In the madding din of the bustling city, we tend to look for places where we can destress ourselves, especially when hard-pressed to make it to a nearby hill station.
The all-pervading serenity and solitude of the spectacular Sukhna Lake comes to mind and intensifies the hidden wanderlust which eggs you on to waste no time and zoom off. And, if it happens to be Sunday, it’s a double delight as there are no official wrangles to hound you for a while. Folks, you need to be a tad choosy with the timing. Morning is the right time to visit this enigmatic lake and listen to the strains of divine music created by the soul-soothing ripples of the staid lake waters.
Known as the jewel of the City Beautiful, Sukhna Lake, the magnificent rain-fed water body, is barely two km from another wonderland – the iconic Rock Garden – which abounds in natural beauty and bounty to be savoured for hours should you have a whale of a time.
What adds to the beauty of this unique Lake is that it enjoys a captivating view, silhouetted against the Shivalik ranges making a perfect backdrop. What is so fascinating about this first-of-its-kind of lake is that those visiting never forget to view the glorious sunrise on a cloudless day, be it any season of the year.
“Whenever we come over to Chandigarh, Sukhna Lake is the one-stop favourite haunt among other places of interest dotting the City that we never forget to visit. What makes it all the more exciting is the glorious sunrise that we never miss watching here on our visit to this place offering a Midas’ Touch”, say Dr Pradip and Mamta, owners of Rahul clinic at Jeori in Shimla.
Created in 1958, the lake measures three sq km and is skirted by a thick green cover lending luminosity to the sylvan surrounds, which make it one of the most googled and one of the most happening places in the city. The walkway along the lake, the joggers’ track and the walkers’ kutcha track are lined up with grooves of ornamental and medicinal tree, including the royal palm, kachnar, amaltas, sitafal, satpatia, gulachin, putranjiva and peepal and mango trees. The cynosure of all eyes is the heritage 150-year-old peepal tree in the centre of the track.
As you walk past the historic tree, you are enthused to listen to the feathered friends singing sweet nothings perched precariously on the treetops. These avian neighbours are sure to make your trip musical.
The health freaks have a wonderful time doing some kinds of workouts or doing yogic ‘asanas’ and other aerobic exercises at a space earmarked for the purpose. They sweat it out unmindful of the space or time constraints, being a Sunday.
For those who wish to be in communion with the divine for a while, away from the jostling crowd of the lake promenade comprising people from all walks of life, there is a well carved-out Garden of Silence, offering a celestial spot to rewind and be yourself for a while, away from the honking horns and the cacophony of the door bells. An imposing statue of Lord Buddha in spotless white at the dead centre of the garden amidst concentric circular stairs made of flagstone, look spectacular and the Bougainvillea flower adding to the beauty of this place paradisiacal peace.
During the day
As you briskly enter the lake site through the well-maintained mini flower gardens, you see a beeline at the boating ticket counter. There are all kinds of small and big boats available for those interested in boating. While couples chose to go cruising in two-seater or four-seater pedal boats, others with families and friends opt for the jumbo-sized shikara. Wearing life jackets is mandatory for all though.
While food lovers have options to tickle their taste buds at food joints and eateries here offering them hot, tasty and tangy treats, the teeny-weeny guests visiting the spot, spend quality time at the amusement park, playing adventure games, enjoying a jaunty train and a camel ride, while they gorge on ice cream, ice candy and other goodies all the while.
Winged visitors’ winter sojourn
Thousands of winged guests from home and the faraway lands come calling when chill starts picking up and become harsh there, and make Sukhna Lake as their winter sojourn. They land in Chandigarh every year by mid-November from Siberia, Central Asia, China, Afghanistan and the upper Himalayas and their stay lasts till March or April.