15 Highest Lakes In India That Transform Into a Frozen Spectacle During Winters


The Himalayas are home to some the highest lakes in India, many of which are not even discovered. High altitudes do take a lot of effort to reach and explore, but the sight of these majestic high altitude lakes in India nestled between the snow covered mountains is a surreal sight that one has to experience to believe.

These lakes are pretty fascinating in summer, but in winters they freeze to make a completely magical landscape.

Check out the highest lakes in India to experience a frozen spectacle of a lifetime

Suraj Tal is a holy lake from where the Bhaga River originates. Bhaga River joins Chandra downstream in Tandi to make Chandrabhaga. Just below the Baralacha Pass at an altitude of 4890 m ASL, it is one of the highest lakes in India worth witnessing. Suraj Tal has a religious importance for locals of the area and is best seen at dawn as the sun is reflected beautifully on the surface of the lake.

Credits: Shilpa Balakrishnan

Photo of Suraj Tal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sreshti Verma

Situated at an altitude of 17,800 ft, Gurudongmar Lake is officially the highest lake in India. It is said that Guru Padmasambava, Indian Buddhist master, came to a village nearby and saw its people troubled because of the lack of fresh drinking water. He went to the lake, which was completely frozen and struck the ground, thawing a large area of the lake. Gurudongmar is revered as one of the 108 "Tso-Chen" of Sikkim where holy deities reside.

Photo of Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Sreshti Verma

At 17,480 ft, Tso Lhamo is a fresh water lake situated at close proximity to the Tibetan border. Tso Lhamo is another one of the afore mentioned 109 "Tso Chen" of Sikkim. This fresh water lake is the source of river Teesta and because it is so close to the border, you require an army-approved permit to enter.

Credits: Discover China

Photo of Cholamu Lake, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Sreshti Verma

Officially known as the Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve, this part of Ladakh is known as the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region. The unique variety of flora and fauna around the massive lake is now a reserve where the Indian Wildlife Association has set up base for research and study purposes. Tucked amidst the cold desert of Ladakh, this high altitude lake in India is a sheer spectacle to behold.

Credits: Graph Studio

Photo of Tso Moriri by Sreshti Verma

Situated en route to the hardcore trekking haven Sela Pass, Sela Lake is considered so beautiful that it is also called the Paradise Lake. This high altitude lake in the lower himalayas is also the source of many small rivers that flow out of the lake, making its water exceptionally pure and fresh.

Photo of Sela Lake by Sreshti Verma

Popularized by the Bollywood hit '3 Idiots', Pangong Tso has a sprawling length of 130 km and width of 70 km. When the lake freezes in winters, its hard ice surface becomes walkable for visitors travelling the distance to see this high altitude lake in the northern end of India.

Photo of Pangong Tso by Sreshti Verma

The mysterious lake of Roopkund is not an easy one to reach. A trek of two days takes you to this lake where you can find the bones of humans and animals at the bottom. It is believed that during the olden times the journey or yatra of a king and his consorts was hindered by the bad weather near Roopkund. Unable to find a shelter in the wilderness, they perished and the human bones at Roopkund are the only remaining traces of this narrative.

Photo of Roopkund Lake, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Sreshti Verma

Located at 12,000ft above sea level, Tsongo is not too far from Gangtok, which makes it a beautiful getaway to the hills for locals and tourists alike. But this high altitude lake in the north-eastern part of India has a unique and fascinating characteristic, which makes it important in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Due to natural reasons, the lake takes different colours during different seasons, and Buddhist monks prognosticate after studying the changing colours of the lake.

Photo of Tsongmo Lake, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Sreshti Verma

We've saved the best for the end. Dal Lake might as well be a geological monument given its characteristics and location, making it the most important lake in India. Surviving the city of Srinagar, this lake has become a part of the culture, history and future of Kashmiris. With floating gardens that feed the population, to a circumference decorated with historical buildings such as Hari Parbat, Shankaracharya Mandir, Hazratbal Dargah and Chashme Shahi, the Dal Lake stands as the last surviving symbol of secularism in Kashmir. The lake also serves as a flood lung of the life-giving Jhelum river that flows through the entire Kashmir valley. During severe winter, this lake freezes, and delivers its ice surface as a field for sports such as ice hockey.

Credits: Danish Ismail

Photo of Dal Lake by Sreshti Verma

Location: 65 km from Keylong and just below Baralacha La

How to reach: Take a cab or a Himachal Roadways bus from Manali.

Location: 190 km from Gangtok and just 5 km south of the China border.

How to reach: By road from Lachen via Thangu

Location: 190 km from Gangtok and just 3 km south of China border.

How to reach: By road from Lachen via Thangu

Location: 250 km from Leh and 230 km from Pangong Tso

How to reach: By road form Leh via Changtang.

Location: 78 km from Tawang and 340 km from Guwahati.

How to reach: By road from Tawang.

Location: 160 km from Leh.

How to reach: By road from Leh via Changla.

Location: 30 km trek from Lohajung to Roopkund.

How to reach: By road to Lohajung (222 km from Kathgodam), 30 km trek to the lake from Lohajung.

Location: 40km from Gangtok.

How to reach: By road via Nathula.

Location: 50km from Mandi

How to reach: By road, or trek 7km from Baggi Village.

Location: Srinagar

How to reach: Nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi (165 km). Srinagar International Airport is just 23 km away from Dal Lake.

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Did you enjoy reading about the highest lakes in India. Check out more such lists like 10 Incredible Waterfalls in India That are Absolutely Magical in The Rain!

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This spectacle of a lake sits tucked away towards the east of Rohtang Pass in Kullu Valley. The lake is named after the famous sage Maharshi Bhrigu, who meditated at this high altitude lake at 14,100ft above sea level. In the present days, it is a choicest destination for trekkers who wish to explore the pleasing isolated corners of the Himalayas.

Check out the Team Trek Trails's journey to Bhrigu Lake.

Image Credits: Team Trek Trails

Photo of Bhrigu Lake, Bashisht, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sreshti Verma

Along the trail of the lakes of Kashmir, lies one of the highest lakes in India called Gadsar Lake or the Yemsar Lake. It is also known as the 'lake of flowers' owing to the blossoming flowers along the route during the summer season. The name Gadsar in Kashmiri means the lake of fishes. The lake is named so because of the abundance of trout fish here.

Image Credits: Cajetan Barretto

Photo of Gadsar Lake by Sreshti Verma

The almond-shaped Tarsar Lake in the Kashmir Valley is yet another majestic spectacle on the Great Lakes Trek. The lake is separated from its twin waterbody Marsar by a mountain. The lakes are surrounded by the Kolahoi mountain. Located at 14,000ft of elevation, these twin lakes are some of the most stunning high altitude lakes in India that have become a haven for trekkers.

Image Credits: Irfanaru

Photo of Tarsar Lake by Sreshti Verma

Gangabal Lake is the one of the highest lakes in India and the hightest lake in the Kashmir Valley fed by surrounding majestic glaciers. It is an alpine high altitude lake that flows into the nearby Nundkol Lake, which is equally beautiful. The lake is located midway on the Kashmir Great Lakes trek that takes you on an exclusive trek around the lakes in the region.

Image Credits: Owais Mushtaq Zargar

Photo of Gangabal by Sreshti Verma

Named after the sage Prashar (father of Ved Vyas), Prashar Lake is said to be the place where the mighty sage meditated. In the 14th century, a pagoda was built by Raja Ban Sen, giving this isolated meditation spot religious and spiritual validation. Along with the beautiful lake, the specific area is also well known for the stunning panoramic view it gives of the entire valley.

Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sreshti Verma

Location: East of Rohtang Pass, 6km from Gulaba Village.

How to Reach: 2-day long trek to Bhrigu Lake starts from Vashishth Village in Manali.

Brahmatal, Uttarakhand

One of the high altitude lakes in the Garhwal-Kumaon Himalayas in India, Brahmatal is named after the Hindu God Brahma who is said to have meditated at this lake. The trek to the lake is a spectacular journey that gives an opportunity to witness Himalayan peaks such as Nanda Ghunti and Trishul from a close proximity.

Photo of 15 Highest Lakes In India That Transform Into a Frozen Spectacle During Winters by Sreshti Verma

Location: The trek to Brahmatal starts from Lohajung, which is the closest inhabited village.

How to reach: 4-day long snow trek to Brahmatal starts from Lohajung.

Located: The lake in located at the foothills of Mount Haramukh.

How To Reach: The Gangbal Lake is 45 kilometres from Srinagar by road, followed by a 15km trek that starts from Sonamarg.

Location: Aru Valley, Anantnag District, Jammu and Kashmir

How to Reach: Trek to Tarsar Marsar starts from Aru via Lidderwat and Shekwas.

Location: Ganderbal, Kashmir valley

How to reach: A 28km alpine trail that start from Naranag takes you to Gadsar Lake.

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