Oligotrophic lakes in India and where to find them

Precious Rongmei, TIMESOFINDIA.COM, ADVENTURE, JAMMU AND KASHMIR Created : Jun 23, 2022, 12:43 IST

Oligotrophic lakes in India and where to find themCredit: iStock
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Oligotrophic lakes in India and where to find them

For those wondering, an oligotrophic lake is the one with low nutrient content in the water, which means very less aquatic plants and algae. Do you know what that gives us? An unbelievably clean and clear water, or as what we like to call ‘Insta-worthy’. And lucky for us, India has some of the best oligotrophic lakes one can find. Jammu and Kashmir is home to some of these picture-perfect natural lakes. These natural lakes mostly occur in the high altitude regions, far away from a lot of human disturbances (read pollution). A lot of these lakes are considered sacred by the locals, so their cleanliness is looked after by the locals.


Here are India’s best oligotrophic lakes and where you can find them.


Gadsar LakeCredit: iStock
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Gadsar Lake

About 8 km away from Sonmarg is Gadsar Lake, which is one of the most scenic and popular lakes in Jammu and Kashmir. Gadsar Lake is seasonal, so the best time to visit this lake would be between June and September, when the lake is at its best. As is common in almost all oligotrophic lakes, fishes here are mostly big. You won’t find a lot of different species of fishes in these lakes, but whatever is there, is every angler’s dream.

Nund KolCredit: iStock
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Nund Kol

The Nund Kol Lake also goes by two other names – Nandi Kund and Kalodaka Lake. It is one of the most sacred lakes in India, especially for the Hindus. This alpine lake is stunning during the summer season as alpine flowers start to bloom all around it. You can also do angling here, provided you have an angling license.

Tso MoririCredit: iStock
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Tso Moriri

When translated, Tso Moriri means ‘Mountain Lake’. Located in the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, the lake is a part of the Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve, meaning, it is an ecologically important site. Tso Moriri is the largest high-altitude lake in India which is also oligotrophic in nature. The lake surprisingly supports a large number of birds and animals. Birds, most of them are migratory in nature and some of them like the black-necked cranes, are endangered.

Pangong LakeCredit: iStock
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Pangong Lake

The most popular lake on the block, the Pangong Lake. This lake is on everybody’s wishlist and for good reason, it is just a very scenic lake. But did you also know that it is one of the important bird areas in India? Apart from the fact that Pangong is a protected area due to military reasons, it is also a sensitive wildlife zone, as it supports a number of migratory and endangered bird populations, and a number of endemic fauna.

Tarsar Lake and Marsar LakeCredit: iStock
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Tarsar Lake and Marsar Lake

These oligotrophic alpine lakes are also known as twin sisters. Not because they are located next to each other, but because of the same oligotrophic nature which they share. The only thing that divides these two lakes is a mountain. These two lakes turn icy during winter and in summer, a very pretty location with wildflowers aplenty. Migratory birds come here to breed which is why these two lakes are best undisturbed and left as it is–pristine and with very less human encroachment.

Sheshnag<a rel="nofollow" href="#"> Photo by:</a>  Akhilesh Dasgupta, <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">Creative Commons Attribution Licence</a>
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Sheshnag

This high-altitude lake is located in the Anantnag district of Kashmir Valley. It is an important lake for the Hindus as it lies on the way to Amarnath Cave near Pahalgam. Those who come for the Amarnath Yatra also take out time for this beautiful lake.

Gangabal<a rel="nofollow" href="#"> Photo by:</a>  Owais Mushtaq Zargar, <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en">Creative Commons Attribution Licence</a>
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Gangabal

While we are speaking of sacred lakes, we can’t leave Gangabal Lake out. It is also known as Harmukh Ganga. The lake is sacred to the Hindus as it is believed to be one of the homes of Lord Shiva. There is an annual pilgrimage called Harmukh-Gangabal Yatra that is taken by many Kashmiri Hindus.

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