Sambhar Salt Lake

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Sambhar Lake
Lake Sambhar.jpg
LocationRajasthan, India
Coordinates26°58′N 75°05′E / 26.967°N 75.083°E / 26.967; 75.083Coordinates: 26°58′N 75°05′E / 26.967°N 75.083°E / 26.967; 75.083
TypeSalt lake
Catchment area5,700 km2 (2,200 sq mi)
Basin countriesIndia
Max. length35.5 km (22.1 mi)
Max. width3 to 11 km (1.9 to 6.8 mi)
Surface area190 to 230 km2 (73 to 89 sq mi)
Average depth0.6 to 3 m (2.0 to 9.8 ft)
Max. depth3 m (9.8 ft)
Surface elevation360 m (1,180 ft)
SettlementsSambhar Lake Town, Jabdinagar, Govindi, Gudha, Jhak, Nawa, Jhopak, Ulana.
Official nameSambhar Lake
Designated23 March 1990
Reference no.464[1]

The Sambhar Salt Lake, India's largest inland salt lake, is located 80 km southwest of the city of Jaipur (Northwest India) and 64 km northeast of Ajmer along National Highway 8 ( NH-8 , RJ SH 57 ) , Rajasthan. it surrounds the historical Sambhar Lake Town.


Satellite image of Sambhar Salt Lake taken in 2010, from WorldWind.

The lake receives water from five rivers Medtha, Samaod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari and Khandela. Lake has 5700 square km catchment area.[2] The lake is an extensive saline wetland, with water depth fluctuating from as few as 60 centimetres (24 in) during the dry season to about 3 meters (10 ft) at the end of the monsoon season. It occupies an area of 190 to 230 square kilometers based on the season. The lake is elliptically shaped with a length of approximately 35.5 km and a breadth varying between 3 km and 11 km. The lake straddles Nagaur and Jaipur districts and borders on the Ajmer district. The circumference of the lake is 96 km, and it is surrounded by the Aravali hills on all sides.

The Sambhar lake basin is divided by a 5.1 km long dam made of sandstone. After the salt water reaches a certain concentration, it is released from the west side to the east side by lifting dam gates. To the east of the dam are salt evaporation ponds where salt has been farmed for a thousand years. This eastern area is 80 square km and comprises salt reservoirs, canals and salt pans separated by narrow ridges. To the east of the dam is also a railroad, built by the British (before India’s independence) to provide access from Sambhar Lake City to the salt works.

The nearest airport is the Jaipur International Airport and the nearest railway station is Sambhar Station.

The water is fed into the lake from streams from the rivers Mendha, Runpangarh, Khandel and Karian. The Mendha and Rupangarh are main streams. The Mendha flows from north to south and the Rupangarh flows from south to north.

Temperatures reach 40° Celsius in summer and go as low as 10° Celsius in winter.

Economic importance[edit]

Sambhar Salt Lake is India's largest saline lake and is the source of most of Rajasthan's salt production. It produces 196,000 tonnes of clean salt every year, which is around 9% of India's salt production.[citation needed] Salt is produced by evaporation of brine and is mostly managed by Sambhar Salts Ltd.(SSL), a joint venture of the Hindustan Salts Ltd. [1] and the state government. SSL owns 3% of the eastern lake.

Tourism and commercial activities on Shakambari Jheel which is the major part of Sambhar salt lake is no longer managed by Shambar Salts Ltd.(SSL), who have signed an agreement with a private company in Jaipur. Shambar Salts Ltd.(SSL) has sold all commercial and tourism rights to this company. One can no longer camp, photograph or organise any activity without prepayment of fees to this company.

There are 38 clusters of villages surrounding the lake. Major settlements include Sambhar , Gudha, Jabdinagar, Nawa, Jhak, Korsina, Jhapok, Kanseda, Kuni, Tyoda, Govindi, Nandha, Sinodiya, Arwik ki dhani, Khanadja, Khakharki, Kerwa ki dhani, Rajas, Jalwali ki dhani.

Ecological importance[edit]

Sambhar has been designated as a Ramsar site (recognized wetland of international importance) because the wetland is a key wintering area for tens of thousands of pink flamingos and other birds that migrate from northern Asia and siberia. The specialized algae and bacteria growing in the lake provide striking water colours and support the lake ecology that, in turn, sustains the migrating waterfowl. There is other wildlife in the nearby forests, where Nilgai move freely along with deer and foxes.

The salt (NaCl) concentration in this lake water differs from season to season. The salt concentration in the pans Kyars varies and, accordingly, the color of the brine ranges from green, orange, pink, purple pink, red due to the bloom of haloalkaliphilic microorganisms. The first haloalakiliphilic archaeon isolated from this lake was Natrilaba SSL1 (earlier designated as Natronobacterium SSL1 ATCC 43988 by Upasani and Desai (1990). More recently, haloalkaliphilic microalgae namely Dunaliella, Euhalothece, Nitzchia, etc. have also been isolated (Bhatt H. H.and Upasani V. N., 2016). The archaeal isolates can be source of haloalakiphilic enzymes for biotechnological applications.

Mythology and Movies shot[edit]

The Indian epic Mahabharata mentions the Sambhar Lake as a part of the kingdom of the demon king Vrishparva, as the place where his priest Sukracharya lived, and as the place where the wedding between his daughter, Devayani, and King Yayati took place.[citation needed] A temple near the lake is dedicated to Devayani.

The legend has it that Shakambhari Devi, the tutelary goddess of Chauhan Rajputs and the consort of Lord Shiva, converted a dense forest into a plain of silver as payment for some service. Subsequently, at the request of the inhabitants who dreaded the greed and strife that such a possession would beget, she transformed the silver plain into a lake. The name of the lake, Sambhar, stems from a variation Shakambhari, which happened around the sixth century.[3] Another temple near the lake shore is dedicated to Shakambhari Devi.

In 1884, ancient sculpture art was discovered in the area as part of small-scale excavation work done in Sambhar Lake. During that excavation, some terracotta structures, coins and seals were found along with a clay stupa. Sambhar sculpture art appears to be influenced by buddhism. Later on, around 1934, a large scale systematic and scientific excavation was conducted in which a large number of terracotta figurines, stoneware, and decorated discs were found. A number of these sculptures from Sambhar are present at the Albert Hall Museum.



For film Delhi-6 directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, production designer Samir Chanda, recreated inner lanes of Old Delhi at Sambhar . Later for certain scenes, historic Jama Masjid was digitally added to the frame as a backdrop. Certain scenes of many other popular films have been shot in Sambhar, such as:

Songs Shot : -

  • DJ Wale Babu - Badshah (rapper)
  • Car Me Music Baja - Neha Kakkar
  • Mar Gaye Meet Gaye Lut Gaye- Hans Raj Hans
  • LAHORE - Guru Randhawa
  • On the 68th Republic Day of the INDIA , Nissan GT-R created WORLD RECORD in Limca Book of Records by making the largest outline of the map of INDIA - saluting the land where legends are born and bred. It recreated the approximate outline of Indian map spanning 3km in length and 2.8km in width with a total outline periphery of 14.7km- at SAMBHAR LAKE in Rajasthan.[3]


Public Interest Litigation No. 108 of 2013 filed by Naresh Kadyan at the Supreme court of India about bore well mafia, illegal encroachments around Sambhar lake - Wetland of Rajasthan -

  • "Ashok Kumar Jain, "Conservation Planning of Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan using Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS", Andhra University thesis (2005). Indian Institute of Remote Sensing" (PDF). 5.10 MiB