Wednesday 2 January 2013

Sambhar Lake

Sambhar Lake is located in the Jaipur and Nagaur districts of the state of Rajasthan and is the largest inland salt lake of India. It spreads over approximately 230 square kms with a circumference of nearly 100 kms. It is also a designated Ramsar Site is a wetland area of international importance especially as a waterfowl habitat.

It is due to this reason that I decided to go in winters as this area is a heaven for migratory birds from northern Asia when they come here in huge numbers from October to March each year.


Sambhar town is located about 100 kms from Jaipur. It took me nearly eight hours to reach (including breaks) due to the fact that Delhi- Jaipur National Highways nowadays in a complete mess due to the six laning project.


I stayed in the Sambhar Salt Works Circuit House which gives a wide angle view of the whole area as it is located at a height. But I would write about the Circuit House in another post.


The best time to see the birds and other wild life activity is the morning period as they are more active at this time therefore I ventured out before the dawn the next day.

A huge Banyan tree

Besides the migratory birds I was also able to see lots of pheasants, peafowls and peahens as well as several Nilgais. Nilgai is the biggest antelope that can be found on the Indian sub continent.

Nilgai giving a pose

The waterfowls and various kind of migratory ducks were in abundant numbers. The area is dotted with water bodies and some bodies have abundance of one variety whereas the other water bodies were home to other varieties.


Besides the waterfowls I was able to spot a few Indian Pond Herons as well.

A nesting Pond Heron 

Picture perfect

A paradise for birdwatchers

The area is also host to vast number of flamingos but they will not come near the human habitations and prefer the bigger water bodies which are surrounded by marsh land. Due to this one cannot go too near to view them properly. One can only make out flocks of them but cannot see them clearly with naked eyes so it is advisable to carry powerful binoculars and telephoto lenses.

Dried up part of the lake

I took my car on the dried part of the lake as far as possible before the marsh prevented me to go further. In the photo above the car can be seen on the lake bed with the Sakhambari temple and the cenotaph on the hill in the background.

Marsh land in front and the lake shimmering in the background 

To move around it is essential that you have a vehicle as the area is vast as for example the distance from the town to the Sakhambari temple is about 22 kms. Also one should avoid cars like Honda City which has very low clearance from the ground. As I knew that I can expect rough roads in the interiors of Rajasthan therefore I took the Swift for the journey.

Shakambari Temple at Sambhar

The Sakhambari temple does not receive many visitors on a normal day. It seems that only during the fair large number of people come and visit. I was the only visitor, for example, on the day I reached there. Like so many other temples in India, the vicinity has not been kept clean as one can see polythene packs lying around the temple area as well as in the small temple baoli (water reservoir).

Sakhambari Cenotaph

The cenotaph on the hill above the Sakhambari temple is an excellent spot to view the area far and wide. The trees in the photo below look like patches of grass as the photo was taken from above.

View from the cenotaph of the Sakhambari temple

Rajasthan Tourism has unfortunately not developed this area nor are they advertising about it though it is definitely a paradise for the ornithologists.

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