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THE SAMBHAR LAKE : Mother Nature’s Unique & Amazing Gift to the Thar desert

SAMBHAR LAKE :

It is an amazingly beautiful municipality in Jaipur district and is the largest inland salt lake of India located at 80 km SW of Jaipur and 64km NE of Ajmer. To the East of lake is located Sambhar town,to the North is Gudha town and to the NW is Nawa town. Sambhar lake has an archeological site Naliasar dating back to the 2000BC at a distance of 4kms towards south on the Sambhar- Naraina road The people of Sambhar have diverse cultures, languages and religious beliefs but live in cohesion respecting each others religions and beliefs.There are so many temples, Gurudwaras and Mosques in Sambhar town.Like any responsible citizen they unite in diversity. The lake is spread in an Area of 230sq km(subject to monsoon condition) a length of 35.5km,width of 11km and depth of 2’to9.8′ surrounding the historical town of Sambhar which, in turn, is surrounded by Aravali hills on all sides. It contributes to 9%(about 1,96,000 Tonnes per year) of India’s total salt production .Its managed by Sambhar salts Ltd,a joint venture of Hindustan salts and the Govt. of Rajasthan. As per 2001 senses-Population was 22,327 people(52%males,48%females) .Literacy rate was 79% higher than state average of 66%.Owing to the ancient history and rich cultural heritage, Sambhar is now renowned for tourist attractions such as the Devayani sarovar, Sarmishtha bhavan,Dadudayal Taposthali,film shooting locations and cultural& traditional mahotsavs being organised throughout the whole year .There is a Wildlife sanctuary and the lake is home to thousands of domestic(from hot western parts of India) and migratory birds from cold artic/north pole regions of the world.It was the capital of Chahamanas dynasty (Chauhan rulers-Agnivanshi rajputs) who ruled the NW India-Raj,Delhi and Haryana from 6th to 12th century before they shifted their capital to Ajmer. Shakambhari mata is the tutelary Godess (kuldevi)of Chauhan rajputs. There are some remanants of the old Kila and forts in Sambhar town(although almost extinct now).The panoramic view of the salt lake with the Blue coloured engine connected to the salt-carrying wagons with the long network of narrow-gauge rail tracks (for transporting cristallized salt from kyars to the processing plant) is immensely fascinating in the day as well as in moonlit nights. One has to be there in order to experience the mesmerising effect of the rare spectacle.

MAA SHAKAMBHARI DEVI

History of Sambhar Lake:

Jodhabai, the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber(presently the Jaipur state)was married to Akbar in 1562 at Sambhar lake town. As per the Indian epic Mahabharata ,Devayani (daughter of sage Shukracharya-the guru of daitya king Vrishparva)was married to Yayati of Lunar dynasty. Sarmistha daughter of the daitya king was given to Yayati as dowry. A temple and the Devayani sarovar is dedicated to Devayani. Also there is a Sarmistha bhavan nearby the salt lake. A legend says that in the 6th century, Shakambari devi the tutelary Godess of Chauhan Rajputs and consort of Lord Shiva,converted a dense forest into a plain of silver as payment in return for a specific service. Subsequenty at the request of inhabitants who dreaded the greed and strife such a procession would beget ,she transformed the silver plain into a salt lake called Sambhar lake as a variation of name for Shakambari .The temple is dedicated to Shakambari devi. In recent excavations of 1934, terracotta ,stonewares, decorated discs, coins were found of which some are presently exhibitted in the Albert hall museum ,Jaipur.The clay stupa recovered in the excavations indicate Budhist culture at that time. Prithviraj Chauhan(1166-1192CE) was a king from the Chahamana dynasty who ruled NW India-Raj.,Haryana and Delhi from 1178 to 1192 CE. Shakambari was their capital till around 1135 when it was shifted to Ajaymeru (presently Ajmer). In 1192, Mohd.Gauri defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain and this defeat served as a landmark of the Islamic conquest of India & around 700 yrs of moghul rule in India.

About Sambhar Lake:

Sambhar lake recieves water from endorheic basin.Its catchment area is 5700 sqkm and is a saline wetland with fluctuating water depthaccordind to season.Its located in Nagaur ,Jaipur distt.also bordering with Ajmer distt.For collection of salt a dam 5.1km length was made of sandstone dividing the lake basin.Production Procedure: After salt water reaches a concentration,it is released from westside to eastside by help of dam gates.In east side there are salt evaporation ponds and salt reservoirs,canal and salt panes separated by narrow wads.British also built a railroad on eastside to connect Sambhar lake city to the salt works. Sambhar Salts ltd owns 3% of the eastern lake.Apart from this there are private contractors.Rivers draining the lake are Mendha,Rupangarh,Khandel,Karian.There are 38 clusters of villages surrounding the lake: Sambhar Gudha,Jabdinagar,Nawa,Jhak, Korsina,Jhapok ,kuri ,Tyoda , Govindi ,Nandha,Sinodiya ,Arvik ki dhani,khanadja,khakharki,kerwa ki dhani, Rajas, Jalwali ki dhani.The brine of this lake has low Potassium concentration.Traditional process is monsoon dependent.The river water reacts with lake sediments and becomes brine.It takes 50 days to evaporate leaving cristallized salt.

Its a Ramsar site-a Wetland of International Importance.

Ecological and Environmental concerns :

The salt Nacl concentration in lakewater varies from season to season in the pan kyars and accordingly the colour of the brine ranges from green ,orange,pink,purple and red due to bloom of the Haloalkaliphic microorganism.The Archael isolates can be a source of haloalkaliphic enzymes for biotechnological applications.The temp. reaches 45’c in the summers and 5’c in winters.Sambhar lake is a Ramsar site :A recognised wetland of international importance because this wetland is a key wintering area for thousands of Flamingoes, Pelicans,waterfouls,Coots,Stilts,Redsahanks,gullbilledtern,tuftedduck,common teal,pintail,Gadwall,brownheaded gulls&other bird species from northern Asia.Specialize Algae and bacteria growing in Lake support the lake ecology & provides colour and sustains migrating waterflow.The other wildlife in nearby forest is the Neelgai, deer&foxes.Also there are camel safaris &excursions to Tiger reserve.

IN NOV.2019 :

Sambhar lake faced the first bird emergency and the worst avian catastrophes due to tragic death of about 18000 birds of 29 species including northern Shovellers that flew from Europe, Pallas gulls from Mangolia and southern Russia.Indian Ornithologists were awe-struck by the enmass deaths of the birds.On getting the news,the State Administration immediately swung into action.The CM,Mr Ashok Gehlot himself took up the reins of the rescue operations and ordered immediate inquiry and investigation by expert panels and do needful to save the live birds in the lake area.He also ordered the state wetland authorities to be made operational.On 20th Nov. the Raj. Highcourt took notice and sought report from the concerning department regarding the cause of the enmass deaths of the birds.Vicera samples of the dead birds were sent to Bikaner & IVRI,Bareilly for testing.The test reports revealed the cause of death to be Avian Botulism caused by Maggets germ which inflicts paralysis in the infected birds and their subsequent death.The NGT immediately ordered suspension of salt production and asked reports from the National wetland authority, RSWA, Raj. Pollution control board and DM ,Jaipur due to which 25000 workers got unemployed and loss of 25LT Salt production per year.

Concrete steps taken for conservation of wildlife by local administration are:

1)Proper procedure was followed for disposal of the dead birds as it was the only way to prevent spread of the disease to other living birds in the area.2)Reinforce Lake conservation policy 3)Curb illegal minning. 4)Drone survey of the area.5)Formulate proper SOP.6)Proper steps to prevent Tourism in the area from disturbing natural habitat of birds.7)Keep Nagaur area under observation to prevent recurrence such mishappening.8)Rehabilitation of live birds was done at Ratan talab enclosure and Kachoda nursery for treatment before releasing back to their natural habitats.9)Deploy trained Veterinary experts to monitor& deal with such bird emergencies keeping proper records of observations.10)Routine inspection by AWC coordinators of wetland health.

MAIN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

1)MAA SHAKAMBARI TEMPLE& CHHATRI.2)DEVAYANI SAROVAR.3)SHARMISTHA BHAVAN.4)SAMBHAR SALT LAKE& PRODUCTION UNITS/WORKS.4)SAMBHAR HERTAGE RESORTS&TATI DHARAMSHALA.5)SAMBHAR SALT MUSEUM& TOWN HALL LIBRARY.6)SAINT DADUDAYAL TAPOSTHALI.7)SUKHSAGAR ASHRAM.8)HAZRAT HASMUDDIN CHISTIDARGAH & KARBALLA.9)WILD LIFE SANCTURY&SBR. LAKE NATIONAL PARK10)NALIASAR LAKE.11)TOWN HALL LIBRARY,12)BIRD WATCHING/FILM SHOOTING SITES of many films such as:Delhi-6, Jodha Akbar ,Veer,Gulaal ,Highway-2014,Drona, Zila Ghaziabad ,Tevar ,PK,Ramleela,Super-30 and Bard of blood.13)SONGS: DJ Wallebabu,car me music baja,Margaye,Mit gaye lut gaye,14)Limca book of World record by Nissan GT-R.in Sambhar lake.

FESTIVALS & FAIRS:

1)Nandiyaji ka mela.2)Dussehra mela.3)Teej-Gangaur ka mela.4)Tejaji ka mela.5)Devayaniji ka mela.6)Maa Shakambhari ka mela(Sambhar mela)7)Special sweet stalls selling the speciality of Sambhar-the sweet & fiki (sugarless) Findi(fenny) which is so very tasty. Namkeen findi is no more prepared as it is no longer in demand.

BEST TIME TO VISIT SAMBHAR:

Its from October to March as in monsoon season neither animals nor salt production can be witnessed.

WORTH MENTIONING PERSONALITY OF SAMBHAR LAKE:

DOCTOR SINGH is a living legend of Sambhar lake right since 1960 when he assumed charge of Medical Officer of Sambhar salt hospital and continues to serve, untiringly, the common masses through his unchallengeable diagnosis and treatment at such a nominal fees and nominal cost of medicines and tests even after his retirement from the Office of Medical Incharge of the salt hospital, Sambhar salts. He has truly championed the cause of serving the poor & common man for reducing their grievances. In the process, a dual relationship has perpetuated between him & and his patients. They cant think without him for their well- being and neither he can think about his routine life without them. He is truely GOD to them. Unlike any good human being he has discharged his social human responsibilities(S.H.Rs.) towards the disadvantaged and needy with clinical efficiency. In turn, we wish him and his better half(who has always stood beside him ),good health for their future life. We salute him for his invaluable contributions to Sambhar and without paying visit to him the tour of Sambhar lake/maa Shakambhari is considered to be incomplete.

श्रद्धांजलि

देवलोक गमन :14 दिसम्बर , २०२१

NOTE: Although all datas & statistics in this writeup are drawn from reliable sources but if, in case, any information is found to be incorrect, it may pl. be communicated on this site & which will be duly edited & corrected.

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Published by Dhirendra.S.Chauhan

I am a travel enthusiast from India always full of curiosity to explore new places marked by some cultural, geographical & historical significance around the globe. Also I love visiting places full of adventure/mystery & have undertaken many amazing trekking expeditions to difficult locations needing toughness of body, soul &the spirit. I have explored most of Indian states/UTs to learn about their culture,had cultural exchange with people & learnt to respect their religious beliefs/customs. Very recently(September 2019), we have been on our maiden foreign trip(50 days)to Netherlands, France, Belgium& Switzerland.The trips were full of amazing monuments,natural landscapes & places of great scenic beauty.Enjoyed the visit enormously.Having traveled so much I felt like travel blogging & here I am doing just that !Apart from travel-blogging I also like poetry. Basically I am an Electrical Engineer retired recently from Central Govt. Service after serving for 38 yrs. Meanwhile I have completed my Master of Social Work degree to pursue my Social obligations towards my fellow beings & am engaged in rendering Social Services to the needy &the disadvantaged ! Also I will like to pursue my new-found interest/hobby of writing Travelogues to benefit my readers by providing max. details like statistics, demography, historical origin, way of life , professions , languages spoken & the culture/customs associated with any place. While enjoying any tourist place, I simply advocate that one must also try to learn about the place. I travel and then share the collected information with the potential traveler .Hence the name of my site - Travel and share.😊

35 thoughts on “THE SAMBHAR LAKE : Mother Nature’s Unique & Amazing Gift to the Thar desert

  1. From the history to the current state of affairs , from religion to entertainment industry.. Sambhar seems to be everywhere . Your writing explains and covers quite a lot . It was definitely a knowledge gaining read!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is best article I have ever read.You have highlighted on Sambhar’s history, environment and heritage.You have focused on Migrated birds and their plight.It shows your sentiment towards creatures.The description about Dr.Singh and his remarkable sacrifices is true.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, NVS, for the beautiful assessment of the writeup on the Mother nature’s gift to the Thar.I have tried to focus on each & every dimension pertaining to its ancient history,the cultural heritage,the salt industry,the tourist attractions,fairs and festivals,current affairs such as the birds tragedy and associated rescue operations. Also of the many worth mentioning personalities of Sambhar I chose to describe Dr. Singh who has really served the people of Sambhar so much that they aptly regard as ‘God’ to them .

      Like

  3. Thanks Akanksha for your very nice assessment of the writeup .It must have been knowledge- gaining experience for you as you have gone to every length and breadth of the Sambhar’s history & its cultural heritage as described by me !Keep supporting !

    Like

  4. Such a detailed blog with amazing pictures. I have been fortunate to visit this place and after reading your blog i realised that I have missed few beautiful places and i for sure going to plan it in future. Also sambhar is fortunate to have Dr. Singh who is an epitome of service before self.

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    1. Nripenderji its so nice to learn that you could very well relate your Sambhar visit with my writeup and realized that there is definitely more to it than mere salt production characteristic of the place! There are more avenues of interest available for a weekend escape from the dust and din of our cities.Of course ,Doctor Sb is an epitome of selfless service to the Sambharians .All the best to one n all.

      Like

  5. Thanks for the great Post! I really enjoyed your point of view on sambher lake.This reminds of my visit to this place long back and was amazed to see India’s largest man made lake.miraculous description,and also feeling proud to be a part of living legend of Samhber lake Dr Randhir singh.Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you also for expressing your nice personal feelings for Sambhar lake which is indeed a unique gift of Mother nature to all of us.We all are really proud of Doctor Sb who is serving the people of Sambhar since time immemorial.May God bestow him with best of health and longevity.

      Like

    1. Thanks dear Sir for considering my post on ‘Sambhar lake’ as informative! I like to feed as much information as I have on the topic: about its original history,local spots of tourist attraction, accommodations for stay etc. for the benefit of travel planners !Thanks for your nice comment. You are welcome to visit my other posts on the same site if you feel like.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Now this is too much of a praise for a beginner(its only 3 months since I tried travel-writing) such as me.Thanks a lot as your words of encouragement will urge me to write better.

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    1. Thanks Kalpanaji for your nice words of appreciation for my write up on Sambhar Lake. I was expecting prompt comments on the blog as anything related to Sambhar is so very interwoven in our lives and feels so very close to our hearts. keep commenting& supporting.Whenever you find time kindly offer your invaluable comments on my 8 other posts on the same site pl.

      Like

    1. Thanks for appreciating the blog for the information it contains about the place.I try to feed max. details of the place I can collect for the benefit of the reader or the potential traveller to the place.As for the pictures,they are taken using a mobile cell.Pl Keep encouraging by commenting on my other blogs of my site.Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post. This post reminds me of the visit to sambhar lake in the year 1984. I was not aware of the suspension of salt production. Thanks for the information. I also appreciate Dr. Singh for their noble cause. I wish to God for his good health & long life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your talent of presenting facts as memorable and your effort in collection of this much information is truly praiseworthy. Sambhar seems to be very amazing place. I will definitely try to visit it after reading this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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