Fringed by pine forested hills, the Mansar Lake is one of the most popular tourist spots in Jammu and Kashmir. A boat ride on this picturesque lake lets one mind and soul take an enthralling journey. With its crystal clear waters and rich flora and fauna, the Mansar Lake offers tourists the perfect opportunity to let their hair down and refresh their minds.
The Mansar Lake is also a very important site for pilgrims and devotees. The locals cherish this lake for its mythological connection to the sacred Mansarovar Lake in Tibet. During festivals, one can see devotees taking dips in the lake’s waters and newlyweds walk along its perimeter to seek the blessings of Sheshnag, the Lord of Serpents.
The shrine of Sheshnag, located on the eastern bank of the Mansar Lake, is a very popular tourist attraction. It houses a statue of the six-headed snake god. The ancient temples of Durga and Umapati Mahadev are also popular places of interest for tourists.
According to Hindu Mythology, in the epic Mahahabharata, Arjuna was mistakenly killed by his son Babruvahana. In order to bring Arjuna back to life, Babruvahana had to retrieve a sacred mani (jewel) from Sheshnag, who lived in the patal lok (the netherworld). After defeating Sheshnag, Babruvahana shot an arrow into the earth above him, and emerged with the jewel. This way, the Mansar Lake was created and it is believed that an underground channel still connects it with the nearby Surinser Lake.
The Surinser-Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary, situated nearby, is another popular tourist attraction and a must see destination. Treat your eyes to the spectacular and gorgeous sights of many exotic animals like leopards, cheetal, barking deer,wild boar, nilgai as well as over 15 species of birds including black partridges and blue rock pigeons.
The Mansar Lake can be visited at any time of the year except during the monsoon (July-August), when the rains play spoilsport to boat rides on the lake and picnics near it. The best time to visit this place is during the months of April and October when the weather remains cool and pleasant.
JKTDC (Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation) supported Alpine Hotel Mansar and their Tourist Huts are the only accommodation options here. You can also stay in Jammu as it has a plethora of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury category.