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Maharana Pratap Sagar in Himachal Go Back
 
Maharana Pratap Sagar also known as Pong Dam Reservoir or Pong Dam Lake was created in 1975 building the highest earthfill dam in India on the Beas River in the wetland zone of the Siwalik Hills of the Kangra district of the state of Himachal Pradesh, in India.Named in the honour of the great patriot Maharana Pratap (1572-97 AD) the Maharana Pratap Sagar (Pong Lake) is situated at an altitude of 450 metres above sea level, 32 degree north and 76 degrees east, in district Kangra. It is 170 km from Chandigarh, 110 km from Amritsar and 55 km from Dharamshala. The closest railway stations are at Mukerian 30 km, and Pathankot at 32 km. The settlements of Nagrota Surian and Jawali-which are located on the sagar's periphery-are connected by the charming narrow gauge Kangra railway line that connects Pathankot to Jogindernagar. The closest airport is Gaggal 40 km. The lake is well served by a network of roads.

Maharana Pratap struggled valiantly for freedom of Mewar-as for the principle of independence. In words of chroniclers James Tod and william Crook, "He spurned every overture that had submission for its basis". Over the river Beas, the Pong dam was completed in 1976. Its reservoir covers an area of about 45000 hectares at maximum possible flooding.The level varies every season and averages around 30000 hectares. Over 200 villages with a population of over 85000 people lie along the wetland.

The reservoir peripheral land area has mixed perennial and deciduous pine forests on hills. Eucalyptus trees have also been grown in the area. The forest growth provides enough sustenance to the migratory birds. The tree species of the forest area are Acacia, Jamun, Shisham, Mango, Mulberry, Ficus, Kachanar, Amla and Prunus. A variety of shrubs, grasses and climbers are also reported. The reservoir seasonal water level variation between the maximum water level and the minimum draw down level does not permit growth of much emergent vegetation but some amount of submerged vegetation is noticed.

This lake sanctuary is a big attraction for migratory ducks from Siberian region during winter. One can see thousands of ducks in the swamp area between Shahnahar barrage and Pongdam and the surrounding shallow waters of the lake. Clean blue water all around with the panoramic view of Dhauladhar Ranges and Kangra Valley make the visit to Ransar Island an unforgettable experience. Black buck and Cheetal on the island along with Surkhab, Cranes, Pintails and variety of water birds welcome the visitors on the Island. The best season to visit the Pong Lake is between September to March. The nearest other visitable places are Masroor rock-cut temple 10 km from Nagrota Surian railway station, Haripur fort, near to Guler railway station.
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