Maharana Pratap Sagar which is also known as Pong reservoir or Pong Lake is situated in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It was created in the year 1975, by building the highest earth fill dam in India on the River Beas which is in the wetland zone of the Shivalik Hills of the Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, India. The name of the lake is kept in the honor of Maharana Pratap. This beautiful lake or the reservoir is also a well-known wildlife sanctuary and has one of the 27 international wetland sites declared in India by the popular Ramsar Convention.
Apart from the ethereal beauty, Kareri lake is famous for its dense rhododendron forest which gives you immense peace, also the place is surrounded by so many shops that make you feel lively. The most important attraction around the lake is a temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Shakti. If you want to stay there, then the temple has open rooms for the visitors which are free of cost. Camping and bonfire is the major part while traveling or trekking, so there are some camping spots to the east and west end of the lake by which you can fulfill this wish as well. The shopkeepers over there provide you with snacks, biscuits, candies for your kids, noodles, and of course some other junk food. You can also get a proper meal and tea cooked over a wood-fired stove which is made by the localities. Kareri lake is generally known for being a trekking destination in the Dhauladhars which is further moved to Chamba and Bharmour through the Miankiani Pass(4250m) and Baleni Paas(3710m).
Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake or Pong Dam Lake was declared a Ramsar Wetland site because of its rich waterfowl diversity for conservation and sustainable use of the wetland. Apart from its magnificent beauty, the place is surrounded by the attractive migratory birds that come from the plains of India and Central Asian countries along with Siberia. More than 220 bird species of 54 families have been recorded. This particular reservoir is enclosed by the peripheral land area that has mixed of perennial and deciduous pine forests on hills. These forests act as a home for the beautiful migratory birds. The varieties of trees in the forest are acacia, Jamun, mango, shisham, ficus, mulberry, amla, and prunus.
There is a wide variety of viable fish are found, basically it has 27 species of 5 families, such as mahseer, Catla, mirror-carp, singhara, and many more. With the emergence of the reservoir, commercial fishing is permitted and considered as an important program not only to provide employment to approximately 1500 fishermen but also to promote the eco-tourism of the Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake. You will also get to see the few species of animals in this place such as barking deer, sambar, leopards, wild boars, and small-clawed otters.
As you move further, you will reach Bathu temple that is 7 km from Jawali which is a tehsil of Kangra district. You will explore many antique, unique, and tall temples that remain submerged in water for eight months. But it is visible to you only in the month from March to June.
Around the Pong Dam reservoir, there is a water-sports center that offers numerous water adventures like canoeing, rowing, sailing, and water skiing, and you can also do swimming. All the training programs are organized under safety and rescue measures with three-tier water sports courses namely the basic course, intermediate course, and the advanced course.
The Pong Reservoir and Gobindsagar Reservoir are the two most important fishing reservoirs in the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh, India. Also, these reservoirs are the main or leading sources of fish within the range of the Himalayan states. There are several boarding, lodging, and equipment facilities provided by the tourism industry that assists the tourists to discover a bit more about the place. The Himachal Pradesh tourism plays a very important role as they conduct all the water sports activities for the enjoyment of the people. The visually appealing and attention-grabbing Maharana Pratap Sagar or the Pong lake is popular for sightseeing, various adventure activities, bird-watching, etc. This place is best for nature lovers and adventure freaks as it is surrounded by different kinds of plants and flowers. This lake is known for its ethereal and magnificent beauty which is not compared to any other lake. The lush green mountain and the trees of various species add a natural charm to this place.