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India >> Rajasthan >> Jaipur >> Sambhar Salt Lake
Sambhar Salt Lake Jaipur, Rajasthan
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Sambhar Salt Lake, the largest salt lake in India, is some 100 km west of Jaipur. This salt lake is not so much a lake as a vast depression, a body of sand, saline and isolated pockets of water that straddles three districts ( Nagur, Jaipur, and ajmer) of Rajasthan and spreads over an area of 190 sq. km.

 

As for the historical testimony, there are many regarding the existence of the lake and  according to one reference in the epic Mahabharata, Raja Yayati, emperor of Bharatvarsh (India) and a descendant of Lord Brahma the Creator, married Devyani, daughter of Shukracharya (the guru of demons) who lived by the Sambhar lake. As per another legend, the Goddess Shakambhari bestowed the lake for the benefit of people around 2,500 years ago. A small sparkling white temple in her honor stands in a rocky outcrop on the southern bank of Sambhar Lake. The place, actually came into prominence after it was noticed by Babur (The Mogul Emperor) in the 16th century. Since then, it has been a major source of salt for the country.

 

There is, however, another distinctive feature of this extensive saline wetland. Post monsoon, a thin layer of water covers the western region of the lake, attracting thousands of local migratory birds (greater and lesser flamingoes, painted storks and spot billed pelicans), by October the water recedes to a few small pools leaving behind treacherously wet sand that provides an ideal territory for waders such as pied avocets, Kentish plovers and black winged stilts. Come November, migratory birds start flying in. Shovellers, pochards, common teals and pintails gather in hundreds, intertwining the large colonies of flamingoes. . Infect, the lure of Flamingos brings tourists to visit this salty lake. Myriad tall and dainty birds with their ballerina tutus come here to enjoy the delicious spirulina algae that thrive when the water reaches a medium degree of salinity. For such waterfowl as the flamingo, Sambhar lake is one of the few habitats that ensure sustenance every year. It is in recognition of the urgency to protect the winter home of these 'distinguished guests' that Sambhar lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.

 Orientation

Justification for Designation as Ramsar Site
Together with neighboring saline wetlands, Phulera and Deedwana, the lake is probably the most important wintering area for flamingoes (both Phoniconaias minor and Phoenicopterus roseus) in India outside the Rann of Kachchh.

                                                                                                      
It is the largest representative in India of a specialized kind of habitat - salt lakes - which is unique not only in their physical and chemical attributes but also support a highly specialized group of organisms including the alga, Dunaliella salina and the bacterium Serratia sambhariana. Sambhar lake brine is somewhat unique in that it has a very low potassium concentration
.

 

Biodiversity

Flora
One of the most conspicuous organisms is the green alga, Dunaliella salina, common in salt water lakes.

Fauna

The lake supports a large population of avifauna especially flamingoes, Northern shoveller and blackheaded gull. Some 45 species of aquatic birds including ducks, geese and shorebirds have been recorded.

 

Adam's Report : A noted British civil servant, R.M. Adams (19th century) undertook survey of Sambhar to record 244 species of birds. In his report, he wrote, "Dense masses of flamingos are to be seen everywhere swimming or wading in the lake-bed, flying over head, bearing 'the rich hues of all glorious things' or stalking sedately along the edge in search of food. This latter process is a wonderful sight. Long lines of big and little birds, of all shades of plumage, from the gorgeous rose-coloured adult to the dingy brown and white young, march along, and invariably here from west to east, all wagging their down-bent heads in search of the animalcules with which the brackish water abounds.

 Getting there

Location

Sambhar Salt Basin lies at the junction of Jaipur, Ajmer and Nagur districts.

 

Distance

92 km W of Jaipur. On NH 8, enroute to Ajmer from Jaipur, take a right turn off the NH at Dudu (65 km from Jaipur), and from Dudu to Sambhar via Naraina town.

 Fast Facts
Name Sambhar Salt Lake Best Time To Visit November to March
Location Jaipur   Rajasthan   West   India   Best Sighing October to February
Open From 2010-08-15  To 2011-08-15 Type Ramsar site (Wetland)
Temperature Summar   38-42      Winter   4-8      Rainy   28-32
 Map
 
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