Sukhna Lake

Coordinates: 30°44′N 76°49′E / 30.733°N 76.817°E / 30.733; 76.817
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Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
View of Sukhna Lake
The lakeview in early morning, April 2006
Location of Sukhna Lake
Location of Sukhna Lake
Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Coordinates30°44′N 76°49′E / 30.733°N 76.817°E / 30.733; 76.817
Basin countriesIndia
Surface area3 km2 (1.2 sq mi)
Average depth8 ft (2.4 m)
Max. depth16 ft (4.9 m)

Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, India, is a reservoir at the foothills (Shivalik hills) of the Himalayas. This 3 km² rain fed lake was created in 1958 by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills. Originally, the seasonal flow entered the lake directly, causing heavy siltation. To check the inflow of silt, 25.42 km² of land was acquired in the catchment area and put under vegetation. In 1974, the Choe was diverted and made to bypass the lake completely, the lake being fed by three siltation pots, minimizing the silt into the lake itself.[1]


View of Sukhna Lake from the jogging track
Sunrise at the Sukhna Lake
Ducks at the lake

The lake was created by Le Corbusier and the Chief Engineer L Verma. To preserve its tranquillity, Corbusier insisted on two things: that it be forbidden for motorboats to circulate in the water, and for vehicular traffic to be prohibited on top of the dam (promenade). The lake is fringed by a golf course to the south, and Nek Chand's famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh to its west.

Local lore[edit]

Sukhna is an inseparable part of the city of Chandigarh. The city planners were deeply attached to the lake. So much so that Pierre Jeanneret's ashes were immersed in the lake in 1970 at his niece's request.

The roof of the 'bandh' or dam has become a favourite promenade. Serious walkers pursue an exercise regime, families enjoy an evening stroll and nature lovers mingle with children on roller skates. Photographers and painters love to capture the scenic beauty of the setting sun or the heavily used monsoon sky, or the early morning mist in winter set amidst the tranquillity of the lake. Even anglers do not leave unrewarded.

Sukhna has a membership-based Lake Club with lawns, a gym, indoor games, swimming pools (more than 4), and large tennis courts with both grass and synthetic courts. Boating,[2] rowing, sculling, sailing, kayaking, and water-skiing can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The lake, which was the venue for the Asian Rowing Championships, has the longest channel for rowing and yachting events in Asia.

Sukhna is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, storks and cranes, during the winter months. The lake has been declared a protected national wetland by the Government of India.

During summers, there are streams of men, women, and children, from all walks of life offering voluntary service to desilt the lake bed for about three months. This annual ritual has been a regular feature since long ago.

Sukhna Lake is the venue for many festive celebrations, too. The most popular is the Mango Festival held during the monsoons when scores of varieties of mangoes are on display. From time to time, time to time festivals featuring specialities from different Indian States are also held here, along with cultural performances.

Panorama of the Sukhna Lake in the morning

Development and maintenance[edit]

Sukhna Lake regulatory gate
Sukhna Lake regulatory end

The Mera Chandigarh administration has made a decision not to allow fish more than 30 cm in size in the Sukhna Lake[3]

The Chandigarh Administration has finalized a new plan for Sukhna Lake and New Lake in Sector 42 with Rs 2.73 crore which has also been received from Union Government.B.A.[4]


Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh

The lake is facing serious issues like weed overgrowth,[5] catchment adequacy[6] and silting[7] that are significantly shrinking its size and depth. A project team, under Parasu Ram Mishra, was deployed to address the issue and take remedial measures, which halted the sedimentation, for a while.[8] Additionally, it has become the subject of litigation between Chandigarh and Punjab.[9][10]

Silting has taken its toll and the volume of the lake has been reduced to 56% of its original. The lake is shrinking rapidly due to siltation and lack of inflow.[11] It was initially hoped that the work of desilting could be undertaken in summers at a war footing and dry dredging could be undertaken at a fraction of cost to save Sukhna in the coming years. Unfortunately, the ground realities seem to be different. Due to heavy rain in August and September, Sukhna was filled up again, and flood gates were being opened.[5][6][7][10][12]

Avian flu scare[edit]

In December 2014, there was an Avian Influenza—or commonly known as the Bird Flu scare —that led to a temporary ban on geese to take premises. The scare started after some migrant geese were found dead in the lake.

However, the administration took great precautions and the domesticated geese were culled to check an infection. Workers who culled the geese went for a check to be sure that they were safe. The reason behind the death of the geese—whether there is a bird flu scare —remains unknown.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yadvinder Singh (2002). "Siltation Problems in Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, NW India and Comments on Geohydrological Changes in the Yamuna-Satluj Region". ENVIS Bulletin. Department of Geography, Punjabi University, Patiala. 10 (2). Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
  2. ^ "21 things to do at Sukhna Lake Chandigarh". Chandigarh Metro. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ ([1] Sukhna Lake, New Lake Gets Fresh Union Fund for Development
  5. ^ a b "...but weeds refuse to go out, and panel is divided on means". 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  7. ^ a b "The Pioneer". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  8. ^ "A tribute to P R Mishra". India Environmental Portal, Government of India. 30 May 2001. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  9. ^ Archived 27 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  11. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  12. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Chandigarh Stories". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Bird flu scare spreads". The Hindu. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2015.

External links[edit]

Sukhna Lake Sukhna Lake Chandigarh