legend also says that Sheshnag created the Mansar Lake by digging the earth with his tail, and that he still lives in the lake in the form of a large turtle. The legend is so popular that the lake is also known as the Mansarovar of Jammu, as it shares the same story and significance as the famous lake in Tibet.

Some other myths and stories associated with the lake are:

The origin of the lake: It is said that the lake was created by the tears of a goddess, who was mourning the death of her husband, who was killed by a demon. The goddess cried so much that her tears filled the valley and formed the lake.

The curse of the Brahmin: It is said that a Brahmin, who was performing a ritual at the lake, was disturbed by a snake, who bit him and killed him. The Brahmin cursed the snake and the lake, and said that whoever sees the snake in the lake will die within a year. The snake was none other than Sheshnag, who was offended by the curse and decided to hide in the lake forever.

The appearance of the goddess: It is said that once, a group of pilgrims were performing a Parikrama (circumambulation) of the lake, when they saw a beautiful woman sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of the lake. The woman was none other than the goddess Mansa Devi, who is the daughter of Sheshnag and the sister of the snake god Vasuki. The goddess blessed the pilgrims and disappeared into the lake.

Rituals of Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is a place of worship and devotion, where many rituals and ceremonies are performed by the pilgrims and the locals. The lake is considered to be very holy and powerful, and it is believed that by performing the rituals, one can attain prosperity, health, and happiness. Some of the rituals and ceremonies that are performed at the lake are:

Mundan: Mundan is the shaving of the head, which is done by the parents of their children, especially boys, as a mark of gratitude and dedication to the gods. It is also done by some adults, who want to seek the blessings of the gods or to fulfill a vow. The Mundan is done at the banks of the lake, where there are special barbers and priests who perform the ritual. The hair is then offered to the lake as a sign of respect and surrender.

Parikrama: Parikrama is the circumambulation of the lake, which is done by the pilgrims and the locals, as a way of showing reverence and devotion to the lake and the gods. The Parikrama is done in a clockwise direction, and it takes about an hour to complete. The Parikrama is done by walking, or by taking a boat ride around the lake. It is believed that by doing the Parikrama, one can gain peace, wisdom, and success.

Pooja: Pooja is the worship of the deities, who are present in the form of temples and shrines around the lake. The Pooja is done by offering flowers, fruits, sweets, incense, and money to the idols and the priests, who chant mantras and bless the devotees. The Pooja is done to express gratitude, to seek protection, and to ask for favors from the gods. Some of the temples and shrines that are located around the lake are:

Sheeshnag Temple: This is the main temple of the lake, which is dedicated to Sheshnag, the serpent god who lives in the lake. The temple is located on the eastern bank of the lake, and it has a black stone idol of Sheshnag, which is adorned with silver ornaments and a crown. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees, who worship Sheshnag and offer him milk, honey, and eggs.

Durga Temple: This is a temple of the goddess Durga, who is the consort of Shiva and the mother of the universe. The temple is located on the western bank of the lake, and it has a white marble idol of Durga, who is depicted with eight arms and riding a lion. The temple is visited by many devotees, who worship Durga and offer her flowers, coconuts, and red chunri (scarf).

Umapati Mahadev Temple: This is a temple of the god Shiva, who is the destroyer of evil and the lord of the yogis. The temple is located on the southern bank of the lake, and it has a lingam (phallic symbol) of Shiva, which is covered with a silver sheet and a snake. The temple is visited by many devotees, who worship Shiva and offer him milk, water, and bael leaves.

Festivals of Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is a place of celebration and joy, where many festivals and events are celebrated by the pilgrims and the locals. The lake is a hub of culture and tradition, and it showcases the diversity and richness of the Jammu region. Some of the festivals and events that are celebrated at the lake are:

-Baisakhi Mela: This is the most popular and grand festival of the lake, which is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April every year. Baisakhi is the harvest festival of the Sikhs, and it also marks the beginning of the Hindu solar year. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor, and it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country. The festival features cultural programs, folk dances, boat races, and handicraft stalls. The highlight of the festival is the Nagar Kirtan, which is a procession of the holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, which is carried on a decorated palanquin around the lake.

- Food and Craft Mela: This is a unique and delightful event of the lake, which is organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department in collaboration with the local artisans and chefs. The event is held in the month of October or November, and it showcases the culinary and artistic skills of the Jammu region. The event offers a variety of delicious and authentic dishes, such as Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo, Kahwa, and Kalari. The event also displays a range of beautiful and exquisite handicrafts, such as Pashmina, Phulkari, Papier Mache, and Wood Carving.

- Nag Panchami: This is a religious and auspicious festival of the lake, which is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Shravan, which falls in July or August. Nag Panchami is the festival of snakes, and it is dedicated to the worship of Sheshnag and other snake gods. The festival is celebrated by offering milk, honey, and eggs to the snakes, and by performing Pooja at the Sheeshnag Temple. It is believed that by celebrating the festival, one can appease the snakes and avoid their wrath.

Photo of Mansar Lake 2/2 by
(C) Google

Attractions and Activities of Mansar Lake

Mansar Lake is not only a place of nature and culture, but also a place of adventure and fun. The lake offers a variety of attractions and activities that can be enjoyed by the visitors, both on the lake and around the lake. Some of the attractions and activities that can be enjoyed at the lake are:

Surinsar Lake: Surinsar Lake is a smaller and quieter lake, which is located about 9 km from Mansar Lake. The lake is connected to Mansar Lake by an underground channel, and it is also considered to be sacred and beautiful. The lake is surrounded by dense forests and hills, and it has a calm and serene atmosphere. The lake is ideal for birdwatching, boating, and camping, and it also has a temple of the goddess Durga on its bank.

Mansar-Surinsar Wildlife Sanctuary: Mansar-Surinsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area that covers the forests around Mansar Lake and Surinsar Lake. The sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, birds, and plants, and it offers a chance to experience the wilderness and biodiversity of the region. The sanctuary is open from sunrise to sunset, and it has a nominal entry fee. The sanctuary also has some watchtowers and trails, where you can spot and observe the wildlife.

Boating: Boating is one of the most popular and enjoyable activities at Mansar Lake, which allows you to explore the lake and its surroundings. The lake has a boating point, where you can rent paddle boats or row boats, and take a ride around the lake. The boating is open from 9 am to 6 pm, and it costs Rs. 100 per person for 30 minutes. The boating is a fun and relaxing way to admire the beauty and tranquility of the lake, and to see the temples and the wildlife on its banks.

Trekking: Trekking is another exciting and adventurous activity at Mansar Lake, which lets you discover the hills and the forests around the lake. The lake has some trekking routes, which range from easy to moderate in difficulty, and which offer scenic views and challenges. The trekking is open from sunrise to sunset, and it is free of cost. The trekking is a great way to experience the nature and the culture of the region, and to see the flora and fauna of the sanctuary.

Best time to visit Mansar Lake: The best time to visit Mansar Lake is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and the lake is full of water and life. The lake is also beautiful in April, when the Baisakhi Mela is celebrated, and in July or August, when the Nag Panchami is celebrated.

Important tips or rules for visiting Mansar Lake:

- Respect the sanctity and the cleanliness of the lake and the temples, and do not litter or pollute the water or the land.

- Follow the instructions and the guidelines of the authorities and the guides, and do not venture into restricted or dangerous areas.

- Be careful and cautious of the wildlife, and do not disturb or harm them.

- Carry enough water, food, and clothing, and be prepared for any weather changes or emergencies.

Places nearby Mansar Lake: Some of the places nearby Mansar Lake that you can also visit are:

Jammu: Jammu is the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and it is a city of history, culture, and religion. Jammu is famous for its temples, forts, palaces, and museums, and it is also the gateway to the Vaishno Devi shrine and the Kashmir valley.

Katra: Katra is a small town, which is the base camp for the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage. Vaishno Devi is one of the most revered and visited Hindu shrines, which is located on a hilltop, about 14 km from Katra. Katra is also a popular tourist destination, which offers many hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as some attractions and activities, such as the helicopter ride, the cable car, and the Shivkhori cave.

Patnitop: Patnitop is a hill station, which is located about 112 km from Mansar Lake. Patnitop is a scenic and serene place, which offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas and the Chenab river. Patnitop is also a hub of adventure and sports, which offers activities such as skiing, paragliding, trekking, and camping.

Conclusion

Mansar Lake is a place of wonder and worship, where you can experience the beauty and the spirituality of nature and culture. Mansar Lake is a place of joy and adventure, where you can enjoy the attractions and the activities of the lake and its surroundings. Mansar Lake is a place of peace and harmony, where you can connect with yourself and with the divine.

Mansar Lake Reviews

Mansar Lake in Jammu is a very popular excursion destination and the its history goes back to the time of Mahabharata. Circumambulations(parikarma)of the lake by couples, especially newlyweds, is considered to be extremely propitious. They hope to please and seek the blessings of Sheshnag, the lord of serpents. On the eastern bank of the lake, there's also a shrine dedicated to Sheshnag. The Tourism Department also provides sufficient facilities for boating at the lake.
Mansar Lakeis about 80 km from Jammu city. It is one of the most beautiful and most visited places near Jammu due to it's beauty. It is surrounded by forest and hills and there are direct bus facilities available from Jammu to the lake. Many people believe that taking a dip in this lake vanishes or purifies the sins of a person. Boating is bliss here. You will love the ambience here.
Photos of Mansar Lake
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