This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Although situated in the lap of mountains but green fields are extended to the area till the point your eyes can see. In mountains we expect curve roads and forests but once you enter this place all you will see is never ending lush green fields on both sides of your way as if you are on plains. Yes that’s Pong Dam Lake in Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Specialty of this place:
It is a heaven for photographers interested in capturing birds. This place was declared as bird sanctuary when it was noticed that it is home to a variety of birds that migrate and find their shelters here every winters. It is a 5 Kilometer area serving nature at its best to visitors. People generally visit this place during November to March to get glimpse of beautiful birds.
The birds that migrate include bar headed geese, Anserindicus, northern lapwing, ruddy shelduck, northern pin tail, common teal, spot-billed duck, Eurasian coot, red-necked grebe, black-headed gulls, plovers, black stork, terns, water-fowl and egrets.
How to reach this place:
This place is around 250 Kilometers from Chandigarh. I stay in Chandigarh, so I just took a Volvo Bus to Dharamshala. After reaching Mclodganj, Dharamshala, just take a taxi to Pong Dam (around 60 Kilometers from Dharamshala; 2 hours journey).
Taxi Route from Mclodganj looks like this- Mclodganj to Gaggal to Tiyari Lunj to Surya Nagrota to Pong Dam
If you are in Amritsar, you are just 110 Kilometers away from the place.
The closest Airports to this place are Pathankot and Gaggal.
The nearest Railway Stations are Mukerian(30 km from Pong Dam) and Pathankot (32 km from Pong Dam).
My Visit to Pong Dam:
So although I knew that the best time to visit this place is during winters and I will find no birds during rains, I visited this place during Monsoon. I went there just to see how it looks like when nobody prefers to come here. And that was the best thing I did.
It was Month of July that made this place beautiful and vibrant. Yes, because of rains, the grass around in the field grew and turned greener as well as brighter. The lake was filled with rain water. When I reached, there were no tourists there, not even one. All I could see were a few tents. When I inquired I got to know that they are people from a village 30 Kilometers away from the Pong Dam Lake. They told me that they come to this place every monsoon with their animals. “Yes, this is the time when there are no people around and it is like a vacation for our animals. The animals just rest in the soothing water of the lake and enjoy green meals”…hahaha…said one of them.
Actually this is the time when they bring their horses, foals, buffaloes to the fields for a month so that animals can turn healthy as the fields have endless green fresh grass.
This is an absolutely good time for visitors to be here if you are a nature lover and wish to spend few moments of solitude. Never in my life I have ever seen around 3000 Buffaloes coming out of the waters together (may sound funny but visually it was a moment to hold on and just see). My eyes were just praising the beauty of this universe with every passing moment. There were many horses with little foals grazing the field.There were a few boats at the lake side, birds flying here and there, lush green fields, clean blue water of the lake…That was the best thing one can encounter. Indeed.