June 2008
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Lake Renuka, the religious place

Altitude : 672 meters
CLIMATE: In winter, the climate is pleasant, light woolens are recommended. Summer temperature are high and cottons are recommended.

The legend says that the Lake comprises of Renukaji’s embodiment, the wife of sage Jamadagini and the mother of Parshurama (one of the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu). In the vicinity of the Renuka Lake, there exists another Lake named as Parshurama Lake. Both the Lakes have temples built around them with the main temple being dedicated to goddess Renuka. The eighteen century old temple of Renukaji is an important pilgrimage center and every year thousands of tourists throng to the lake and visit the sacred temple. According to a local legend, when the evil Sahasarjuna killed sage Jamadagini and attempted to abduct the latter’s wife, Renuka, she threw herself into these waters. The gods brought her back to life, and consequently, this lake is considered to be her embodiment. Shaped like a sleeping woman, the lake is the largest in the entire state and has a circumference of 3214m. This placid stretch of water is fed by underground springs and the surrounding hills are padded by lush forests that support a large variety of plant and animal life.
Located at the base of the Renuka Lake is the Parashurama Tal, a massive pool embodying, it is believed, Parashurama, who desired to spend eternity at his mother’s feet. Mother and son are reunited every year at the great Renuka Fair, held on banks of the lake, in the month of November. The original temple of Renukaji, is said to have been built overnight by a contingent of Gurkhas in the early 19th century.
The lake is 123 k.m. from Parwanoo, 60 k.m. from Paonta Sahib and 45 k.m. from Nahan.

Places to see:
Jamu Peak: Just above the revered lake, is the Jamu Peak, where Rishi Jamadagini is believed to have meditated. There is a temple at the spot, which offers a fantastic bird’s eyeview of the surroundings.
Lion Safari: Directly adjacent to the zoo is the Lion Safari, a large enclosure. An armoured van is the preferred means of observing these big cats, from a close range.
Mini Zoo (2 km): You can boat across the lake or drive to this zoo, which has Asiatic lions, spotted deer, lion tailed macaques, ‘Nilgai’ Methuen, barking deer and Himalayan black bears.
Jataun (5 km): The dam of the Giri Hydel Project is here and angling for Mahaseer (river carp) may be done.
Paonta Sahib: The famous gurudwara of Poanta Sahib is at a distance of 60 km from Renuka on the banks of the river Yamuna.
Choordhar :- Dominating the entire landscape of fields, forests and ravines is the Choordhar peak, which rises to 3,647 metres above sea level and is a trekking treat from Nahan walks. Approached by way of Dadahu, Sangarh, Bhawai, Gandhuri and Nahura it is a 50 km. trek. A less taxing journey is by taxi or car to Nahura and thereafter a walk of 16 km. The climb is difficult but rewarding.
Gayatri Temple : On the left bank of the Renuka lake there are three Ashrams run by Sadhus and these have inns to accommodate pilgrims visiting this sacred lake. Gayatri temple has a 1.60 meter high Panch Mukhi Ma Gayatri marble statue, marble idols of Ganpati, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Indra have also been installed here. This temple is dedicated to Sri Ma Gayatri the mother of Vedas, the treasure of Hindu wisdom.

ACCOMMODATION: A wide range of accommodation is available in Renuka to suit different budgets. Dadahu (2 k.m.) has hotels, PWD and forest rest houses.

The HPTDC has hotel Renuka ji near by. The Renuka rests on the bank of this sacred and breath taking beautiful lake. It commands a panoramic view of the lake with just a road dividing its terraced gardens from the waters. The original wing is in the colonial style and the recently constructed one has all modern facilities.
ADDRESS: The Renuka, Renukaji, Distt. Sirmour (H.P.) -173022. Tel: (01702) – 267339.

Getting there:
By Rail: The railheads at Pathankot, Ambala, Dehradun, and Chandigarh cater to the rail transport to Renuka.
By Air: one can reach Renuka by air from Chandigarh and Dehradun. There is the airport at Gagal near Dharamshala also.
By Road: Tourists can get taxis and buses from Renukaji to all the major places of Himachal Pradesh and India.

An article about visiting Renukaji (link to article)

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