Planning a road trip is never easy. Especially when you are looking for something short and sweet. A trip that shall not take up too much time but will totally be worth it. Unfortunately, often than not – the planning and research chip away so many valuable hours that we become unable to even go on the road trip. And that is the worst feeling ever!
A lot of people are familiar with Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. It is the world’s largest salt lake. Thousands of people from around the world travel to Bolivia to experience seeing this lake. But did you know even India has its own large salt lake? Let’s call it our own Salar de Sambhar. If you are planning on a road trip from Jaipur, Sambhar lake is the one destination you should not skip out on. People are always taking road trips to nearby towns or hill stations. We say why not take a road trip somewhere offbeat and unconventional?
Here are 10 things that make Sambhar lake the most unique road trip from Jaipur:
Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland saltwater lake. It is spread over 1500 hectares and has a circumference of a whopping 96km.
It is a declared Ramsar site categorising it as a wetland of international importance. The reason for this is the migration of tens of thousands of flamingos to Sambhar lake from Central Asia and Siberia.
Being India’s largest saline lake – Sambhar lake producing a mind-blowing 196,000 tonnes of salt each year. That is around 9% of India’s total salt production. The industry is operated by the state and Hindustan Salts Ltd.
During some archaeological excavation project in 1884, some ancient sculptures were uncovered at Sambhar lake. Later, in 1934 a more large scale search was held which led to the uncovery of several ancient terracotta figurines, pottery, coins, stoneware and decorated disks. Some of these artefacts are on display at the Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur.
A narrow gauge goods train passes through the lake. Since this is such a rare sight, it almost looks unreal at sight. This goods train is used to transport large bogies of filtered salt from Sambhar lake.
Sambhar lake is a very popular site for film-making. A plethora of movie scenes and music videos have been shot here. Some notable films having Sambhar lake shots are Jodha Akbar, Delhi 6, Veer, Drona, Tever, Ram-Leela, Highway. The famous scene of Aamir Khan landing on earth in PK is also shot at Sambhar lake.
Travellers are also very fond of Sambhar lake. More often than not you can see little campsite in the dried basins of this salt lake. It is a beautiful place to pitch a tent for a night or two. Some operators even provide paragliding services here for a fee.
It is said that Sambhar lake looks the most majestic on a full-moon night. Several travellers and locals have said that when the moon shines on the salt bed at night, the entire thing looks like an endless expanse of silver. The reflection of the moonlight makes the salty desert soil light up and look other-wordly.
Sambhar lake receives water from five rivers Medtha, Samaod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari and Khandela. But the lake is an ephemeral lake and is only at its full capacity during and immediately after the monsoon season. The water height can range from about 3 meters to a lowly 60 centimeters during the summers. The lake is sometimes even fully dry.
There is a temple near Sambhar lake dedicated to Shakambhari Devi. Locals say that this is because the lake was originally a forest which the goddess Shakambhari transformed into a lake of silver metal. Upon request of the locals who fearing greed and violence, she turned it into a lake.
Although visiting a large salt lake might not sound like the most exciting thing to do – the beauty and majestic feel of Sambhar lake can only be felt when you are there. Till your sight stretches, there are just salty plains of white which makes it look like something out of a sci-fi movie. And the best thing to do would be to grab a bunch of friends, a tent or two and camp there for a night. The experience would honestly be worth it. And if you are not much of an overnight in the great outdoors kinda person, you could always head back to a comfortable bed at The Hosteller Jaipur.