Govind Sagar on the river Sutlej was formed after the hydel dam at Bhakra was constructed and has been named in honor of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru. If you have ever visited Kullu-Manali, you must have seen a brief view of Govind Sagar Lake near Bilaspur. Let's have a closer PHOTO JOURNEY of Govind Sagar Lake in Una region of Himachal Pradesh...
Most of these photographs have been shot from Lathiani port which is approximately 3 kilometers away from main road but decent connecting road. Bike can be easily rode till the bank of Govind Sagar Lake, while cars needed to be parked 500 meters back. There are some wonderful views from main road which connects Una with Hamirpur, Mandi and Kullu-Manali. I have seen this lake in various colors during different seasons of the year and this was probably third time, I stopped by the place and spent some quality time at this wonderful place !
Govind Sagar reservoir lies in the Bilaspur and Una Districts of Indian Himalayan State - Himachal Pradesh. Bilaspur is about 83 kilometers away from the railway station at Anandpur Sahib. All these Photographs are shot in Una region and none of them is from Bilaspur. To be specific, photographs are clicked near Lathiani, which comes on the way from Una to Hmirpur or Baba Balak Nath.
In October and November, when the water level of the reservoir is high, a series of regattas are also organized by the Tourism and Civil Aviation department. Water-skiing, sailing, kayaking and water scooter racing are popular water sports activities during this period. Major attractions of the lake include ferry rides and water sports like speed-boating.
Fishing is commonly practiced in Govind Sagar Lake. Govind Sagar Lake has about fifty one species and sub species of fish, which is supplied to bigger markets in Chandigarh & Delhi. Labeo dero, Tor pitutrata, Mystus seenghala and Mirror carp are some of the common species found here. The tiny boat you see in above photograph is one of the small boats which are used for fishing.
Usually fishing areas are divided among various contractors and then further divided among small scale fishermen. Some of the fishermen go during the day and spend most of the time in spreading a huge net inside the lake and come back by noon. Then again they go during late evening and create water disturbance through their boats and long sticks at times. This create chaos among fish-groups and compel them to get caught in net. This is one of the common technique I got to know from some of the local folks in Lathiani. Everyone has different style of fishing, depending upon the region of the lake they have and kind of fish they get.
One of the world's highest gravity dams, the Bhakra dam rises nearly 220 meters above its lowest foundations. Under the supervision of the American dam-builder, Harvey Slocum, work began in the year of 1955 and was completed in 1962. To maintain the level of water, the flow of river Beas was channelized to Gobind Sagar by the Beas-Sutlej link which was accomplished in 1976...
Govind Sagar Lake in Una is also used a short-cut for pilgrims who go to Baba Balak Nath from various places of Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi and Una. Apart from Baba Balak nath pilgrims, many other folks take this short cut for their daily activities. There are some Motor-boats which continuously run between Lathiani Port and Mandla. They start at 8:00 am in morning and keeps running till late evening. Apart from transporting people from one side to other, they also transport bikes & scooters as well. At one point of time, approximately 15 people with 8-10 bikes can be transported from one side to other. This run of 18 minutes in water saves approximately 1.5 hours and 40 kilometers of drive. Una town is quite near to Mandla. We shall share a separate Photo Journey on this short-cut, with some more interesting details about this ride...
This was first time that I used motorboat for going to other side of the lake. Motorboats are not that interesting as small boats, but of-course they are best from time-saving point of view. Many villages around the lake own boats or use these motorboats and ticket-fee is very nominal - 5 or 10 rupees. Some of the villagers need to commute frequently though the lake and prefer to have their own boat, as everyone wants to have a car these days. For these folks boat is much needed thing.
A Photograph shots from Mandla, which is on other side of the lake. Una Town is hardly 10 kilometers from this point. Please note bikes standing near the shoreline of Govind Sagar Lake. Folks are waiting for Motorboat to come and en-load these motorbikes for taking them to other side. The second boat standing near bikes is actually a motorboat which looks small in this photograph. This Motorboat can accommodate 10 bikes at one point of time with approximately 15 passengers. Charges are 10 Rs per passenger and 15 Rs if you are having one motorbike with you.
Water level was much lower during march month. The green fields in above photograph gets covered by water in monsoons and the land can be utilized for winter crop. In summers and monsoons, this land can't be used. Anyway the original owners of this land have been compensated by government and no one minds if they are using the land for one crop in an year. The boat in this photograph was being used for spreading net in this area of the lake to get fish for next day. One fisherman keeps multiple nets and spread them in different regions of the lake and there is proper schedule which is followed by keeping following things in mind - Fish Density in different regions, size of the net to be spread in which region etc.
This whole set of Photographs are not actually doing justice to the beauty of this place. Landscapes around Govind Sagar Lake are amazing and unmatchable. There are some beautiful islands inside the lake and some temples, which are accessible in Winters or Summers only. Even in these seasons, one needs to use boat for reaching the temple. In Bilaspur, there are lot of temples which can only be seen in summers and after that water covers them all.
Above Photograph is again clicked at Mandla, a port near Una Town. There are some temporary shops installed around shoreline of Govind Sagar Lake. These shops serve tea, snacks and various other food options for pilgrims of Baba Balak Nath. Their business keep growing till end of summers, as more folks start coming to Baba Balak Nath and then things pause during monsoons, when no one wants to take risk of coming through lake and better take the road-trip from Una to Hamirpur or Baba Balak Nath at Deotsidhh, which is near to Badsar.
It was evening time when we were roaming around the Govind Sagar Lake in lathiani, Una, HP. Most of the office employees were waiting on the banks with their motorbikes and scooters. We saw two Motorboats on this route. At any point of time, one goes from Lathiani to Mandli and second on back route to Lathiani from Mandli. At late evening hours, there is some wait time for bikers as only two Motorboats have to serve lot of employees commuting from Una District to Hamirpur or vice-versa. Usually patience level decreases during winters with decreasing during of the day.
So finally sun has set but there are still many passengers waiting at both the ports. For us, it was end of this journey and moved back to Lathiani for late evening snacks in the town.
Govind Sagar is really a beautiful place with wonderful landscapes full of islands, Agricultural land etc. Soon we shall be sharing another PHOTO JOURNEY focusing on lifestyle of people around the lake and how they commute from one place to other...