Sambhar Lake and Shakambhari temple: A ramsar site
Road Trip to Sambhar Lake -A Ramsar site
Sambhar Lake is a Ramsar site and this blog contains all the details on why you should visit Sambhar lake and the best time to visit.
It was the month of March and I did not have any plans for the weekend so I and one of my friends made a very abrupt plan. We decided to go on a road trip. But where?
I already had the destination in my mind. Let me tell you the story! A long time back I saw a photograph on Instagram. A white desert, people wearing colorful attire, and some carts carrying salt in the background. Surrounding this there was a red and green-colored water body. I had never seen anything like this and that image fascinated me so much. I tracked the location from that photograph and found that the place was called Sambhar Lake. I read everything about it, saved it on Google Maps, and saw it from Satellite view and I was amazed, it looked so beautiful. I wanted to visit the place as soon as possible but couldn’t. Somehow I had the faith that I will definitely visit Sambhar one day. After 6 years of dreaming about visiting Sambhar lake, I was finally going there and obviously, I could not hold the excitement. How could I?
Staying in Jaipur fills a lot of advantages in your pocket. One such advantage is traveling to amazing yet offbeat places. Hence we packed our bags in 30 minutes, got ready in another 30, and left our place for an adventurous yet exciting road trip. We left around 3 Pm from Jaipur for Sambhar. It took us around 3 hours to reach there. We stopped on the way to witness sunset at this amazing place. I stopped the car just outside Dargah Hazrat Sayyad Ganj. We got down from the car, crossed the railway line, and started walking towards one of the salt pans. We sat there on the ground and kept staring at the sky, the beautiful sunset hues. It started to get a little dark and we knew we had to leave. I didn’t want to go but we had to reach the Shakambhari Temple.
I started driving and we kept stopping at different places to ask for the direction. Google Maps had failed us so we kept getting confused. Our destination was the Shakambhari Mata temple. I couldn’t hold my excitement, I was only dreaming about the sky full of stars and Sambhar lake in front. Being in Delhi, that’s a rare sight. We had no plans of camping there. Being two girls, we were not sure if it would turn out to be a safe place. Also, I heard later that camping is not allowed near that part of the lake.
We crossed villages Ringi and Korshina and were on Maa Shakambhari road, on the way to the temple. But it was so dark, no one around, I had a gut feeling to not move forward. I was scared. No street light, all dark, just a straight road and jungle all around. That moment I took a U-turn, went all the way back. We hadn’t booked any place to stay, though we saw one or two resorts on the way, stopped there to check the rooms. Further, we decided to not stay there because we didn’t find it safe. I had previously talked to two hotels about the tariff and the location. So, I decided to move ahead with that Hotel. One was near Phulera Junction.
We reached Phulera Junction and the feeling is hard to describe. I wanted to cry out of happiness. We stayed in Hotel Krishna Palace, it’s a budget-friendly hotel, right in front of Phulera Junction. We reached there safely, I expressed my gratitude to the Universe. As soon as we reached there, we ordered dinner, changed our clothes, and set out to explore the Junction. I’ll never forget that feeling I got after reaching there. We came back, had dinner, and slept peacefully. It was a peaceful end to this adventurous day.
We woke up early, had breakfast, bid hotel goodbye, and left for our destination- The Shakambhari Temple. The temple is devoted to Maa Shakambhari Devi and is located on a hilly outthrust near Sambhar Lake. Shakambhari means “The One who nourished mankind with fruits and vegetables”. Legend has it that the goddess Shakumbhari (tutelary goddess of Chauhan Rajputs) converted a forest into silver, which is now Sambhar Lake. But the inhabitants got scared that due to the greed and strife of people this would beget, the goddess transformed the silver plain into a lake. Some ancient sculpture art, coins, seals, terracotta statues were discovered in the area as part of small-scale excavation work done in Sambhar Lake. These are present in Albert Hall Museum Jaipur.
A popular religious fair is organized by the temple committee in August when people from the surrounding villages come to attend it.
Sambhar Lake- A Ramsar site
Sambhar salt lake is the largest inland salt lake in India. It is surrounded by the town of Sambhar. The Sambhar lake receives water from 5 rivers- Medtha, Samod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari, and Khandela. It is the source of most of Rajasthan’s salt production. The water of Sambhar lake is salty as it is a closed drainage basin that has no outflow of water. When there is no outflow of water in a water body, all the salts that are received in the water body get accumulated, and the water becomes saltier. Also due to extreme weather conditions, salts don’t get evaporated and remain on the surface itself.
The town of Sambhar has historical significance. The Great Emperor Akbar and Jodha or Mariam-uz-Zamani (daughter of Bharmal of Amber) got married in Sambhar. Even the Indian epic Mahabharata mentions Sambhar Lake.
Birds found at Sambhar Lake
Sambhar has been designated as a Ramsar Site (wetland of international importance) because thousands of birds including pink flamingos migrate from northern Asia and Siberia in winters. The lake Salt pans have striking red and green colors due to the algae and bacteria present inside them. The wildlife in the nearby forest includes Nilgai, deer, and foxes which move freely in the area.