Renuka Lake, Himachal Pradesh
|Location||Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh|
|Lake type||Low altitude lake|
|Shore length1||3,214 m (10,545 ft)|
|Surface elevation||672 m (2,205 ft)|
|Official name||Renuka Wetland|
|Designated||8 November 2005|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Renuka lake is in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh in India and it is 672 m above the sea level. It is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh, with a circumference of about 3214 m. This lake was named after the goddess Renuka. It is well connected by the road. Boating is available on the lake. A lion safari and a zoo are there at Renuka. It is the site of an annual fair held in November. It is designated as Ramsar site since November 2005. Renuka was the mother of Parshuram.
- Distance from Parwanoo: 123 km.
- Distance from Paonta Sahib: via Sataun 51 km
- Distance from Nahan: 38 km.
History of Renuka Fair
On the eve of Prabodhini Ekadashi, the Five day long International level Shri Renuka Ji fair begins with the arrival of son Lord Parshuram at Shri Renuka Ji the Lake in Himachal, the home of his divine mother Shri Renuka Ji. During five day fair several lakhs of devotees from all over the country arrives here to witness the holy occasion of divine meeting of Lord Parshum &his mother Renuka Ji .
According to Puranas, the Renuka Tirth is considered as birthplace of Lord Parshuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Maharish Jamdagni and his wife Bhagwati Renuka Ji had meditated for long time at a hillock known as Tape Ka Tiba near Renuka lake. With the blessings of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu fulfilled divine promise and took birth as their son. Sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and son of Renuka Ji pleased Lord Shiva with the performation of Tapa [high intensity meditation] got a new name Parshuram after getting divine weapon Parshu from Lord Shiva. He has been referred every where in the Shashtras with the popular name Parshuram and not his childhood name Ram [as per Brahmand Puran], which he got from his parents.
He always supported the cause of good governance where worries of every citizen are addressed judiciously by the rulers. To get people rid of atrocities of cruel rulers Lord Parshuram eliminated 21 times, cruel and atrocious rulers from the earth. He also killed King Sahastrabahu and his Army as King had attacked Tape ka Tiba Ashram in his absence, to get the Kamdhenu cow from Maharishi. After Maharishi pleaded that the Kamdhenu Cow was given him by Lord Indra in trust and he can not breach the trust by passing it to someone else. Shastrabahu killed Maharishi Jamdagni. Lord Parshurams mother Bhagwati Renuka Ji jumped in the Ram Sarovar and took Jal Samadhi. Purans narrates that Ram Sarovar immediately took the shape of a lady and since then it is known as Renuka Ji Lake.
After eliminating Sahashtrabahu in fierce battle he gave a new life to his father with his divine powers and came on the bank of the Lake and prayed his mother to come out of the Lake. Mother responded to his prayers and lord vowed in her feet. She said that she will permanently live in the Lake, but on the request of Lord Parshuram she promised that she will come out of the Lake on the occasion of Devprabodhini Ekadashi every year to meet her son. Bhagwati also promised that people gracing this pious occasion of mothers affection and sons devotion, would be showered with divine blessings .
One day advance, on Dashmi the palanquin of Lord Parshuram is brought to Renuka Ji from the ancient temple in Jamu Koti village in traditional procession known a ‘Shobha Yatra’, attended by lakhs of devotees.
Saints from every part of country come at Renuka Ji to witness holy and divine assembly of mother and son. The administration has made all the necessary arrangements for peaceful holding the fair. Elaborate security arrangements are made keeping view on terrorist activities.
The sanctuary is situated in Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh. The sanctuary is well connected by the network of motorable roads. The total area of the sanctuary is about 4.028 km². The entire sanctuary consists of Renuka Reserve Forest and has been declared as Abhayaranya. An area of roughly about 3 km² that lies outside the sanctuary has been declared as a buffer belt.
The sanctuary falls in the biogeographical zone IV and biogeographical province IV as per the classification done by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). According to forest types classification, the area falls under group 5B/C2, i.e., dry mixed deciduous forest and group 5/051, i.e., dry sal forest.
The lake is threatened by continuously shrinking size. The silt which is being deposited in the lake is causing a worry to the locals and the administration. The main cause of this is the soil being deposited on the banks, with the rain water and landslides in the nearby mountains. Also the waste of construction material is being dumped into the lake for years, which is a big threat to the environment. Administration and Renuka Vikas Smiti is trying its best to protect the lake. Plastic bags are banned in the entire region.
If correct steps are not taken to save the lake timely, it will affect environment and also the business of the locals, which depends upon tourism, attracted by the lake.
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