Sukhna Lake

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Sukhna Lake Chandigarh

Sukhna Lake (Hindi: सढ़ढ़खना) a manmade picturesque lake in Chandigarh, India at the foothills of the Shivalik hills which is an idyllic place for a quiet communion with nature which offers water sports activities such as boating, yachting, water skiing, etc.


The creation of the lake was one of the greatest gifts from Le Corbusier [1] and the Chief Engineer P L Verma to the city of Chandigarh. To preserve its tranquility Le Corbusier insisted that the use of motor boats be forbidden and that the promenade across the top of the dam remain closed to vehicular traffic. The Lake is fringed by a golf course to the south, and of course Nek Chand's [2] now famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh to its west.

The Sukhna is an inseparable part of the city of Chandigarh. Le Corbusier had foreseen that the residents of the city would be drawn to the lake for the 'care of the body and spirit'. Today the planners of the city would be thrilled to find that their inclusion of this beautiful lake in Chandigarh's plans has extended its attraction well beyond its boundaries. The city's planners were deeply attached to the lake. So much so that the ashes of Pierre Jeanneret, the cousin of Le Corbusier, who was responsible for much of Chandigarh's civic architecture and also served as the city's Chief Architect for a while, were flown from Geneva and scattered in the city's lake in 1970, as per his wishes, by his niece.


This 3 km² rainfed 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, land measuring 25.42 km² was acquired in the catchment area and put under vegetation. In 1974, the Choe was diverted and made to bye-pass the lake completely, the lake being fed by three siltation pots, minimising the entry of silt into the lake itself.

Close to Nature

The elegantly landscaped Lake Promenade at the top of the 'bund' 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 - to partake of this extraordinary amenity. Photographers and painters love to capture its scenic beauty against the background of the setting sun, the heavily clouded monsoon sky or the early morning mist in winter set amidst the tranquility of the lake. Even anglers do not leave unrewarded.

The curvilinear profile of the promenade along the banks of the Sukhna hums with activity from dawn to dusk, reflecting the changing moods of the day. As the golden hue of the dawn shimmers through its placid waters, a stream of joggers hurry along to savour the fresh morning air.

Others amble on the dew-wet grass as children frolic around, while a few others take time to meditate in tranquility. On weekends in winter, one can hear the melodious strains of the flute or classical renderings by famous musicians on its banks. As the sun's golden orb emerges brightly over the Shivalik hills, the morning crowd recedes and groups of students arrive to browse through their books under the shady trees. The afternoon attracts families on picnic and, perhaps, a siesta to complete their foray into the lap of nature.


The evenings see the Sukhna again coming alive with tourists, and families thronging the promenade, the Chef Lakeview, Citco's fast food joint, shops and of course the jetty for a boat ride. For children there are a number of joy-rides and a mini train. As night descends, the lights from the hill resort of Kasauli reflect in the lake and present a bewitching sight.

Lake Sukhna has a membership based Lake Club with open lawns, a gym, indoor games, a swimming pool and tennis courts with both synthetic and grass courts. Boating, 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. It also has facilities for other water sports like water surfing, skiing and skulling.

Migratory Birds

The 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 as a protected national wetland by the Government of India.

Voluntary Desilting

People of Chandigarh love the Sukhna. 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 for a long time.


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 other food festivals, featuring specialities from different Indian States, are also held here along with cultural performances.