Image Credit Fred Hsu Flickr under CCBY
I would say that Himanchal Pradesh (HP) is one of the best-kept secrets of India. Parts of it are so beautiful and yet not visited by many. Renuka Lake is situated in HP and is one of such places.
Tourism has developed around a natural lake called Renuka (name of a goddess in Hindu mythology) and another one adjacent to it devoted to her son, Parshuram. Renuka Lake is the bigger of the two and having a circumference of 3214 meter. The lake is surrounded by small hills and lush green vegetation. It is an ideal spot for spending a quite vacation, and that is what my husband and I did.
Reaching Renuka Lake is not very straight forward task if you want to travel by state run buses but that is what we did. My starting point was New Delhi and from here we traveled to Kalka by rail and then took a bus to Nahan. From Nahan we took another bus that took us to Renuka Lake. The buses are very basic and leave a lot to be desired in comfort.
We stayed at a place called DevicosPlaza (a place two kilometers from the lake in the village Dadahu) and it is a new and decent hotel. In off-season room rates are up for bargain. The hotel had basic comforts like hot water, nice bed and a TV. Food was provided at the hotel and it had a table tennis table to knock against after the day’s sight seeing.
The scenery around the lake is beautiful with temples dotting the landscape. The walk around the lake is long and beautiful. It can also be done by car but that in my opinion is an offence to the beauty of the place. The smaller lake can be covered in a short time on foot but it has more ducks and fish that can be observed by sitting on the banks.
On the second day we took a walk (10 kilometers, ascending all the way) that is clearly marked (oops but in Hindi!) and leads to another temple. The task was not to visit the temple but simply to take the walk. Though I was not feeling equal to the task but my husband wanted to do it desperately, so we did that.
I climbed only up to 9 kilometers along a narrow cemented road and decided to wait for my husband there as the road was being constructed after that point. And anyway I was tired by then. That was a mistake. There was a gang of construction workers right ahead of me and as soon as my husband vanished out of site they started throwing verbal comments at me that were not very complimentary.
One sad experience and I breathed a sigh of relief when some 20 minutes later my husband walked back. He was unaware of all this but could see that I was upset. After we discussed it was decided that we would not do this again, me staying behind. Usually people are nice in hill states of India but I learned it through experience that not always and one should take caution. After spending a third quite day by the lake, we headed home for the crowds and the pollution!